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Below you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered below, please use the form below.
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Which are the main audiences of an environmental declaration?
Environmental declarations are primarily intended for use in business-to-business (B2B) communication, but their use in business-to-consumer (B2C) communication is not precluded. It is recognised that an environmental declarations programme operator cannot precisely determine the exact audience. However, it is important to consider the information needs of different purchaser or user groups, e.g. large business, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), public procurement agencies and consumers. Programme operators will need to pay due attention to the level of awareness of the target audience.
What are the key objectives of environmental declarations?
The overall goal of environmental declarations is to encourage the demand and supply of those products that cause less stress on the environment through communication of verifiable and accurate information that is not misleading, thereby stimulating the potential for market-driven continuous environmental inprovement. The more detailed objectives od EPDs are to:
- provide LCA-based information and additional information on the environmental aspects of products,
- assist purchasers and users to make informed comparisons between products (but not being so-called comparative assertions),
- encourage improvement of environmental performance, and
- provide information for assessing the environmental aspects of products over their life cycle.
What are the more important advantages of EPDs?
EPDs are applicable for all types of products and services within clearly defined product categories. EPDs are designed to meet various information needs within the supply-chain and for end-products both in the private and public sector, as well as for more general purposes in information activities and marketing.
The main advantages of EPDs, for those creating EPDs and providing information on the market, are that they are regarded as being:
Objective – through the use of scientifically accepted and valid methods based on international standards for life cycle assessment (LCA).
Non-selective and neutral – because no claims of valuations or predetermined environmental performance levels must be met.
Flexible - through enabling any change or improvement of the EPD as required by the company/organisation after due external review and verification.
The main advantages of EPDs, for those using EPD information for various purposes, are that they are regarded as being:
Comparable – because the information in EPDs are being collected and calculated based on international accepted and harmonised calculation rules.
Credible– through the requirements for routine inspections, review, approval and follow-up by an independent verifier.
Accurate - because the information has to be continuously-updated based on in-company routines for documentation and follow-up procedures.
What's the cost for developing an EPD?
It is difficult to give an estimate of what it costs to produce an EPD. There are several reasons. If the product category rules (PCR) is missing for the product to be declared, these need to be developed. The International EPDsystem will provide with support along the way and it is free to register a PCR when it is ready.
A certain cost comes with the verification. The data in climate declaration must be verified by a third party before it can be registered. There are both accredited certification bodies and approved individual verifies that can verify climate declarations.
Registration of a EPD costs €1000. The price also includes the registration of an climate declaration for the same product.
The registration fee is a single payment, for one EPD it is €1000, for two EPDs; €1500 and for three or four EPDs; €2000. For organisations planning to register five or more EPDs, there are special prize arrangements, contact the Secretariat for more information.
The annual fee (regardless of the number of EPDs) is €1000 for small and medium sized organisations (less than 250 employees) and €2500 for large organisations (more than 250 employees). The annual fee is separate from the registration fee.
All international transactions are exempt from VAT.
How can you use EPDs in public procurement?
A registered environmental declaration, e.g. by the International EPD® System, proves that certain environmental standards are fulfilled. In public procurement it’s possible to ask for goods and services to have this information. However, any procurement criteria need to be in line with the information that can be provided by a certified environmental declaration.
Don’t ask for a certain type of environmental declaration for a product or service, such as an EPD®. EU procurement legislation demands that criteria for any type of product or service must be verifiable by any type of environmental declaration. In other words ask for a certain feature or content rather than a labelling or brand.
Who prepares the PCR documents?
PCR documents shall be developed in an internationally-accepted manner based on an open, transparent and participatory process either by:
- companies and organisations in co-operation with other parties, such as branch- and interest organisations,
- institutions involving LCA experts in close cooperation with companies or branch- and interest organisations, or by
- single companies or organisations in case they have the necessary in-house competence or choose to engage outside LCA/EPD experts.
The overall management of the PCR development is the responsibility of the program operator
If single companies initiate the PCR development, it is especially important to seek co-operation with other parties that may be interested to participate in the work. Announcing the PCR development on the website can give contacts with other parties interested in the development.
What is the procedure for approving PCR documents?
Prior to the final approval of PCR documents, they shall be subject for an open consultation procedure giving all interested parties and stakeholders an opportunity to be informed about, to influence and comment on the proposal, if requested.
The open consultation procedure can either be performed via the the PCR Forum or have the form of a meeting, which shall be arranged by the party/parties responsible for preparing the proposal for PCR. If the consultation is carried out via the PCR Forum, special Product Category Stakeholder Consultation Groups are formed and invired to comment on the PCR proposal.
A Technical Committee formally approves the PCR documents. The Committee is composed by independent LCA-experts from academia and the business sector.
What is the validity of the PCR documents?
PCR documents are usually valid for a period of three years after which they will be revisited for an update and adjustments, if found necessary. PCR documents can be updated at shorter intervals if any interested party announce suggestions to be made and these changes are considered to be of vital importance.
If the validity period for a PCR document has expired, the document can be reactivated and updated for a prolonged period of time upon request.
Where to find information about existing PCR documents?
The international EPD® system provides a searchable database over available PCR documents within the framework of the system including those under preparation, those approved and those subject for review and update. The PCR database is meant to provide an overview of all available PCR documents.
How to comment on existing PCR documents?
An important element of the internaional EPDsystem is to enable all interested parties the possibilty to comment on all phases of the PCR development - during the consultation phase, the application phase as wella as under the review and update of the documents.
Comments can be given through The PCR Forum.
Accessing the PCR database will give the reader direct information if the document is under preparation, consultation and review or is approved and currently applied.
How does the International EPD System relate to EN 15804?
EN 15804 refers to the European standard EN 15804:2012, “Sustainability of construction works - Environmental product declarations - Core rules for the product category of construction products”. This document is developed to function as a “Core PCR” to harmonize environmental declarations across programme operators.
The International EPD® System is actively working towards complying with this standard, through the new General Programme Instructions and the PCR/PCR Basic Module for Construction products and construction services.
The International EPD® System also has an active participation in the ECO Platform as well as a mutual recognition agreement with the IBU EPD system for construction products in Germany. This means that the EPD of both programs are accepted mutually without further verification. The owner of such an EPD may carry the logo of either one or both programs.
Is it possible to use a PCR Basic Module as Product Category Rules (PCR) when developing an EPD?
No. PCR Basic Modules provides a close to ready-made PCR document, but they are generally not PCR documents in themselves. PCR Basic Modules includes text which is common for all full PCR documents regardless of product group, e.g. the introduction section, but does not specify the detailed calculation rules that are required in order for EPDs of the same product group to be comparable.
Product Category Rules
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