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EU to start pilot phase for Environmental Footprint of Products and Organizations

The European Commission is pushing forward with the requirement for companies to provide verified, comparable and consistent environmental performance reports based on the recent Communication “Building the Single Market for Green Products” and the Recommendation on the use of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organization Environmental Footprint (OEF) methods. The 3-year pilot phase will start this autumn after a first call for volunteers closing on July 26th and is aimed at testing the implementation of sector specific rules based on Life Cycle Assessment thinking. In order to allow comparison of results for products or organizations within a same category or sector, specific guidelines need to be developed for Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) and Organization Environmental Footprint Sector Rules (OEFSR) respectively.

The Recommendation published in April 2013 presents methodologies for assessing the environmental footprint of products (PEF) and organizations (OEF) and is based on the multi-criteria, supply-chain-wide Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method, taking into account existing standards or initiatives in member states. Inputs, output and potential environmental impacts of a system will be compiled and evaluated throughout its life cycle. Based on reliable data, these studies will allow comparison of results for a similar sector, including applications like: Support for product design minimizing environmental impacts along the life cycle. Reputational schemes giving visibility to products that calculate their life cycle environmental performance. Providing incentives based on life cycle environmental performance, as appropriate. Communicating life cycle environmental performance to interested parties (e.g. through Annual Reports, in sustainability reporting, as a response to investor or stakeholder questionnaires). Optimizing processes along the whole supply chain of an organization’s product portfolio.

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