Bringing Product Environmental Footprint to the next level: review of supporting studies

CASE STUDY | Part of the European Commission’s Environmental Footprinting initiative is testing its new rules with real products. PRé and Ecomatters reviewed 40 studies, uncovering useful information that will be used to refine the rules.

February 13, 2017


Setting high goals with the Environmental Footprinting initiative

The European Commission’s Environmental Footprinting (EF) initiative is an ambitious project that PRé is actively involved with. The goals of the EF initiative are to standardise LCA by developing product environmental footprint category rules (PEFCR) and organisation environmental footprint sector rules (OEFSR.) These are aimed to make LCA more accessible and easier to do, so the quality and credibility of the results go up. Because of the standardised approach of the PEF and OEF methods, it would finally be possible to easily compare and benchmark your products to those of others. PRé has been the Technical Helpdesk for the EF initiative for years and is involved in shadow PEFs and the creation of EF-compliant databases.


Testing the EF supporting studies: reviewing is how we learn

Now the EF pilot phase is coming to an end, the methodology developed during this phase is being put to the test. Each pilot project was required to test their footprinting category or sector rules on at least three real-world products or organisations. Since there were 26 pilot projects to start with, that amounts to a lot of studies. PRé and fellow consultancy bureau Ecomatters were asked to review 40 studies.


There were two main goals. First, to learn more about the applicability of the draft PEFCRs and OEFSRs and to identify where more or improved guidance is needed, for instance by clarifying reporting requirements. Second, to focus on so-called horizontal issues. These are cross-cutting technical issues that came up in several or all pilots, e.g. which rules to use for modelling the use stage. Reviewing these cross-cutting issues is another chance to tighten up the guidance documents provided with the PEFCRs and OEFSRs.


Applying state-of-the-art rules to your product portfolio

Even though the PEFCRs and OEFSRs are not yet final, visionary LCA practitioners and companies are already taking up the methodology and applying it to their products and organisations. To do so, it is very important to stay up-to-date with the findings from this review. Would you like to know more about applying EF rules to your product portfolio in a way that is consistent with the latest insight? Contact us or read the full case study

"To DSM, the collaboration with PRé is positive, constructive and fruitful. We are pleased to have PRé as advisors, sparring partners and team members on board, and to continue building on the relationship for the coming years"

Jacobine Das Gupta, Director Brighter Living Solutions, DSM
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Marisa Vieira
Marisa Vieira
Principal Consultant
'Making informed decisions'