Title: Developing scientifically-sound Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules: development options, challenges and implications
Citation: The 6th International Conference on Life Cycle Management – LCM 2013
Publisher: CPM – The Swedish Life Cycle Center, Chalmers University of Technology
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC78703
URI: http://conferences.chalmers.se/index.php/LCM/LCM2013/paper/view/609/210
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: 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, scientifically-sound and consistent environmental assessment of products and organisations. The EF rules are reported in two guidance documents: one applicable to all goods and services, the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) guide, and one to organisations, the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) guide. The principal aim of the EF guides is to ensure science-based decision support for industry and policy. To make the general-level EF rules more relevant and applicable to specific product categories and sectors the EF guides provide requirements to develop so called PEF Category Rules (PEFCRs) and OEF Sectoral Rules (OEFSRs). PEFCRs and OEFSRs are seen as crucial especially for consistent and robust business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) communication intended to be used for comparisons. The focus of this paper is on the PEFCRs. It highlights the key challenges in the process to develop PEFCRs and takes into account amongst others recent developments led by the US EPA in this area. When developing PEFCRs, the appropriate scope of the product category needs to be defined sufficiently broad to enable meaningful comparisons of products providing the same function on the one side, while remaining focused enough to be manageable from a process point of view on the other side. Different approaches can be used such as 1) a need-based approach 2) a functional approach and 3) a material-based approach. Each of these approaches has pros and cons which are also discussed in this contribution. An example of a very wide product group is the food products. The ENVIFOOD protocol of the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table was developed to be also in line with the PEF and can serve as a starting point to develop PEFCRs for food and food packaging defining several product categories and related PEFCRs below the level of the ENVIFOOD protocol.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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