Here you can explore and download our EPD resources such as handbooks, video tutorials, training materials and LCA/EPD templates to help you with managing the adoption of LCA and EPDs within your organization.
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Our General Programme Instructions (GPI) are the rules guiding the overall administration and Operation of the International EPD® System in accordance with ISO 14025 for type III Environmental Product Declarations.
To stay up to date with the latest developments and best practices in standardisation, methodology, research and applications of EPDs the General Programme Instructions of the International EPD® System are currently being updated to version 4.0.
This draft document is available for open consultation from 2020-12-14 until 2021-01-24 to allow any stakeholder to provide feedback on the development of the International EPD® System. Comments shall be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating if the name of your organisation may be displayed as one of the contributors. A template for providing comments is available below.
A list of key changes is available in the document.
The new version is expected to be published in spring 2021, after which there will be a transition period for the current version of the General Programme Instructions. The publication of the new General Programme Instructions does not affect already-published EPDs.
The currently valid GPI.Download 3.01
GPI 4.0 as draft for public commenting during open consultation periodDownload 4.0
The International EPD® System logotype should be used on all official printed materials and declarations connected to the programme to avoid confusion with other types of product-related environmental labels and declarations.
The logotype symbolizes a yardstick, a standardized tool for objective measurement.
The EPD measures the environmental performance of products and services in an objective and standardized way.
The logotype is available for download in different file formats from this website, or via the Secretariat.
When used correctly, the logotype may be used for different applications:
Other uses of the logotype are only allowed based on special agreements with the programme operator. For more information and limitations, see the General Programme Instructions.
Below you can find some useful documents for when preparing an EPD.
The EPD templates are intended as a voluntary best practice template. The template does not override the mandatory requirements as set by the PCR.
For construction product EPDs claiming compliance with the standard EN 15804, the mandatory templates must be used.
The brochures below describe the basic principles of Environmental Product Declarations and the International EPD® System. They are currently available in the following languages below.
The brochures below focus on the use of an EPD and its different applications. It is currently available in the following languages below.
EN 15804 refers to the European standard EN 15804:2012+A2:2019, “Sustainability of construction works - Environmental product declarations - Core rules for the product category of construction products”. This standard was developed to function as a “Core PCR” to harmonize environmental declarations across programme operators. The European standard is complementary to ISO 14025, which provides rules on how to operate a programme for type III environmental declarations.
The International EPD® System is actively working towards complying with this standard, through the General Programme Instructions and the relevant PCRs. As the International EPD® System has both a geographical scope and scope of product categories that is larger than construction products in Europe, the compliance with the standard is defined on a case-to-case basis for PCRs. EPDs and PCRs for construction products shall state their compliance or non-compliance with EN 15804.
There are three types of PCRs currently available for construction products:
PCR 2019:14 for Construction products. This document is the main option for EPDs compliant with the present version of EN 15804 (EN 15804:2012+A2:2019). Using this document, any construction product may be declared using a declared unit and any system boundaries except “cradle to grave and module D”. A complementary PCR (c-PCR) shall be used if a functional unit is to be used. Under a transition period, ending 2020-09-01, PCR 2012:01 may instead be used, which complies with the old version of EN 15804 (EN 15804:2012+A1:2013).
Stand-alone PCRs, compliant with EN 15804. PCRs that are independent from PCR 2019:14 or PCR 2012:01, but aligned with EN 15804.
Stand-alone PCRs, NOT compliant with EN 15804. This is often legacy PCRs intended to be updated or de-registered after they have expired.
The International EPD® System is a founding member of the ECO Platform to collaborate with other programme operators for alignment with EN 15804. The system also has mutual recognition agreement with the IBU and AENOR EPD systems for construction products in Germany and Spain, where EPDs of these programmes are accepted mutually without further verification. With an additional registration fee, the owner of such an EPD may carry the logotype of both programmes.
Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a European methodology for calculating the life cycle environmental impact of products. It is inspired by, but does not aim to be fully compliant with, among others, the international standards for
Life Cycle Assessment (ISO 14040/14044) and
Type III environmental declarations (ISO 14025).
PEF is one part of the "Single market for Green products" recommendation by the European Commission released in April 2013, which shares much of the same vision as the International EPD® System: enabling verified, transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. The intended application and communication format of PEF remains to be decided.
The PEF was in a pilot phase between 2013-2018, where twelve so-called PEFCR documents were finalized, with rules for conducting PEF studies of different product categories. Also, various aspects of the methodology and format of communication were investigated. The Secretariat and members of the Technical Committee participated in different ways in the pilot phase to ensure that knowledge developed during the long history and extensive PCR library of the International EPD® System were taken into account in this testing and revision of the draft methodology..
Following the pilot phase, the transition phase runs 2018-2021, where five more PEFCR documents will be developed, for another five product categories. Also, the European Commission will take stakeholder feedback on what European policies may benefit from the work done until now. During the transition phase, the International EPD® System will provide input when possible to contribute to harmonization and to help broaden the use of environmental declarations on an international market. To prepare for any upcoming policies, companies could start assessing the life cycle environmental impact of their products, and EPD serve as a tool to communicate the results.
For harmonization between PEF with existing developments for construction products, the EN 15804 standard was revised in 2019 – the new version is more aligned with, but does not fully comply with, PEF. Where there are potential synergies between existing PCRs and the finalized PEFCRs, the PCR moderators and PCR committees are encouraged to contact the Secretariat to discuss the next steps.
For further questions, please contact the Secretariat via email@example.com.
More information about PEF is also available on the European Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/index.htm.
Incorporating data from EPDs into software platforms is currently ongoing discussion internationally.
For EPDs compliant with EN 15804, the International EPD® system allows the publication of a machine-readable LCA dataset in parallel to the EPD.
