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Business-to-business communication

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Business-to-business communication

The market is increasingly asking for environmental information covering all phases of a product's life cycle – from raw material extraction to final disposal. EPDs can indeed be the perfect vehicle to collect and provide relevant environmental information along a product's value chain.

How to USe EPDs in Business to Business communication

One of the characteristics of EPDs is the modularity, meaning that data in EPDs for raw materials or components can be used to develop EPDs for a product containing those materials or components. This make EPD development more cost efficient, but does also increase the quality on the EPDs as specific data are used instead of generic data.

The contents in the EPD must be in line with the requirements and guidelines in ISO 14020. Any environmental claims based on the EPD is recommended to meet the requirements in ISO 14021 and national legislation and best available practices in the markets in which it will be used. The international standard ISO 14021 states that only environmental claims that can be supported by up-to-date and documented facts may be used. Vague claims, such as "environmentally friendly" should be avoided.

What makes EPDs suitable for business-to-business communication?

Besides the modularity described above, EPDs are based on internationally recognized standards giving them a wide spead acceptance. EPDs are also open for all types of products or services from any company with no requirements on environmental perfromance. In addion, being verified by a third party gives the information high credibility.

How to use EPDs in business-to-business communication

1. Procurement

EPDs may be very useful tool for public and private procurement and this is further described here

2. LCA-data in the value chain

EPDs are developed for specific product categories making use of internationally standardised methods for definition of all sub-categories of products according to the UN system called Central Product Classification (CPC). Therefore EPDs can be established for all types of products wherever they might be in a hierarchy of product categories. Following this EPD´s can be developed for all types of products in a supply chain – from the very initial stage with acquisition of raw materials to subsequent stages in the refinement of these raw materials to sub-components delivered to the final manufacturing. As consequence, separate EPDs in a supply chain can be added up together to provide a final manufacturer with a complete information of the environmental performance of a semi-manufactured product as an input to their overall manufacturing process.

3. Marketing

In marketing, many organizations want to make claims of their product´s environmental performance, especially if it is superior compared to other similar products on the market. However, such claims must be conveyed in manner which is recognized by the market as being relevant, credible and transparent.

In order not to violate national marketing acts and international codes of conduct, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules on advertising and marketing communications, these organisations must be able, on any demand, to demonstrate proof of different aspects of the environmental claims they are using.

It should be noted that images in the EPD, especially the cover page, could in themself be interpreted as an environmental claim, why images such as trees, mountains, wildlife that are not related to the declated products should be used with caution.

If the organisation has developed an EPD for the product, they indeed have a very comprehensive documented to refer to. The EPD will most likely meet all requirements that might be raised by any external party which would like to argue about any possible deficiencies in the organisation's environmental claims.