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Product category definition and classification

Structure of UN CPC

Product category definition and classification

The product category covered by a PCR shall, as far as possible, relate to the function of the product, i.e. that the same functional unit may be applied to products within its scope. When defining the scope of a product category, the following aspects should be considered:

  • primary functions of the product,
  • secondary functions of the product,
  • price elasticities, i.e. the exchangeability of two products in the way that an increase in price for one leads to an increase in the price of the other,
  • results from screening study/existing LCA literature for the product group,
  • UN CPC code(s), and
  • product category definition and scoping used in other similar or related systems, such as the criteria used for Type I environmental labels, criteria for green public procurement, or to meet international and national standards.

The product category definition should be made so that the development of the PCR is practical and feasible taking into account existing PCRs, the market situation, industry structure, potential applications, and the size of the stakeholder group affected.

The scope should be decided during PCR development in a discussion between the PCR moderator, PCR Committee,Secreta riat, and Technical Committee, with the aim to reach consensus, as far as possible. The scope of the product category of a PCR may be reconsidered during PCR development, when PCRs are updated, or when new PCRs are proposed, and it should be based on the experience gained when using the PCR.

A definition of a product category should include synonyms as well as information about which similar or related products that are not included in the scope.

To facilitate discovery of PCRs, they should be classified at a three, four, or five digit level in the latest version of UN Central Product Classification (UN CPC)7. The PCR should also include a classification according to other commonly used schemes that are relevant depending on the geographical scope, applications, and product category, such as the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV), United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® (UNSPSC), Classification of Products by Activity (NACE/CPA), or Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).