What is Pre-certification?
Pre-certification is an introductory step to a final EPD where the specific Product Category Rules (PCR) document is still under development. A pre-certified EPD is based on LCA-based information in accordance with international standards and the General Programme Instructions.
The overall outline and content of a pre-certified EPD shall be equivalent to existing EPDs. Like full EPDs, pre-certified EPDs must be reviewed and verified by an independent verifier, which is important for the correct application of international agreed-upon LCA methodologies as no guiding PCR is yet available.
Pre-certified EPDs are valid for a specific period of time in most cases equivalent to the time needed to develop the PCR; in any case this period must not exceed one year. A pre-certification cannot be renewed.
The pre-certification option has gradually been developed during the course of implementing the International EPD® System in close dialogue with companies and organisations. It's found to be of value and stimulation for companies in the process of creating EPD®s and having access to good and representative product-related LCA data.
There are some clear motives for companies to apply for a pre-certification of their products. Pre-certification of EPDs could be seen as an important element in the preparation of PCR documents providing an illustrative and realistic example of upcoming EPDs in the discussions between parties involved. Other purposes with a pre-certification is:
- to give a company or an organisation a possibility to early inform the market about the environmental performance of their products or services
- make possible a discussion with other parties about the inclusion of other environmental information.
Pre-certified EPDs will most likely serve as important vehicles in the establishment and broadening of EPDs in many business sectors and provide companies having pre-certified EPDs with a market visibilty with a view of strenghtening their competitive edge.
How to prepare a pre-certified EPD
For pre-certification the following requirements apply:
- the underlying LCA-data shall be collected and calculated in accordance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and meeting the requirements set out in the General Programme Instructions. Deviations from the general requirements shall be justified and stated in the pre-certified EPD;
- the EPD format and contents shall comply with the requirements laid down in the General Programme Instructions;
- examination and review of the results from the LCA study and the declaration shall be carried out by an external verifier;
- relevant parties, e.g. industrial associations and interest organisations, shall be informed about the precertification, if found appropriate
The reporting format for a pre-certified EPD shall follow the same lay-out as for EPDs in general. However, a precertified EPDs must include key information about the LCA calculation rules that normally is described in a PCR document, due to the absence of a reference PCR. The following information is of special importance:
- Choice and definition of the functional unit
- Choice and description of system boundaries
- Cut off rules
- Allocation rules
- Data sources
- Any deviation from the general requirements regarding the use of specific and generic data.
More information can be found in the General Programme Instructions.
Registration and publication
The Secretariat will register and publish a pre-certified EPD with a special registration number upon receipt of the declaration after its approval by an independent verifier. The page of the EPD on www.environdec.com will highlight that it is only a pre-certification and that no PCR has been used.
Pre-certified EPDs are valid for a specific period of time in most cases equivalent to the time needed to develop the PCR; in any case this period must not exceed one year. A pre-certification cannot be renewed. Companies publishing a pre-certified EPD will be encouraged to develop a PCR and publish full EPDs.