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Preparation Phase

The preparation phase includes the following elements: 1. Use of PCR Basic Module as guidelines and PCR template 2. Specification of LCA-based content of the PCR document 3. Selection of LCA-based parameters/indicators 4. Selection of additional environmental information 5. Quality check before consultation

PCR Basic Modules

The PCR Basic Modules gives guidance on how to prepare PCRs within a certain product category (two-digit CPC code), and act as templates for PCR development. They cannot be used as PCRs directly.

The available PCR Basic Modules may be find in the EPD Search.

Use of PCR Basic Module as guidelines and PCR template

The Secretariat and Technical Committee have developed PCR Basic Modules8 for a number of divisions (two-digit level) within the UN CPC scheme. The PCR Basic Modules are not PCRs in themselves – unless otherwise stated – but serve as a template and contain the information required to develop a PCR.

The PCR Basic Module shall be used as a PCR template, when available. Any nonconformity with the PCR Basic Module shall be documented and is subject to approval during the PCR review phase.

Specification of LCA-based content of the PCR document

PCRs shall be based on the general application of the LCA methodology of the International EPD® System as described in Annex A of the General Programme Instructions, but they should provide further specifications as needed for the product category.

Supporting studies and literature review shall be used to specify the LCA-based content of the PCR that remains to be defined, including:

  • definition of functional unit or declared unit,
  • definition of reference service life when applicable,
  • description of system boundary, including a system diagram,
  • cut-off criteria,
  • allocation rules,
  • data quality requirements and underlying specific or generic data,
  • selection of a specific database if some data are very significant for the final result, and
  • parameters/indicators for the description of environmental performance (see Section 5.2.3).

To ensure coordination across related PCRs in the same supply chain, a PCR sector coordinator may be appointed for certain product sectors, such as the food and agricultural sector. The coordinator should assist the programme operator and the PCR Committee by suggesting ways to harmonize new and existing PCRs.

Existing PCRs covering a part of the life cycle of the product in question, e.g. agricultural products for processed food items, should be referenced to encourage harmonisation across product categories and in supply chains.

Selection of LCA-based parameters/indicators

As mandated by ISO 14025, all relevant environmental aspects of the product throughout its life cycle shall be taken into consideration and be part of the EPDs based on the PCR. If the aspects considered as relevant do not cover all of the life cycle, this shall be stated and justified.

The General Programme Instructions describe the default set of LCA-based parameters to use for PCRs and EPDs of all product categories. In addition, the PCR Basic Module provides guidance on which additional parameters to use for all PCRs based on the same PCR Basic Module.

The default indicators and indicators from the PCR Basic Module shall be supplemented with additional indicators relevant to the product category based on:

  • the results and interpretation of the supporting LCA studies, including the use of normalisation and weighting of results to determine the most relevant impact categories,
  • a literature review (LCA and non-LCA) of relevant impacts for the product category, and
  • a review of key environmental concerns regarding the product category, e.g. from NGOs, civil society, customers, and other stakeholders, for the geographical applicability of the PCR.

The selection of other parameters and impact categories shall be focused on their environmental relevance for the product category. The selection shall also take into consideration the scope of the EPD, regional aspects or requirements, and the maturity of the methods to ensure that they are not misleading. In addition, they shall only apply to those life cycle stages in which the information is appropriate. The PCR should contain justification for the selection of LCA-based parameters/indicators as well as methods and references to the source and version of characterisation models and factors.

selection of additional environmental information

Relevant environmental aspects that are not covered by the LCA-based parameters shall be addressed using other appropriate methods.

The PCR shall provide instructions for additional environmental information, such as:

  • data that are not part of the LCA study,
  • information on existing management systems or other certification programmes that apply to the product,
  • information on preferred waste management options, and
  • information on activities related to social responsibility.

Quality check before consultation

When the PCR moderator and PCR Committee have finished a draft PCR for open consultation, the draft shall be submitted to the Secretariat. The Secretariat should check the draft before the open consultation to ensure that no obvious contradictions to these programme instructions exists, to make editorial changes and to suggest other improvements for clarity.

The Technical Committee, via the Secretariat, may also provide guidance on how to interpret the General Programme Instructions before the consultation.