When Dyson won a court case related to labelling standards for vacuum cleaners we acted swiftly to help one of our customers realise significant cost savings.
Following a five-year legal battle, in 2018, the UK vacuum manufacturer Dyson won a lawsuit against the European Union that changed the energy label requirements for vacuum cleaners sold into the EU. The ruling of the EU’s General Court was a huge surprise as Dyson had lost in earlier hearings. The vacuum cleaner industry was thus taken by surprise by the court’s decision and many brands were unable to seize this opportunity. At Impala, we are working diligently to stay on top of industry developments and were able to inform one of our customers that is also in the vacuum cleaners industry about the change in energy labelling requirements.
Our customer has a high 5-digit number of annual sales volume in the EU and correspondingly spends significant money on printing manuals and labels. Once the court ruling came into effect, we helped our customer update their multi-language manuals and removed the now redundant labels. We cannot share actual sales volumes, but just to show an example calculation: if a vacuum cleaner brand sold 200,000 units per year, this could lead to the following savings in printing costs: at printing costs of 0.30 USD per label, this equals to 30,000 USD in cost saving.
The reasons why the EU’s General Court had ruled in favour of Dyson was that it took the view that “tests of a vacuum cleaner’s energy efficiency carried out with an empty receptacle do not reflect conditions as close as possible to actual conditions of use”. In other words, the label actually created a poor customer experience and was potentially misleading: the label made it more likely that consumers ended up buying vacuum cleaners that they thought were energy efficient when in reality, those vacuum cleaners could not meet the promised energy efficiency standards under normal operating conditions. Therefore, it made it more difficult for consumers to distinguish high-quality and low-quality vacuum cleaners. As our customer is a high-end brand, this ruling will play to their advantage in the long run, once the EU revises its standards around the requirements for energy efficiency tests.
Many of our customers set themselves challenging sustainability targets. They understand that consumers want to see them make a credible effort to reduce their environmental footprint. However, making fundamental changes to the supply and manufacturing chain is a time consuming and complex process. Showcasing how less paper is used for printing manuals and labels is a much lower hanging fruit that corporate communication teams can leverage to provide evidence that incremental changes are already being implemented. Conclusion: delivering cost savings and a PR story angle.
Printing fewer labels and reducing the page count of user manuals thus created a win-win situation: Our customer saved costs and could also tell a positive story around their sustainability initiative. For us as an agency the outcome was positive as well: we could demonstrate to our customer that our value add goes far beyond just producing a user manual, but that we can provide strategic advice on their manual strategy and are closely following trends and changes within the regulatory framework.