Title: The development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules
Citation: ABSTRACT BOOK SETAC Europe 23nd Annual Meeting
Publisher: SETAC Europe Office
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC77016
URI: http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/presentation/viewPublicPDF/id/14769/format/abstract_book
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The European Commission's “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe” proposes ways to increase resource productivity and to decouple economic growth from both resource use and environmental impacts, taking a life-cycle perspective. One of its objectives is to: “Establish a common methodological approach to enable Member States and the private sector to assess, display and benchmark the environmental performance of products, services and companies based on a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts over the life-cycle ('environmental footprint')”. The European Council invited the Commission to develop supporting methodologies. The Environmental Footprint (EF), launched by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in close cooperation with Directorate-General for the Environment, gives specific guidance for comprehensive, robust and consistent environmental assessment of products and organisations. This is an important step forward to ensure robust decision support for business and policy. However, for to be more relevant to the situation and problems of specific product categories more specific guidance on how to conduct the EF study is required. The guides on Product EF (PEF) and Organisation EF (OEF) provide more specific requirements that need to be defined in so called Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs). These PEFCRs are seen as crucial for EF studies aiming at business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) communication intended to be used for comparisons and comparative assertions. The role of PEFCRs are to increase the reproducibility, consistency, comparability and relevance of EF studies, but also to increase the efficiency (reduce time, efforts and costs) of EF studies by directing the focus on the most important processes and impact categories. First steps are taken by the European Commission to develop PEFCRs through several pilot studies. These will build on: • The recent development of guidelines on the development of Product Category Rules (PCRs) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency • Existing PCRs and specific sector guidance such as the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table , PAS2050, GEDNets PCRs for Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and the Repository of good practice in France (related to BP X 30-323) • Knowledge and experience from a broad spectre of stakeholders For the development of PEFCR there are at least three major challenges that will be discussed in the presentation: definition of the Product Category/Sector in a way that allows for meaningful comparison of products fulfilling an equivalent function, definition and modelling of an average product(s) and identifying and focussing on what matters most. This contribution gives an overview of what PEFCRs are and highlights some issues relating to their development.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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