If an EPD owner wishes, the International EPD® system allow the publication of a machine-readable LCI dataset in parallel to the EPD. Such data sets are available on the individual EPD page and may be produced in multiple of the available formats currently available on the market. For machine-readable LCA datasets, the International EPD® system recommends following the format solutions that are compatible with the International EPD® system data hub and formats following developments from the InData working group.
Questions or suggestions on how the International EPD® system may enable or facilitate the use of EPDs may be sent to the Secretariat.
To publish a type III environmental declaration, it must be administered in the scope of a programme operator operating in accordance with ISO 14025:
Type III environmental declarations are subject to the administration of a programme operator, such as a company or a group of companies, industrial sector or trade association, public authorities or agencies, or an independent scientific body or other organisation.]
The tasks of a programme operator, as described in detail in ISO 14025, are many and require constant maintenance.
A programme operator may be started by any organisation, but choosing an existing programme gives the credibility of a third party and of recognition of an existing brand such as The International EPD® System.
The International EPD® System offers many opportunities for LCA and sustainability consultants. They may assist companies or trade associations in preparing the LCA study underlying an EPD as well as creating the EPD document based on the LCA study. If there is not a PCR document available, a consultant may assist by taking on the coordinating role of PCR Moderator.
For experts with review experience, there is also the possibility to apply to become a recognized individual verifier in the programme. Verifiers work independently in seeking out assignments and get listed on this page: http://environdec.com/en/Creating-EPDs/List-of-verifiers/
As a service to companies and consultancies to find each other, the International EPD System offers a list of LCA consultants on this page: http://environdec.com/en/Creating-EPDs/List-of-LCA-consultants/ Please note that the listing shall not be misidentified as an endorsement or recommendation of these consultancies by the International EPD® System over other consultancy companies nor the use of in-house experts.
The EPD International Secretariat is available to support LCA practitioners with data and descriptions of the EPD and PCR processes, EPD applications and their benefits upon request.
Different stakeholders currently refer to slightly different things when referring to the use of "EPD tools". The International EPD® System has several options for cost-effective EPDs:
The International EPD® System does not currently offer any way to create a fully automated EPD tool, from which the output may be published directly as an EPD. The reason is that such an approach would not have any verification in the way the tool has been used nor on the data input to the tool.
A company is very welcome to create and use an internal or external tool to use in carrying out an LCA. Such a tool needs no approval from the programme to be used, and the results and the EPDs based on the results are verified in the same way as though the calculations had been done in dedicated LCA software (SimaPro, GaBi, etc.).
The International EPD® System also offers these possibilities that are similar to what is referred to as "EPD tools" by some stakeholders:
A company may use an internal LCA tool as part of its EPD Process Certification. When using a tool together with a certified process or routines for making an EPD, this replaces external verification of each EPD.
An industry association may develop a pre-verified EPD tool to be used by its members. Such a tool would simplify LCA calculations as the tool would be verified to produce correct results based on a correct input. The resulting EPD would, however, still need to be verified.
Please contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in accordance with the relevant Product Category Rules (PCR) is one of the largest tasks in the process to create an EPD. If such expertise is not available in-house, a consultant is often employed to assist and work with the company to collect the relevant data, model the product life cycle and calculate the results.
In its role as the programme operator according to ISO 14025, the Secretariat does not recommend any specific company or person for you to perform the Life Cycle Assessment.
As a service to companies and consultancies to more easily find each other, we have prepared a list of potential consultancies to consider here: http://environdec.com/en/Creating-EPDs/List-of-LCA-consultants/
In order to find the most suitable LCA practitioner for a specific project, it is recommended that companies ask for tenders from several potential candidates.
It is recommended to at least assess one plant (maximum two) per year, assuring to cover all the product categories within the scope during the validation period of the process certification. The audit is preferably performed on-site but not required. It is also important to consider management system audits from other certification bodies that were performed on the plant during the specific year (i.e. ISO 14001, ISO 9001 or ISO 50001).
The EPD process certification shall be applied for organizations that classify as EPD owner.
It is required to perform at least one sample check per year per product category within the scope of process certification; in case several manufacturing plants are involved for every product category, the suggestion is to sample every year a different plant.
The recent focus on EPDs for construction products in Europe has led to the problem of defining the scope of what constitutes a "construction product". This poses a problem for PCR and EPD product categories as the UN CPC classification is material-centric instead of focusing on the sector in which the product is used.
As the standard EN 15804 provides limited guidance on this definition, the best reference is the European construction product regulation that states:
"construction product’ means any product or kit which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of the construction works with respect to the basic requirements for construction works"
Non-permanent products in construction works or products that do not have any effect on the performance of the construction work are thus not included in the definition.
There is no exhaustive list of what products are covered by this definition. All products that are covered by a harmonized standard according to the construction product regulation (or the earlier construction product directive) are, however, considered as construction products: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/construction/product-regulation/harmonised-standards_en
As it is unwise for different interpretations to exist of what constitutes a construction product, the International EPD System is expecting guidance to be made available via the ECO Platform or the CEN/TC 350 working group, who are responsible for the standard EN 15804.
For EPDs of construction products compliant with the EN 15804:A1 standard, the characterisation factors listed in Annex A shall be used. They are based on CML –IA version 4.1, dated October 2012 and uses the unit kg ethene equivalents.
For EPDs of other product categories, the latest rules are to use POFP, LOTOS-EUROS as applied in ReCiPe 2008, with the unit kg NMVOC equivalents. For comparability with older EPDs, it may be relevant to also include an indicator using the CML method with unit kg ethene equivalents.
EPD International AB, a limited company in Sweden, is the programme operator of a programme for type III environmental declarations (“EPD”) called the International EPD® System. The website of the programme is www.environdec.com.