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Environmental product declarations for compliance your stakeholders can trust

Credibility and transparency are crucial for your brand reputation, especially now customers are becoming increasingly savvy to unsubstantiated ‘green’ claims. By creating environmental product declarations (EPD) for your product, you can comply with the accepted industry standards and communicate objectively about your environmental performance.

Environmental Product Declarations

 

Effective environmental product declarations without greenwashing

Environmental product declarations are standardised communication tools for objective communication and product comparison. Because EPDs are made according to a transparent standard and verified by an external expert, they can help you comply with regulations and avoid greenwashing. Both aspects are increasingly important to customers. 

 

An environmental product declaration (EPD) is a type III declaration compliant with ISO 14025 and provides relevant, verified and comparable information about the environmental performance of products. There is no evaluation of the environmental information since no predetermined environmental performance levels are set. Instead it builds on well-structured and quantitative data certified by an independent third party.

 

EPD’s are based on a Life Cycle Assessment. It includes information about the environmental impacts associated with a product or service, such as raw material acquisition, energy use and efficiency, content of materials and chemical substances, emissions to air, soil and water and waste generation. It also includes product and company information.

 

EPD for Product TransparencyWhy do you need an EPD

In today's market, manufacturers can no longer make unsubstantiated "green" claims. Increasingly, specifiers and purchasers expect credibility and transparency. EPDs are made according to a transparent standard, and the end result is verified by a external expert.

 

The Product Category Rules (PCRs), Product Life Cycle Assessment (LCAs) and verifications by an outside expert required with an EPD provide the trust and transparency being sought by procurement professionals. EPDs combine the Life Cycle Assessment approach with a level playing field provided by PCRs, resulting in a reliable resource for both manufacturers and purchasers. As such the use of EPD’s avoids greenwashing, as explained in this article. The benefits of EPD are also well explained in this presentation by Ramon Arratia of InterFaceFloor.

 

With an environmental product declaration, you can communicate all relevant environmental information along a product's value or supply chain. You can also use these environmental reports to reflect on your continuous improvement, to select the best eco-design options and to be in compliance with laws around high-volume consumer products in certain countries.

 

But the most important reason is that EPD's are becoming compulsory by law. The French Grenelle law demands that all high volume consumer products sold in France must have an EPD. Mandatory environmental product declarations are becoming commonplace in other EU countries as well, which is good reason to start developing EPDs for your products today.

 

How to develop EPDs

To develop EPDs, you need to follow product category rules (PCRs). A PCR is a technical document consisting of a set of specific rules, requirements and guidelines for a product group based on LCA. An EPD is relatively easy to develop if product category rules (PCR) already exist. Available PCRs can be found with the following program operators: Environdec, IBUJEMAI, the Green Standard and others.

 

If a PCR does not exist for your product group, it has to be developed and submitted for public consultation. This can be a time consuming process. PRé can help you develop an EPD or a PCR as well as engage the right parties in the consultation period.

Building EPD standards

Mandatory environmental product declarations are becoming commonplace in many countries. The figure above displays divers EPD standards for the building sector.

 

Product benchmarking and compliance with reliable standards

Comparing the environmental performance of different products in a way that makes sense is not as easy as it seems it should be. Environmental product declarations solve this problem: they all use a common methodology defined in ISO 14024 and the same product category rules (PCRs), so you can compare the environmental reports of different products.

 

Because environmental product declarations are always verified by an external expert, they provide trust and transparency for your manufacturers and procurement professionals. 

 

Get in touch to get started with your product's EPDs

Would you like to get started in with environmental product declarations? Our consultants can help you do the initial LCA, develop your EPDs or PCRs, or serve as the external expert to verify your EPDs and underlying LCA. Get in touch and we will be happy to help you out.

For BRE, an independent certification organisation, PRé developed BRE LINA, an online life cycle assessment tool for the construction sector. With BRE LINA, construction companies can meet requests for EPDs more easily.

BRE LINA - Online Tool for EPD in de Construction Sector, BRE
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