An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) transparently reports objective, comparable and third-party verified data about products and services’ environmental performances from a lifecycle perspective.
They can be applied to any product in order to create a set of parameters that can subsequently be used by companies using that product. An example could be where a company is constructing a sustainable building and want to understand which supplier they should use from an environmental standpoint, such as cement, wood or steel. The EPD gives them a comparable set of figures between the producers of that product set and provides data that they can in turn feed into their own sustainability report.
An EPD is generated based on data obtained through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This assesment reviews the whole or part of a product’s life cycle i.e. from the raw materials it uses in production, through to its transport, use and ultimately its disposal. In the case of an EPD this is verified by a third party to ensure its authenticity and then published publically by a range of organisations.
The LCA is performed using a peer reviewed Product Category Rules document (PCR) in line with EN 15804 (the European Standard for the generation of EPD for construction products), ISO 14025, and other related international standards. These product rules vary from product to product, but again produce consistency. They are continually being evolved to provide increased transparency and accuracy.WHY SHOULD OUR COMPANY CREATE EPDs?
There are many reasons for your company to assign EPDs to your product range. Their commercial importance does vary from industry to industry currently, but as legislation evolves and demand grows for more sustainable credentials they are likely to becoming increasingly important, whatever your sector.
The main benefits of an EPD are:
- Customer demand: In the building industry there are increasing pressures for construction firms to comply with environmental regulations in order to obtain planning consent. If this is the case then they will likely look for verified products from their suppliers. Not only does this allow them to choose greener options but also simplifies their own environmental accounting options. If legislation becomes mandatory for your suppliers, which it is increasingly likely to do, then aligning your products to these standards will become an important part of your sales pitch.
- Commercial efficiciencies: By understanding the life cycle of a product, there are opportunities to make efficiency savings both in terms of emissions, but also commercially. Traditionally the analysis of a product has been based on economies of scale, often convenience and short term decision making. However, when larger strategic decisions are taken the life cycle analysis can help tip the scales on decisions towards a longer term more profitable solution.
- Risk management: Environmental compliance can reduce risk to an organisation by displaying that decisions inside the company are responsible and in the interest of the wider community. Standards such as EPDs avoid greenwashing and other public relation blunders.
If you wish to find out more about EPDs, the process to acheive certification and an idea of time and cost, please don’t hesitate to contact us.