EPD creation explained in 5 simple steps

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5 simple steps - expert knowledge required!

Before initiating the 5 simple, intuitive EPD development steps in our EPD Portal, we briefly describe the process for you to prepare.

If you are not familiar with or have no access to lifecycle assessment knowledge yet, we strongly recommend you to get familiar with the process described below and require the necessary LCA expert level support in a timely manner.

No time to waste, or already an LCA-expert familiar with EPDs?
Feel free to directly sign-up/log-in to your personal account in our EPD Portal.
In the EPD Portal, we will guide you through the 5 intuitive EPD development steps. Creating and having an EPD Portal account is free of charge!

In case of any questions, please contact the EPD Helpdesk and Support.

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Step 1. PCR selection

Before developing an EPD, a suitable PCR must be chosen.

The PCR used shall be listed in the International EPD System and be valid at the time of the verification. The Secretariat may provide guidance in finding the correct PCR, and it should be contacted at pcr@environdec.com in case of doubts about the applicability of the PCR to the product in question. The Secretariat may in turn seek support from the PCR moderator or the Technical Committee.

If a PCR does not exist for the product category of interest, it shall be developed based on the process described under PCR Development. For new product categories, a pre-certified EPD may be published in parallel to PCR development.

Step 2. Life cycle assessment

When developing the EPD, the environmental performance of the product shall be described from a life cycle perspective where one of the main steps is to carry out a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the product.

The LCA study may be performed by the organization itself (in-house) or with the help of a consultant with expertise in LCA and environmental declarations. To avoid conflicts of interest between a consultant and the verification, the cost of verification shall be set up and paid between the company and the verifier, and not be included in the offer from the consultant.

The LCA study shall comply with:

  • the internationally accepted principles, framework, methodology and practices for LCA established by ISO 14040 and ISO 14044,
  • the general purpose of EPDs in the collection of data, and the methods and assumptions used as advocated in the ISO standard 14025 and described in Annex A of the General Programme Instructions, and
  • the Product Category Rules (PCR) applicable for the product category.

A list of LCA consultants can be found on this page.

Step 3. EPD format

The results of the LCA study and other information mandated by the reference PCR and General Programme Instructions shall be compiled in the EPD reporting format.

This may be performed by the organisation itself (in-house) or with the help of a consultant. The International EPD® System includes the requirements for the EPD reporting format in terms of contents, while some flexibility is allowed in the formatting and layout provided that the EPD still includes the prescribed information. A generic template for EPDs is available. Additional requirements may be put on the reporting format in the reference PCR, or in order for the EPD to be used in certain applications.

As a general rule, the EPD content:

  • shall be in line with the requirements and guidelines in ISO 14020 (Environmental labels and declarations - General principles),
  • shall be verifiable, accurate, relevant, and not misleading, and
  • shall not include rating, judgments, or direct comparisons with other products.

For EPDs for construction products compliant with EN 15804, the communication format of the EPD shall be in accordance with EN 15942, Sustainability of construction works — Environmental product declarations — Communication formats: business to business.

Step 4. Verification

The verification process shall be carried out by an approved individual verifier or an accredited certification body with knowledge and experience of the types of products, the industry, and relevant standards of the product covered by the EPD and its geographical scope.

There are two types of EPD verification procedures in the International EPD® System as one of the steps in developing an EPD. Both procedures result in a third-party verified EPD that is in compliance with the referenced PCR and our General Programme Instructions (GPI):

  • Individual verification: verification of LCA-based data, additional environmental information, and other information presented in an EPD based on the GPI and a valid reference PCR. This shall be conducted by an approved individual verifier or an accredited certification body.
  • Verification via EPD process certification: verification of an internal organisational process aimed to develop EPDs based on the General Programme Instructions and valid reference PCRs covered under the scope of the certification. EPD process certification shall be conducted by an accredited certification body.

It is possible to have an EPD calculation tool “pre-verified”. This shall not replace the need for EPD verification according to one of the options above.

The approved verifiers can be found on this page as well as on this page.

Step 5. Registration and publication

After completed verification, the organisation developing the EPD shall register the EPD in the EPD Portal together with other mandatory documentation.

The following documentation is required:

  • EPD in PDF format. The verified EPD may be provided in one or multiple languages, and in multiple versions formatted for desktop computers or mobile use. If the EPD is not available in English, it shall contain an executive summary in English that includes the main content of the EPD
  • EPD in machine-readable XML format (voluntary)
  • Verification report in English as provided by an individual verifier, and/or certificate of EPD Process Certification
  • Product description in English
  • Picture of the declared product or service
  • List of products included in the EPD (if relevant)
  • Company logotype (only needed in the case of first EPD registration)