When creating an EPD, the environmental performance of the product/service shall be described from a life cycle perspective. Collecting LCA data to be included in the declaration is a core activity in the process of creating an EPD with the following for basic prerequisites:
- to comply with international accepted principles for life cycle assessment, LCA, according to the ISO standards 14040 and 14044,
- to follow the general purpose of EPDs, the collection of data, methods and assumptions used as advocated in the ISO standard 14025 and described in the General Programme Instructions and
- to be in line with the product-category rules, PCRs, for the product category of interest.
Companies creating EPDs may perform the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) themselves, or benefit from the assistance of an environmental consultant if they do not have the in-house expertise. No special approval is needed to perform this step in the EPD process, but LCA expertise is needed.
Issues to consider in case of lack of specific LCA data
In some cases specific LCA data do not exist. Lacking such information will for some time lead to difficulties for companies and organisations when it comes to acquiring specific data covering the entire life cycle of a product or service.
Lacking specific LCA data is often a reality in the supply chain "from cradle-to-gate". Therefore, as a special rule within the International EPD® System, companies and organisations are allowed to use a defined proportion of selected generic data and other generic data in their LCA calculation. The use of selected generic data and other generic data is described in the PCR.
Rules for similar products and services
The International EPD® System offers the possibility for similar products from the same company to be included in the same EPD. The following requirements must be met:
- Similar products with differences between the mandatory impact indicators lower than ±10% may be presented in the same EPD using the impacts of an environmentally representative product. The criteria for the choice of representative product shall be presented in the EPD, using, if applicable, statistical parameters;
- Similar products with differences between the mandatory impact indicators higher than ±10% may be presented in the same EPD but using separate columns or tables.
For the purpose of these requirements “similar products” means products covered by the same PCR and produced by the same company with same core process.
Pre-verified tools to create EPDs
In 2014, the International EPD® System accepted the first pre-verified tool for creating EPDs. The pre-verification of this tool means that some of the checks that is normally done by the verifier is already assured if the tool and its underlying database been used. There is still a need for verification, e.g. that the input data is correct, but the time needed for this phase is reduced if this tool is used. The tool is currently available to WBCSD-CSI members on this website (external link).
For more information about pre-verified tools, contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.