New EPD agreement brings the Nordics together on climate documentation
Until now, developing and using EPDs across the Nordic countries has in many cases been difficult, time-consuming and costly. A new agreement will change this.
The EPD programme operators in Denmark, Sweden and Norway have just signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of EPDs, including the Product Category Rules (PCR) they operate under.
This will mean that EPD owners, i.e. manufacturers, will have completely different visibility and access to a much larger market. At the same time, it will be easier for consultants, contractors and others who need to calculate the climate impact of buildings to access data on the building products they use in their construction project, Håkon Hauan from EPD Norway explains.
Strong signal to and from the Nordic construction industry
The so-called MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) will mean that manufacturers who have had an EPD issued by one of the three operators can now - for a small one-off fee - have it issued by the other two operators without having to verify it again.
In EPD Denmark, Head of Secretariat Martha K. Sørensen is looking forward to sharing the news about the new Nordic agreement:
This agreement on mutual recognition of EPDs sends a strong signal to and from the Nordic construction industry that we stand together in the desire to accelerate the green transition.
Sebastiaan Stiller from EPD International AB, the Swedish EPD programme operator, agrees. He adds:
We know that EPDs will play an increasingly important role as countries increasingly impose regulatory requirements on the overall climate impact of buildings, including life cycle assessments.
In Sweden, the EPD database shows exponential growth figures. In 2019 - 2021, the number of EPDs registered with EPD International AB increased by over 200%. This is looking at the global market, as EPD International operates as a global EPD programme operator.
EPD Norway has also seen a strong increase in EPDs in recent years. In the last four years alone, the number of EPDs in the Norwegian database has increased by over 200%. At EPD Denmark, they reached 200 EPDs in 2022 compared to 39 in 2019 – a five-fold increase in four years.
Now we can start thinking big
The three representatives of EPD programme operators in the Nordic region hope that more countries will join in:
We expect Finland to join the agreement this year. Furthermore, we already see a lot of opportunities for knowledge sharing and concrete cooperation on digitalisation, tools, product category development and general development of the area together, says Håkon Hauan.
Martha K. Sørensen adds that the aim is for countries to be harmonised as much as possible across the board, which a panel will ensure on an ongoing basis:
Our cooperation through the ECO Platform, the international membership organisation for EPD programme operators, has already shown that we can learn a lot from each other, and we hope this agreement can boost that. A panel of representatives from the three countries will be established as part of the agreement. The panel will discuss on an ongoing basis the concrete practices for developing EPDs across the countries.
Sebastiaan Stiller elaborates:
With this 'proof of concept' in place in the Nordics, we can now start thinking big. We are pioneers, but this will only be the beginning of something much bigger. EPDs are increasingly recognised globally as the most credible format for reporting product-specific life cycle environmental performance data. We are just beginning to understand the potential of EPD adoption in new industries and data applications!
For more info on the Nordic MRA, please contact us here: