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Document 32013H0179

2013/179/EU: Commission Recommendation of 9 April 2013 on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations Text with EEA relevance

OJ L 124, 4.5.2013, p. 1–210 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/reco/2013/179/oj

4.5.2013   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 124/1


COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION

of 9 April 2013

on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations

(Text with EEA relevance)

(2013/179/EU)

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 191 and Article 292 thereof,

Whereas:

(1)

Reliable and correct measurement and information on the environmental performance of products and organisations is an essential element in the environmental decision-making of a wide range of actors.

(2)

The current proliferation of different methods and initiatives to assess and communicate environmental performance is leading to confusion and mistrust in environmental performance information. It also may lead to additional costs for business if they are requested to measure the environmental performance of the product or the organisation based on different methods by public authorities, business partners, private initiatives and investors. Such costs reduce the opportunities for cross-border trading of green products. There is a risk that these failures on the market of green products will continue to deepen (1).

(3)

The Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on "Integrated Product Policy - Building on Environmental Life-Cycle Thinking" (2) recognised the importance of addressing environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of a product in an integrated way.

(4)

The Conclusions of the Council on "Sustainable materials management and sustainable production and consumption" of 20 December 2010 (3) invited the Commission to develop a common methodology on the quantitative assessment of the environmental impacts of products, throughout their life cycle, in order to support the assessment and labelling of products.

(5)

The Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions "Towards a Single Market Act - For a highly competitive social market economy. 50 proposals for improving our work, business and exchanges with one another" (4) outlined that possibilities would be explored for establishing a common European methodology to assess and label products, to address the issue of their environmental impact, including carbon emissions. The need for such an initiative was re-iterated in the two follow-up Single Market Acts (5).

(6)

The Communication on “A European Consumer Agenda - Boosting confidence and growth” stressed that consumers have the right to know the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of the products they intend to buy and they should be supported in easily identifying the truly sustainable choice. It stated that the Commission will develop harmonised methodologies to assess the life cycle environmental performance of products and companies as a basis for providing reliable information to consumers.

(7)

The Communication on "A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery - Industrial Policy Communication Update" (6) mentioned that the Commission is studying the best possible ways to integrate green products and services in the Internal Market, including environmental footprinting.

(8)

In the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions "Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe" (7), the European Commission pledged to establish a common methodological approach to enable Member States and the private sector to assess, display and benchmark the environmental performance of products, services and companies based on a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts over the life cycle (‧environmental footprint‧).

(9)

The same document invited Member States to put in place incentives that stimulate a large majority of companies to measure, benchmark and improve their resource efficiency systematically.

(10)

As a response to these policy needs, the Product Environmental Footprint and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods were developed by the Commission on the basis of existing, widely recognised methods. The Communication "Building the Single Market for Green Products" outlines a framework for developing them further and for refining the methodologies with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders (including industry, and particularly SMEs) through testing. The testing will also explore possible solutions for practical challenges such access to, and quality of, life cycle data, or cost-effective verification methods.

(11)

The final objective of the initiative is to overcome the fragmentation of the internal market as regards different available methods for measuring environmental performance. The Commission considers that for mandatory application further developments are necessary in order to minimise administrative burdens. As with any new method upfront costs can be expected, the Commission therefore recommends that those businesses that decide to apply the methodology on a voluntary basis, should do so after careful assessment of the impact on their competitiveness and equally Member States using the methodology should assess costs and benefits on SME's.

(12)

The Commission is working on developing sector and product category tailored approaches in line with the requirements of the environmental footprint methods, taking into account the need to address the special characteristics of complex products, flexible supply chains and dynamic markets.

(13)

By recommending the use of the environmental footprint methods to Member States, private companies and associations, operators of schemes related to the measurement or communication of environmental performance and the financial community, the current proliferation of methods and labels is expected to be reduced, benefiting both providers and users of environmental performance information. For clarification purposes, potential fields of application are listed in Annex I to this Recommendation.

(14)

The Commission notes that while this initiative focuses on environmental impacts, in the global context also other performance indicators, such as economic and social impacts, as well as labour practice concerns play increasingly important roles, and have also trade-offs. The Commission will follow closely these developments and other international methodologies (such as the Global Reporting Initiative/Sustainability Reporting Guidance).

(15)

Most SMEs lack the expertise and resources to address the requests for life cycle environmental performance information. Therefore, support to SMEs should be provided by Member States and industrial associations.

(16)

Complementary to the pilot phase supporting tools will be developed (such as quality criteria for LCA databases, data management systems, scientific arbitration, compliance and verification systems, coordination authorities) at European Union and Member States levels so as to contribute to the achievement of the policy objectives. The Commission, aware of the global market, and will keep international organisations informed about this voluntary initiative.

HAS ADOPTED THIS RECOMMENDATION:

1.   PURPOSE AND SCOPE

1.1.

This Recommendation promotes the use of the environmental footprint methods in relevant policies and schemes related to the measurement or communication of the life cycle environmental performance of products or organisations.

1.2.

This Recommendation is addressed to Member States, and to private and public organisations that measure or intend to measure the life cycle environmental performance of their products, services or their organisation, or communicate or intend to communicate life cycle environmental performance information to any private, public and civil society stakeholder in the Single Market.

1.3.

This Recommendation does not apply to the implementation of EU mandatory legislation that foresees a specific methodology for the calculation of the life cycle environmental performance of products.

2.   DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this Recommendation, the following definitions apply:

(a)   Product Environmental Footprint (hereinafter PEF) method: general method to measure and communicate the potential life cycle environmental impact of a product as laid down in Annex II.

(b)   Organisation Environmental Footprint (hereinafter OEF) method: general method to measure and communicate the potential life cycle environmental impact of an organisation as laid down in Annex III.

(c)   Product Environmental Footprint: result of a Product Environmental Footprint study based on the Product Environmental Footprint method.

(d)   Organisation Environmental Footprint: result of an Organisation Environmental Footprint study based on the Organisation Environmental Footprint method.

(e)   Life cycle environmental performance: quantified measurement of the potential environmental performance taking all relevant life cycle stages of a product or organisation into account, from a supply chain perspective.

(f)   Communication of life cycle environmental performance: any disclosure of life cycle environmental performance information, including to business partners, investors, public bodies or consumers.

(g)   Organisation: a company, corporation, firm, enterprise, authority or institution, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administrations.

(h)   Scheme: for-profit or not-for-profit initiative taken by private companies or an association thereof, by a public-private partnership or by non-governmental organisations that requires the measurement or communication of life cycle environmental performance.

(i)   Industrial association: organisation representing private companies that are members of the organisation or private companies belonging to a sector at local, regional national or international level.

(j)   Financial community: all actors providing financial services (including financial advice), including banks, investors and insurance companies.

(k)   Life cycle data: life cycle information of a specified product, organisation or other reference. It covers descriptive metadata and quantitative life cycle inventory as well as life cycle impact assessment data.

(l)   Life cycle inventory data: quantified inputs and outputs for a product or organisation throughout its life cycle, either specific (directly measured or collected) or generic (not directly measured or collected, average) data.

3.   USE OF THE PEF AND OEF METHODS IN MEMBER STATES' POLICIES

Member States should:

3.1.

Use the PEF method or the OEF method in voluntary policies involving the measurement or communication of the life cycle environmental performance of products or organisations, as appropriate while ensuring that such policies do not create obstacles to the free movement of goods in the Single Market

3.2.

Consider life cycle environmental performance information or claims based on the use of the PEF method or the OEF method as valid in relevant national schemes involving the measurement or communication of the life cycle environmental performance of products or organisations.

3.3.

Make efforts to increase the availability of high quality life cycle data by setting up actions to develop, review and make available national databases and contributing to populating existing public databases, based on the data quality requirements set up in the PEF and OEF methods.

3.4.

Provide assistance and tools for SMEs to help them measure and improve the life cycle environmental performance of their products or organisation based on the PEF or the OEF method.

3.5.

Encourage the use of the OEF method for measuring or communicating the life cycle environmental performance of public organisations.

4.   USE OF THE PEF AND OEF METHODS BY COMPANIES AND OTHER PRIVATE ORGANISATIONS

Companies and other private organisations deciding to measure or communicate the life cycle environmental performance of their products or organisation should:

4.1.

Use the PEF method and the OEF method for the measurement or communication of the life cycle environmental performance of their products or organisation.

4.2.

Contribute to the review of public databases and populate these with high quality life cycle data at least equivalent to the data quality requirements set up in the PEF or OEF methods.

4.3.

Consider providing support to SMEs in their supply chains to provide information based on PEF and OEF and to improve their organisations’ and their products’ life cycle environmental performance.

Industrial associations should:

4.4.

Promote the use of the PEF method and the OEF method among their membership.

4.5.

Contribute to the review of public databases and populate these with high quality life cycle data at least equivalent to the data quality requirements set up in the PEF or OEF methods.

4.6.

Provide simplified calculation tools and expertise to help SME members calculate the life cycle environmental performance of their products or organisation based on the PEF method or the OEF method.

5.   USE OF THE PEF AND OEF METHODS IN SCHEMES RELATED TO THE MEASUREMENT OR COMMUNICATION OF LIFE CYCLE ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

Schemes related to the measurement or communication of life cycle environmental performance should:

5.1.

Use the PEF method and the OEF method as a reference method for the measurement or communication of the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations.

6.   USE OF THE PEF AND OEF METHODS BY THE FINANCIAL COMMUNITY

Members of the financial community should, if appropriate:

6.1.

Promote the use of life cycle environmental performance information calculated on the basis of the PEF method or the OEF method in the assessment of financial risk related to life cycle environmental performance.

6.2.

Promote the use of information based on OEF studies in their assessment of performance levels for the environmental component of sustainability indices.

7.   VERIFICATION

7.1.

If PEF and OEF studies are to be used for communication purposes, the studies should be verified according to the review requirements of the PEF and OEF methods.

7.2.

The verification should be based on the following guiding principles:

(a)

a high degree of credibility for the measurement and communication;

(b)

proportionality of the cost and benefit of the verification to the intended use of PEF and OEF results;

(c)

verifiability of the life cycle data as well as the traceability of products and organisations.

8.   REPORTING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATION

8.1.

Member States are invited to inform the Commission of actions taken in light of this Recommendation on a yearly basis. The first provision of information should be transmitted one year after the adoption of this Recommendation. Information transmitted should include:

(a)

How the PEF method and the OEF method are used in policy initiative(s);

(b)

number of products and organisations covered by the initiative;

(c)

incentives related to life cycle environmental performance;

(d)

initiatives related to the development of high quality life cycle data;

(e)

assistance provided to SMEs in the provision of life cycle environmental information and in improving their life cycle environmental performance;

(f)

eventual problems or bottlenecks identified with the use of the methods.

Done at Brussels, 9 April 2013.

For the Commission

Janez POTOČNIK

Member of the Commission


(1)  Impact Assessment accompanying the document Communication from the Commission on Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better and credible information on the environmental performance of products and organisations (SWD(2013) 111 final).

(2)  COM(2003) 302 final.

(3)   3 061st ENVIRONMENT Council meeting, Brussels, 20 December 2010.

(4)  COM(2010) 608 final/2.

(5)  COM(2011) 206 final Single Market Act - Twelve levers to boost growth and strengthen confidence. "Working together to create new growth" and COM(2012) 573 final Single Market Act II - Together for new growth.

(6)  COM(2012) 582 final.

(7)  COM(2011) 571 final.


ANNEX I

POTENTIAL FIELDS OF APPLICATION OF PEF AND OEF METHODS AND RESULTS

Potential fields of application for the PEF method and PEF results:

optimisation of processes along the life cycle of a product;

support of product design minimising environmental impacts along the life cycle;

communication of life cycle environmental performance information on products (e.g. through documentation accompanying the product, websites and apps) by individual companies or through voluntary schemes;

schemes related to environmental claims, in particular ensuring sufficient robustness and completeness of claims;

reputational schemes giving visibility to products that calculate their life cycle environmental performance;

identification of significant environmental impacts in view of setting criteria for ecolabels;

providing incentives based on life cycle environmental performance, as appropriate.

Potential fields of application for the OEF method and OEF results:

optimisation of processes along the whole supply chain of an organisation’s product portfolio;

communication of life cycle environmental performance to interested parties (e.g. through Annual Reports, in sustainability reporting, as a response to investor or stakeholder questionnaires);

reputational schemes giving visibility to organisations calculating their life cycle environmental performance, or to organisations improving their life cycle environmental performance over time (e.g. year on year);

schemes requiring reporting on life cycle environmental performance;

as a means to provide information on life cycle environmental performance and the reaching of objectives in the framework of an environmental management system;

providing incentives based on improvement of life cycle environmental performance as calculated based on the OEF method, as appropriate.


ANNEX II

PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT (PEF) GUIDE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 9
Context 9
Objectives and target audience 9
Process and Results 9
Relationship to the Organisation Environmental Footprint Guide 10
Terminology: shall, should and may 10

1.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT (PEF) STUDIES 11

1.1

Approach and examples for potential applications 11

1.2

How to Use this Guide 13

1.3

Principles for Product Environmental Footprint Studies 13

1.4

Phases of a Product Environmental Footprint study 14

2.

ROLE OF PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT CATEGORY RULES (PEFCRs) 15

2.1

General 15

2.2

Role of PEFCRs and relation with existing Product Category Rules (PCRs) 16

2.3

PEFCR structure based on the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) 17

3.

DEFINING THE GOAL(S) OF THE PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT STUDY 18

3.1

General 18

4.

DEFINING THE SCOPE OF THE PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT STUDY 19

4.1

General 19

4.2

Unit of analysis and reference flow 19

4.3

System boundaries for Product Environmental Footprint Studies 20

4.4

Selecting Environmental Footprint Impact Categories and Assessment Methods 21

4.5

Selecting additional environmental information to be included in the PEF 23

4.6

Assumptions/limitations 25

5.

COMPILING AND RECORDING THE RESOURCE USE AND EMISSIONS PROFILE 25

5.1

General 25

5.2

Screening step (recommended) 26

5.3

Data management plan (optional) 26

5.4

Resource Use and Emissions Profile Data 27

5.4.1

Raw Material Acquisition and Pre-processing (Cradle-to-Gate) 27

5.4.2

Capital goods 28

5.4.3

Production 28

5.4.4

Product Distribution and Storage 28

5.4.5

Use stage 28

5.4.6

Modelling logistics for the analysed product 29

5.4.7

End-of-Life 30

5.4.8

Accounting for Electricity Use (including Use of Renewable Energy) 31

5.4.9

Additional considerations for compiling the resource use and emissions profile 31

5.5

Nomenclature for the Resource Use and Emissions Profile 32

5.6

Data quality requirements 33

5.7

Specific data collection 41

5.8

Generic data collection 42

5.9

Dealing with remaining unit process data gaps/missing data 43

5.10

Handling multi-functional processes 43

5.11

Data gathering related to the next methodological phases in a PEF study 46

6.

ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT IMPACT ASSESSMENT 47

6.1

Classification and Characterisation (mandatory) 47

6.1.1

Classification of Product Environmental Footprint Flows 48

6.1.2

Characterisation of Environmental Footprint Flows 48

6.2

Normalisation and Weighting (recommended/optional) 49

6.2.1

Normalisation of Environmental Footprint Impact Assessment Results (recommended) 49

6.2.2

Weighting of Environmental Footprint Impact Assessment Results (optional) 49

7.

INTERPRETATION OF PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT RESULTS 50

7.1

General 50

7.2

Assessment of the robustness of the Product Environmental Footprint model 50

7.3

Identification of Hotspots 51

7.4

Estimation of Uncertainty 51

7.5

Conclusions, Recommendations and Limitations 52

8.

PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT REPORTS 52

8.1

General 52

8.2

Reporting elements 52

8.2.1

First element: Summary 52

8.2.2

Second element: Main Report 52

8.2.3

Third element: Annex 54

8.2.4

Fourth element: Confidential Report 54

9.

PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT CRITICAL REVIEW 54

9.1

General 54

9.2

Review Type 55

9.3

Reviewer Qualification 55

10.

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 56

11.

GLOSSARY 57

12.

REFERENCES 62

Annex I:

Summary of Key Mandatory Requirements for Product Environmental Footprint and for Developing Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules 65

Annex II:

Data Management Plan (adapted from GHG Protocol Initiative) 76

Annex III:

Data collection checklist 77

Annex IV:

Identifying Appropriate Nomenclature and Properties for Specific Flows 81

Annex V:

Dealing with Multi-functionality in Recycling Situations 84

Annex VI:

Guidance on accounting for Direct Land Use Change emissions relevant for climate change 86

Annex VII:

Example of PEFCRs for intermediate paper products - Data Quality Requirements 88

Annex VIII:

Mapping of terminology used in this PEF Guide with ISO terminology 89

Annex IX:

PEF Guide and ILCD Handbook: major deviations 90

Annex X:

Comparison of the key requirements of the PEF Guide with other methods 91

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a multi-criteria measure of the environmental performance of a good or service throughout its life cycle. PEF information is produced for the overarching purpose of seeking to reduce the environmental impacts of goods and services taking into account supply chain (1) activities (from extraction of raw materials, through production and use, to final waste management). This PEF Guide provides a method for modelling the environmental impacts of the flows of material/energy and the emissions and waste streams associated with a product throughout its life cycle.

This document provides guidance on how to calculate a PEF, as well as how to develop product category-specific methodological requirements for use in Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs). PEFs are complimentary to other instruments focused on specific sites and thresholds.

Context

This PEF Guide has been developed in the context of one of the building blocks of the Flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy – “A Resource-Efficient Europe”  (2). The European Commission's “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”  (3) proposes ways to increase resource productivity and to decouple economic growth from both resource use and environmental impacts, taking a life-cycle perspective. One of its objectives is to: “Establish a common methodological approach to enable Member States and the private sector to assess, display and benchmark the environmental performance of products, services and companies based on a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts over the life-cycle (‧environmental footprint‧)”. The European Council invited the Commission to develop supporting methodologies.

Thus, the Product and Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) project was initiated with the aim of developing a harmonised European methodology for Environmental Footprint (EF) studies that can accommodate a broader suite of relevant environmental performance criteria using a life-cycle approach (4). A life-cycle approach refers to taking into consideration the spectrum of resource flows and environmental interventions associated with a product or organisation from a supply chain perspective. It includes all stages from raw material acquisition through processing, distribution, use, and end-of-life processes, and all relevant related environmental impacts, health effects, resource-related threats and burdens to society. This approach is also essential for exposing any potential trade-offs between different types of environmental impacts associated with specific policy and management decisions. It thus helps to avoid unintended shifting of burdens.

Objectives and target audience

This document aims to provide detailed and comprehensive technical guidance on how to conduct a PEF study. PEF studies may be used for a variety of purposes, including in-house management and participation in voluntary or mandatory programmes. It is primarily aimed at technical experts who need to develop a PEF study, for example engineers and environmental managers in companies and other institutions. No expertise in environmental assessment methods is needed to use this Guide for conducting a PEF study.

This PEF Guide is not intended to directly support comparisons or comparative assertions (i.e. claims of overall superiority or equivalence of the environmental performance of one product compared to another (based on ISO 14040:2006)). Such comparisons require the development of additional PEFCRs that would complement the more general guidance given here, in order to further increase methodological harmonisation, specificity, relevance and reproducibility for a given product-type. PEFCRs will furthermore facilitate the focusing of attention on the most important parameters, thus also reducing the time, efforts, and costs involved in completing a PEF study. In addition to providing general guidance and defining the requirements for PEF studies, this document also specifies the requirements for the development of PEFCRs.

Process and Results

Each requirement specified in this PEF Guide has been chosen taking into consideration the recommendations of similar, widely recognised environmental accounting methods and guidance documents. Specifically, the methodology guides considered were: ISO standards (5) (in particular: ISO 14044(2006), Draft ISO/DIS 14067(2012); ISO 14025(2006), ISO 14020(2000)), the ILCD (International Reference Life Cycle Data System) Handbook (6); the Ecological Footprint Standards (7); the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (8) (WRI/ WBCSD); the general principles for an environmental communication on mass market products BPX 30-323-0 (ADEME) (9); and the specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services (PAS 2050, 2011) (10).

The outcome of this analysis is summarised in Annex X. A more detailed description can be found in “Analysis of Existing Environmental Footprint Methodologies for Products and Organizations: Recommendations, Rationale, and Alignment” (EC-JRC-IES 2011b) (11). Whereas existing methods may provide several alternatives for a given methodological decision point, the intention of this PEF Guide is (wherever feasible) to identify a single requirement for each decision point, or to provide additional guidance that will support more consistent, robust and reproducible PEF studies. Thus, comparability is given priority over flexibility.

As elaborated before, PEFCRs are a necessary extension of and complement to the more general guidance for PEF studies provided in this document (i.e. in terms of comparability between different PEF studies). As they are developed, PEFCRs will play an important role in increasing the reproducibility, quality, consistency, and relevance of PEF studies.

Relationship to the Organisation Environmental Footprint Guide

Both the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) and the PEF provide a life-cycle approach to quantifying environmental performance. Whereas the PEF method is specific to individual goods or services, the OEF method applies to organisational activities as a whole – in other words, to all activities associated with the goods and/or services the organisation provides from a supply chain perspective (from extraction of raw materials, through use, to final waste management options). Organisation and Product Environmental Footprinting can therefore be viewed as complementary activities, each undertaken in support of specific applications.

Calculating the OEF does not require multiple product analyses. Rather, the OEF is calculated using aggregate data representing the flows of resources and waste that cross a defined organisational boundary. Once the OEF is calculated, however, it may be disaggregated to the product level using appropriate allocation keys. In theory, the sum of the PEFs of the products provided by an organisation over a certain reporting interval (e.g. 1 year) should be close to its OEF for the same reporting interval (12). The methodologies in this PEF Guide have been purposefully developed towards this end. Moreover, the OEF can help to identify areas of the organisation’s product portfolio where environmental impacts are most significant and, hence, where detailed, individual product-level analyses may be required.

Terminology: shall, should and may

This PEF Guide uses precise terminology to indicate the requirements, the recommendations and options that companies may choose.

The term “shall” is used to indicate what is required in order for a PEF study to be in conformance with this Guide.

The term “should” is used to indicate a recommendation rather than a requirement. Any deviation from a “should” requirement has to be justified by the conductor of the study and made transparent.

The term “may” is used to indicate an option that is permissible.

1.   GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT (PEF) STUDIES

1.1   Approach and examples for potential applications

The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a multi-criteria measure of the environmental performance of a good or service throughout its life cycle (13). PEF information is produced for the overarching purpose of helping to reduce the environmental impacts of goods and services.

This document provides guidance on how to calculate a PEF, as well as how to create product category-specific methodological requirements for use in Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs). PEFCRs are a necessary extension of and complement to the general guidance for PEF studies. As they are developed, PEFCRs will play an important role in increasing the reproducibility, consistency, and relevance of PEF studies. PEFCRs help focus on the most important parameters, thus also possibly reducing the time, efforts, and costs involved in conducting a PEF study.

Based on a life-cycle approach (14), the PEF Guide provides a method for modelling the environmental impacts of the flows of material/energy and resulting emissions and waste (15) streams associated with a product (16) from a supply chain (17) perspective (from extraction of raw materials (18), through use, to final waste management). A life cycle approach refers to taking into consideration the spectrum of resource flows and environmental interventions associated with a product or organisation from a supply chain perspective. It includes all stages from raw material acquisition through processing, distribution, use, and end-of-life processes, and all relevant related environmental impacts, health effects, resource-related threats and burdens to society.

It is primarily aimed at technical experts who need to develop a PEF study, for example engineers and environmental managers. No expertise in environmental assessment methods is necessary in order to use this Guide to develop a PEF study.

The PEF method is based on the life-cycle approach. The life-cycle approach to environmental management, and Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) in general, takes into consideration all relevant environmental interactions associated with a good, service, activity, or entity from a supply chain perspective. This is in contrast to focusing on site-level impacts only or on single environmental impacts in order to reduce the possibility of unintended burden shifting; shifting of the environmental impact burden from one stage in a supply chain to another, from one impact category to another, between impacts and resource efficiency, and/or between countries.

In order to develop a model that provides a realistic representation of these physical flows and impacts, modelling parameters need to be defined, insofar as possible, based on clear physical terms and relationships.

Each requirement specified in this PEF Guide has been chosen taking into consideration the recommendations of similar, widely recognised product environmental accounting methods and guidance documents. Specifically, the methodology guides considered were:

ISO standards (19), in particular: ISO 14044(2006), Draft ISO/DIS 14067(2012); ISO 14025(2006), ISO 14020(2000);

ILCD (International Reference Life Cycle Data System) Handbook (20);

Ecological Footprint (21);

Greenhouse Gas Protocol (22) (WRI/WBCSD);

General principles for an environmental communication on mass market products BPX 30-323-0 (ADEME) (23);

Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services (PAS 2050, 2011) (24).

Annex X provides an overview of some key selected requirements contained in this PEF Guide compared to the requirements/specifications contained in the abovementioned methodology guides. A more detailed description of the analysed methods and of the outcome of the analysis can be found in “Analysis of Existing Environmental Footprint Methodologies for Products and Organizations: Recommendations, Rationale, and Alignment”  (25). Whereas existing methods may provide several alternatives for a given methodological decision point, the intention of this PEF Guide is (wherever feasible) to identify a single requirement for each decision point, or to provide additional guidance, in order to support more consistent, robust and reproducible PEF studies.

Potential applications of PEF studies may be grouped depending on in-house or external objectives:

In-house applications may include support to environmental management, identification of environmental hotspots, and environmental performance improvement and tracking, and may implicitly include cost-saving opportunities;

External applications (e.g. Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumers (B2C)) cover a wide range of possibilities, from responding to customer and consumer demands, to marketing, benchmarking, environmental labelling, supporting eco-design throughout supply chains, green procurement and responding to the requirements of environmental policies at European or Member State level;

Benchmarking could for example include defining an average performing product (based on data provided by stakeholders or on generic data or approximations) followed by a grading of other products according to their performance versus the benchmark.

Table 1 provides an overview of the intended applications of PEF studies in relation to the key requirements for conducting PEF studies according to this PEF Guide

Table 1

Key requirements for PEF studies in relation to the intended application

Intended applications

Goal & Scope definition

Screening exercise

Meet data quality requirements

Multifunctionality hierarchy

Choice of impact assessment methods

Classification & Characterisation

Normalisation

Weighting

Interpretation of PEF results

Reporting element requirements

Critical review (1 person)

Critical review panel (3 persons)

Requires PEFCR

In-house

(claiming to be in line with the PEF Guide)

M

R

R

M

M

M

R

O

M

O

M

O

O

External

B2B/B2C without comparisons/comparative assertions

M

R

M

M

M

M

R

O

M

M

M

R

R

B2B/B2C with comparisons/comparative assertions

M

R

M

M

M

M

R

O

M

M

/

M

M

“M”

=

mandatory;

“R”

=

recommended (not mandatory);

“O”

=

optional (not mandatory);

“/”

=

not applicable

Requirement for PEF studies

A PEF study shall be based on a life-cycle approach.

1.2   How to Use this Guide

This Guide provides the information necessary to conduct a PEF study. The material in the PEF Guide is presented in a sequential manner, in the order of the methodological phases that shall be completed when calculating a PEF. Each section begins with a general description of the methodological phase, along with an overview of necessary considerations and supporting examples. “Requirements” specify the methodological norms that “shall/should” be satisfied in order to achieve a PEF-compliant study. These are positioned in text boxes with single line borders following the general description sections. “Tips” describe non-mandatory but recommended best practices. These are positioned in shaded text boxes, also with solid line borders. Where additional requirements for creating PEFCRs are specified, these are positioned in text boxes with double line borders at the end of each respective section.

1.3   Principles for Product Environmental Footprint Studies

To produce consistent, robust and reproducible PEF studies, a core suite of analytical principles shall be strictly adhered to. These principles provide overarching guidance in the application of the PEF method. They shall be considered with respect to each phase of PEF studies, from the definition of study goals and the scope of the research, through data collection, impact assessment, reporting and verification of study outcomes.

Requirement for PEF studies

Users of this Guide shall observe the following principles in conducting a PEF study:

(1)

Relevance

All methods used and data collected for the purpose of quantifying the PEF shall be as relevant to the study as possible.

(2)

Completeness

Quantification of the PEF shall include all environmentally relevant material/energy flows and other environmental interventions as required for adherence to the defined system boundaries (26), the data requirements, and the impact assessment methods employed.

(3)

Consistency

Strict conformity to this Guide shall be observed in all steps of the PEF study so as to ensure internal consistency and comparability with similar analyses.

(4)

Accuracy

All reasonable efforts shall be taken to reduce uncertainties in product system (27) modelling and the reporting of results.

(5)

Transparency

PEF information shall be disclosed in such a way as to provide intended users with the necessary basis for decision making, and for stakeholders to assess its robustness and reliability.

Principles for PEFCR

1.   Relationship with the PEF Guide

In addition to the requirements of this PEF Guide, the methodological requirements set out in PEFCR shall also apply to PEF studies. Where the requirements of the PEFCR are more specific than those of the PEF Guide, such specific requirements shall be fulfilled.

2.   Involvement of selected interested parties

The process of developing PEFCRs shall be open and transparent and shall include consultation with relevant stakeholders’ parties. Reasonable efforts should be made to achieve a consensus throughout the process (adapted from ISO 14020:2000, 4.9.1, Principle 8). The PEFCRs shall be peer reviewed.

3.   Striving for comparability

The results of PEF studies that have been conducted in line with this PEF Guide and the relevant PEFCR document may be used to support the comparison of the environmental performance of products from the same product category on a life-cycle basis, as well as to support comparative assertions (28) (intended to be disclosed to the public). Therefore, comparability of the results is crucial. The information provided for this comparison shall be transparent in order to allow the user to understand the limitations of comparability inherent in the calculated result (adapted from ISO 14025).

1.4   Phases of a Product Environmental Footprint study

A number of phases shall be completed in carrying out a PEF study in line with this Guide - i.e. Goal Definition, Scope Definition, Resource Use and Emissions Profile, Environmental Footprint Impact Assessment, and Environmental Footprint Interpretation and Reporting – see Figure 1.

Figure 1

Phases of a Product Environmental Footprint study

Image 1

Environmental Footprint Review

Define goals of Product Environmental Footprint study

Define scope of Product Environmental Footprint study

Create the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Conduct the Environmental Footprint Impact Assessment

Environmental Footprint Interpretation and Reporting

2.   ROLE OF PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT CATEGORY RULES (PEFCRS)

2.1   General

In addition to providing general guidance and requirements for PEF studies, this PEF Guide also specifies the requirements for developing PEFCRs. PEFCRs will play an important role in increasing the reproducibility, consistency (and therefore comparability between PEF calculations within the same product category (29) level), and relevance of PEF studies. PEFCRs will help direct the focus to the most important parameters of the PEF study, thus also reducing time, efforts and costs.

The objective is to ensure that PEFCRs are developed according to the PEF Guide and that they provide the specifications needed to achieve the comparability, increased reproducibility, consistency, relevance, focus and efficiency of PEF studies. PEFCRs should aim to focus PEF studies on those aspects and parameters which are most pertinent in determining the environmental performance of a given product type. A PEFCR can further specify requirements made in this PEF Guide and can add new requirements where the PEF Guide leaves several choices.

PEF studies may be carried out in the absence of PEFCRs if they are not intended for use in making comparative assertions intended to be disclosed to the public.

Requirement for PEF studies

In absence of PEFCRs, the key areas that would be covered in PEFCRs (as listed in this PEF Guide) shall be specified, justified and explicitly reported in the PEF study.

2.2   Role of PEFCRs and relation with existing Product Category Rules (PCRs)

PEFCRs aim to provide detailed technical guidance on how to conduct a PEF study for a specific product category. PEFCRs shall provide further specification at the process and/or product level. In particular, PEFCRs will typically provide further specification and guidance in e.g.:

Defining the goal and scope of the study;

Defining relevant/irrelevant impact categories;

Identifying appropriate system boundaries for the analysis;

Identifying key parameters and life-cycle stages;

Providing guidance on possible data sources;

Completing the Resource Use and Emissions Profile phase;

Providing further specification on how to solve multi-functionality (30) problems.

All of these aspects are explored in this PEF Guide.

As defined in ISO 14025(2006), Product Category Rules (PCRs) (31) include sets of specific rules, guidelines and requirements that aim to develop “Type III environmental declarations” for any product category (i.e. goods and/or services providing equivalent functions). “Type III environmental declarations” are quantitative, LCA-based claims of the environmental aspects (32) of a certain good or service, e.g. quantitative information regarding potential environmental impacts.

For development and review of Product Category Rules (PCRs), ISO 14025(2006) describes the procedure and establishes requirements for comparability of different so-called “Type III environmental declarations”. Type III environmental declarations may, for instance, be a potential application of a PEF study.

The guidelines on how to develop PEFCRs are based on the minimum content of a PCR document as required by ISO 14025. Following ISO 14025 for PCRs this includes, but is not limited to:

Identification of the product category for which a PCR is to be developed, including a description of for example, the product’s function(s), technical performance and use(s);

Definition of the goal and scope for the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) (33) of the product, according to the requirement of the ISO 14040 series in terms of, for example, functional unit, system boundary, data quality requirements (34);

Description of the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analysis, with special focus on the data collection phase, calculation procedures, and allocation (35) rules;

Choice of the EF impact category indicators to be included in the LCA;

Description of any eventual predetermined parameter for the reporting of LCA data, for example, certain predetermined inventory data categories and/or EF impact category indicators;

If not all life-cycle stages are included in the LCA, information/justification on which stages are not covered;

Timespan of the validity of the PEFCR being developed.

If other PCRs are available from other schemes, these can be used as a basis for developing a PEFCR (36), in line with the requirements provided in this PEF Guide.

Requirement for developing PEFCRs

PEFCRs should, to the extent possible and recognising the different application contexts, be in conformity with existing international Product Category Rule (PCR) guidance documents.

2.3   PEFCR structure based on the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA)

The PEFCR document describes the type of information to be given about a product from a life-cycle perspective as well as how this information shall be generated. The Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) scheme (Figure 2) shall be used for coding and defining the information modules used to represent the product life cycle.

CPA product categories relate to activities as defined using NACE codes (i.e. by the Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community). Each CPA product is assigned to one single NACE activity, hence the CPA structure is parallel to that of NACE at all levels.

NACE consists of a hierarchical structure as follows (NACE Rev. 2 2008 (37), page 15):

1.

Headings identified by an alphabetical code (sections);

2.

Headings identified by a two-digit numerical code (divisions);

3.

Headings identified by a three-digit numerical code (groups);

4.

Headings identified by a four-digit numerical code (classes).

The International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) and NACE have the same code at the highest levels, but NACE is more detailed at the lower levels. As the NACE code in the context of this study applies to the sector level, at a minimum a 2-digit code (i.e. division level) shall be assigned (38). This complies with the ISIC system.

An example of such an approach for a PEFCR document is given below for “Milk and milk-based products.” Here, the two-digit code (divisions) defines an industry-specific product group (e.g. division 10 - Food products) which has a number of individual products coded under it (e.g. group 10.51.1 - Processed liquid milk and cream) (Figure 2). Thus, the two-digit code, and sometimes the one digit code, may be used to define industry-specific information modules which, when combined, build up specific product life cycles in a horizontal structure. Each of these also provides an embedded vertical structure going from a general product group to more specific individual products.

Figure 2

Outline of the principles of the CPA scheme

Image 2

A Products of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

0 Agriculture, forestry and fishing products

01 Products of agriculture, hunting and related services

01.4 Live animals and animal products

01.41 Dairy cattle, live and raw milk from dairy cattle

01.41.20 raw milk from dairy cattle

C Manufactured products

10 Food products

10.5 Dairy products

10.511 Processed liquid milk and cream

10.51.11 Processed liquid milk

Requirement for developing PEFCRs

PEFCRs shall be based at a minimum on a two-digit CPA code division (default option). However, PEFCRs may allow for (justified) deviations (e.g. allow for three-digits). For example, more than two-digits are necessary when addressing the complexity of the sector. Where multiple production routes for similar products are defined using alternative CPAs, the PEFCR shall accommodate all such CPAs.

3.   DEFINING THE GOAL(S) OF THE PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT STUDY

3.1   General

Goal definition is the first step of a PEF study, and sets the overall context for the study. The purpose of clearly defining goals is to ensure that the analytical aims, methods, results and intended applications are optimally aligned, and that a shared vision is in place to guide participants in the study. The decision to use the PEF Guide implies that some aspects of the goal definition will be decided a priori. Nonetheless, it is important to take the time to carefully consider and articulate goals in order to ensure the success of the PEF study.

In defining goals, it is important to identify the intended applications and the degree of analytical depth and rigour of the study. This should be reflected in the defined study limitations (scope definition phase). Quantitative studies in conformance with the analytical requirements specified in this PEF Guide will be necessary for analyses geared towards, for example, least environmental-cost sourcing, product design, benchmarking and reporting. Combined approaches are also possible within one PEF study where only certain parts of the supply chain are subject to quantitative analysis and others to qualitative descriptions of potential environmental hotspots (for example, a quantitative cradle-to-gate (39) analysis combined with qualitative descriptions of gate-to-grave (40) environmental considerations or with quantitative analyses of the use and end-of-life stages for selected representative product types).

Requirement for PEF studies

Goal definition for a PEF study shall include:

Intended application(s);

Reasons for carrying out the study and decision context;

Target audience;

Whether comparisons and/or comparative assertions (41) are to be disclosed to the public;

Commissioner of the study;

Review procedure (if applicable).

Example - Environmental Footprint of a T-shirt: goal definition

Aspects

Detail

Intended application(s):

Provide product information to customer

Reasons for carrying out the study and decision context:

Respond to a request from a customer

Comparisons intended to be disclosed to the public:

No, it will be publically available but it is not intended to be used for comparisons or comparative assertions.

Target audience:

External technical audience, business-to-business.

Review:

Independent external reviewer, Mr Y

Commissioner of the study:

G company limited

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall specify the review requirements for a PEF study.

4.   DEFINING THE SCOPE OF THE PRODUCT ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT STUDY

4.1   General

In defining the scope of the PEF study, the system to be evaluated and the associated analytical specifications are described in detail.

Requirement for PEF studies

The scope definition for a PEF study shall be in line with the defined goals of the study and shall include (see subsequent sections for a more detailed description):

Unit of analysis (42) and reference flow (43);

System boundaries;

Environmental Footprint impact categories;

Assumptions/Limitations.

4.2   Unit of analysis and reference flow

Users of the PEF Guide are required to define the unit of analysis and reference flow for the PEF study. The unit of analysis qualitatively and quantitatively describes the function(s) and duration of the product.

Requirement for PEF studies

The unit of analysis for a PEF study shall be defined according to the following aspects:

The function(s)/service(s) provided: “what”;

The extent of the function or service: “how much”;

The expected level of quality: “how well”;

The duration/life time of the product: “how long”;

The NACE code(s).

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

PEFCRs shall specify the unit(s) of analysis.

Example:

Guide/Requirement: Define functional unit Names and quantifies the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the function(s) of product along the questions “what”, “how much”, “how well”, and “for how long”.

Example define functional unit,

Function unit of T shirt:

 

(WHAT) T shirt (average for size S, M, L) made from polyester,

 

(HOW MUCH) One T shirt,

 

(HOW WELL) Wear One time per week and use washing machine at 30 degree for cleaning

 

(HOW LONG) for 5 years.

Note:

Some interim products may have more than one function. It may be necessary to identify and choose among these functions.

The reference flow is the amount of product needed in order to provide the defined function. All other input (44) and output (45) flows in the analysis quantitatively relate to it. The reference flow can be expressed in direct relation to the unit of analysis or in a more product-oriented way.

Requirement for PEF studies

An appropriate reference flow shall be determined in relation to the unit of analysis. The quantitative input and output data collected in support of the analysis shall be calculated in relation to this flow.

Example:

Reference flow: 160 grammes of polyester

4.3   System boundaries for Product Environmental Footprint Studies

The system boundaries define which parts of the product life cycle and which associated processes belong to the analysed system (i.e. are required for carrying out its function as defined by the unit of analysis). Therefore, the system boundary must be clearly defined for the product system to be evaluated.

System boundary diagram (recommended)

A system boundary diagram, or a flow diagram, is a schematic representation of the analysed system. It details which parts of the product life cycle are included or excluded from the analysis. A system boundary diagram can be a useful tool in defining the system boundary and organising subsequent data collection activities.

TIP: It is not mandatory to prepare a system boundary diagram, but it is highly recommended. The system boundary diagram will help to define and structure the analysis.

Requirement for PEF studies

The system boundary shall be defined following general supply-chain logic, including all stages from raw material (46) extraction through processing, production, distribution, storage, use stage and end-of-life treatment of the product (i.e. cradle-to-grave (47)), as appropriate to the intended application of the study. The system boundaries shall include all processes linked to the product supply chain relative to the unit of analysis.

The processes included in the system boundaries shall be divided into foreground processes (i.e. core processes in the product life cycle for which direct access to information is available (48)) and background processes (i.e. those processes in the product life cycle for which no direct access to information is possible (49)).

A system boundary diagram should be included in the scope definition.

Additional requirements for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall specify the system boundaries for product category PEF studies, including specification of relevant life cycle stages and processes that should be generally assigned to each stage (including temporal, geographical, and technological specifications). Any deviation from the default cradle-to-grave approach shall be explicitly specified and justified, e.g. exclusion of the unknown use-stage or end-of-life of intermediate products (50).

The PEFCR shall specify downstream (51) scenarios so as to ensure comparability and consistency among PEF studies.

Offsets

The term “offset” is frequently used with reference to third-party greenhouse gas mitigation activities, e.g. regulated schemes in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol (CDM – Clean Development Mechanism, JI – Joint Implementation, ETS - Emissions Trading Schemes), or voluntary schemes. Offsets are discrete greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions used to compensate for (i.e., offset) GHG emissions elsewhere, for example to meet a voluntary or mandatory GHG target or cap. Offsets are calculated relative to a baseline that represents a hypothetical scenario for what emissions would have been in the absence of the mitigation project that generates the offsets. Examples of offset emissions are carbon off-setting by the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon credits, and other system-external off-sets.

Requirement for PEF studies

Offsets shall not be included in the PEF study, but may be reported separately as “Additional Environmental Information.”

