European Commission starts environmental footprint pilots
This initial three year pilot phase is to achieve the following goals:
- Devolopment of product group-specific rules (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules – PEFCRs), and development of performance benchmarks;
- Testing of different compliance and verification systems, in order to set up and validate adequate, effective and efficient compliance and verification systems.
- Testing of different business-to-business and business-to-consumer communication vehicles for Product Environmental Footprint information in collaboration with stakeholders.
- Will environmental footprinting fundamentally change current environmental corporate reporting practise?
- What are the most critical issues regarding the pilots?
- What are the pros and cons for participating?
Critical issues regarding the pilotsWith regard to the calculation process, the exclusion of life cycle stages is possible. Furthermore, the selection and weighting of impact categories needs to be explicitely addressed and calculation principles need to be fixed (e.g. EoL equation). Focussing on the pilot results, a vehicle of communication needs to be defined (e.g. a label). Product categories (Product Category Rules = PCR) need to be developed during the pilots, which will then be used as standard in upcoming EC policies. The PCRs process developed in the pilots will be used as blueprint for the roll-out of PCR development in Europe.
Pros and cons for participationThere are several reasons to participate in the EC’s initiative:
- definition of product categories,
- re-evaluation of EoL formula
- avoidance of misleading approaches such as input/output based PEF
- avoidance of competitive disadvantages due to e.g. selection of impact categories
- definition and evaluation of communication vehicles
- avoidance of competition driven transformation of existing PCRs to PEFCR (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) document
- Participation might be interpreted as confirmation of the PEF guides content
- Tough deadline to obtain required commitments (internal as well as competitors)
- Budget / no funding of DG Environment.
Timeline:26 July 2013: Deadline for applications
September 2013: Selection of participants completed
October-November 2013: Start of 1st wave of EF category rules pilot
April-June 2014 (expected): Start of testing verification processes
April 2015 (expected): Start of tests of communication vehicles Source: European Bioplastics e.V.