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Developing Product Category Rules to gain transparency in the apparel sector

CASE STUDY | For apparel manufacturer Fristads, PRé took part in a Product Category Rules (PCR) Committee. The goal: to develop new PCRs to allow Fristads and other apparel companies to create Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for four categories of products. This helps level the playing field in the apparel sector, allowing companies to openly compete on sustainability. With EPDs, companies have transparent, verified and comparable information about the life cycle environmental impact of their products, which they can also communicate to their customers.

Professional painter working on height in a workwear

 

About

 

Fristads is a company manufacturing workwear, offering durable and functional professional clothing to craftsmen, industrial workers and service personnel.

 

Challenge

 

Fristads embraces sustainability and made transparency one of its key elements. For that reason, Fristads wanted to standardise the way it measures and communicates the environmental footprint of its products and to enable its peers to do the same.

 

As Lisa Rosengren, Head of R&D Raw Material at Fristads, says: "To reduce the climate footprint within textile and clothes manufacturing and enhance the awareness of both producers and buyers, a unifying tool is required. A tool that with full transparency shows the factual environmental impact of the garment, showing facts instead of ingratiating messages. Our hope is to set the standard and present a measuring tool that can be used throughout the business and create actual difference for the environment."

 

RISE IVF was appointed the consultancy in charge of this project. Fristads and RISE invited PRé and the Outdoor Industry Association to take part in what would later become the PCR Committee.

 

Solution

 

There are many standards for life cycle assessments (LCA) of specific product groups or sectors. Product Category Rules (PCR) are one of those standards, and RISE decided to work with this standard for Fristads.

 

PCR documents provide rules, requirements and guidelines for developing an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for a specific product category. They are a key part of ISO 14025:2006, as they enable transparency and comparability between EPDs. The International EPD® System is a global programme for PCRs and EPDs.

 

As part of the PCR Committee, PRé developed four PCRs for:

  1. Jackets, coats and other similar outdoor garments (PCR 2019:04)
  2. Sweaters, jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, fleeces and similar garments (PCR 2019:05)
  3. Trousers, shorts and slacks and similar garments (PCR 2019:06)
  4. T-shirts, tops, singlets and other vests (PCR 2019:07)

Four Product Category Rules developed

We developed the PCRs according to the General Programme Instructions of the International EPD® System. This ensured it was done in an internationally accepted manner, based on an open, transparent, and participatory process.

 

Benefits

 

The result had benefits not only for Fristads, but for other apparel manufacturing companies, their customers and consumers worldwide:

  • PCRs create a level playing field for the apparel sector, allowing companies to openly compete on sustainability.
  • EPDs present transparent, verified and comparable information about the life cycle environmental impact of products, bolstering a company’s reputation.
  • EPDs give companies a competitive advantage over other companies and companies using other assessments.

Contact the author

“The time of the industrial revolution is over. Now it is time for the green revolution to go full steam ahead! Because we all need to be involved in this process, I aim to guide individuals and businesses in understanding the trade-offs between impacts. This will help them make informed decisions, which will really help sustainable living thrive.”

Contact Marisa Vieira
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