4.4   Selecting Environmental Footprint Impact Categories and Assessment Methods

Environmental footprint (EF) impact categories (52) refer to specific categories of impacts considered in a PEF study. These are generally related to resource use, emissions of environmentally damaging substances (e.g., greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals), which may as well affect human health. EF impact assessment methods use models for quantifying the causal relationships between the material/energy inputs and emissions associated with the product life cycle (inventoried in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile) and each EF impact category (53) considered. Each category hence refers to a certain stand-alone EF impact assessment model.

The purpose of EF impact assessment (54) is to group and aggregate the inventoried Resource Use and Emissions Profile data according to the respective contributions to each EF impact category. This subsequently provides the necessary basis for interpretation of the EF results relative to the goals of the PEF study (for example, identification of supply chain “hotspots” and “options” for improvement). The selection of EF impact categories should therefore be comprehensive in the sense that they cover all relevant environmental issues related to the product supply chain of interest.

Table 2 provides a default list of EF impact categories and related assessment methods to be used (55). Further instructions on how to calculate these impacts are described in Chapter 6.

Table 2

Default EF impact categories (with respective EF impact category indicators) and EF impact assessment models for PEF studies

EF Impact Category

EF Impact Assessment Model

EF Impact Category indicators

Source

Climate Change

Bern model - Global Warming Potentials (GWP) over a 100 year time horizon.

kg CO2 equivalent

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007

Ozone Depletion

EDIP model based on the ODPs of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) over an infinite time horizon.

kg CFC-11 (*1) equivalent

WMO, 1999

Ecotoxicity for aquatic fresh water

USEtox model

CTUe (Comparative Toxic Unit for ecosystems)

Rosenbaum et al., 2008

Human Toxicity - cancer effects

USEtox model

CTUh (Comparative Toxic Unit for humans)

Rosenbaum et al., 2008

Human Toxicity – non-cancer effects

USEtox model

CTUh (Comparative Toxic Unit for humans)

Rosenbaum et al., 2008

Particulate Matter/Respiratory Inorganics

RiskPoll model

kg PM2,5 (*2) equivalent

Humbert, 2009

Ionising Radiation – human health effects

Human Health effect model

kg U235 equivalent (to air)

Dreicer et al., 1995

Photochemical Ozone Formation

LOTOS-EUROS model

kg NMVOC (*3) equivalent

Van Zelm et al., 2008 as applied in ReCiPe

Acidification

Accumulated Exceedance model

mol H+ eq

Seppälä et al.,2006; Posch et al., 2008

Eutrophication – terrestrial

Accumulated Exceedance model

mol N eq

Seppälä et al.,2006; Posch et al., 2008

Eutrophication – aquatic

EUTREND model

fresh water: kg P equivalent marine: kg N equivalent

Struijs et al., 2009 as implemented in ReCiPe

Resource Depletion – water

Swiss Ecoscarcity model

m3 water use related to local scarcity of water

Frischknecht et al., 2008

Resource Depletion – mineral, fossil

CML2002 model

kg antimony (Sb) equivalent

van Oers et al., 2002

Land Transformation

Soil Organic Matter (SOM) model

Kg (deficit)

Milà i Canals et al., 2007

Depending on the product system and intended application, users of this PEF Guide may elect to narrow the suite of EF impact categories considered. Such exclusions should be supported by appropriate documents, such as (non-exhaustive list):

International consensus process;

Independent external review;

Multi-stakeholder process;

LCA studies which have been peer reviewed;

Screening step (see section 5.2).

Requirement for PEF studies

The selection of EF impact categories should be comprehensive in the sense that they cover all relevant environmental issues related to the product supply chain of interest. For a PEF study, all of the specified default EF impact categories and associated specified EF impact assessment models shall be applied. Any exclusion shall be explicitly documented, justified, reported in the PEF report and supported by appropriate documents.

The influence of any exclusion on the final results, especially related to limitations in terms of comparability with other PEF studies, shall be discussed in the interpretation phase and reported. Such exclusions are subject to review.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

PEFCRs shall specify and justify any exclusion of the default EF impact categories, especially those related to the aspects of comparability.

4.5   Selecting additional environmental information to be included in the PEF

Relevant potential environmental impacts of a product may go beyond the widely accepted life-cycle-based EF impact assessment models. It is important to consider these environmental impacts whenever feasible. For example, biodiversity impacts due to land use changes may occur in association with a specific site or activity. This may require the application of additional EF impact categories that are not included in the default list provided in this PEF Guide, or even additional qualitative descriptions where impacts cannot be linked to the product supply chain in a quantitative manner. Such additional methods should be viewed as complementary to the default list of EF impact categories.

Some products might be produced in companies which are located close to the sea. Their emissions might therefore directly impact marine water instead of to fresh water. Because the default set of EF impact categories only include ecotoxicity resulting from emissions to fresh water, it is important to also consider emissions that are made directly into marine water. These shall be included at elementary level because no impact assessment model is currently available for such emissions.

Additional environmental information may include (non-exhaustive list):

(a)

Bill-of-materials data;

(b)

Disassemblability, recyclability, recoverability, reusability information, resource efficiency;

(c)

Information on the use of hazardous substances;

(d)

Information on the disposal of hazardous/non-hazardous waste;

(e)

Information on energy consumption;

(f)

Information on local/site-specific impacts, e.g. local impacts on acidification, eutrophication and biodiversity;

Other relevant environmental information on the activities and/or sites involved, as well as on the product output.

Requirement for PEF studies

If the default set of EF impact categories or the default impact assessment models do not properly cover the potential environmental impacts of the product being evaluated, all related relevant (qualitative/quantitative) environmental aspects shall be additionally included under “additional environmental information”. These shall, however, not substitute the mandatory assessment models of the default EF impact categories. The supporting models of these additional categories shall be clearly referenced and documented with the corresponding indicators.

Additional environmental information shall be:

Based on information that is substantiated and has been reviewed or verified in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14020 and Clause 5 of ISO 14021:1999;

Specific, accurate and not misleading;

Relevant to the particular product category.

Emissions made directly into marine water shall be included in the additional environmental information (at inventory level).

If additional environmental information is used to support the interpretation phase of a PEF study, then all data needed to produce such information shall meet the same quality requirements established for the data used to calculate the PEF results (see section 5.6 (56)).

Additional environmental information shall only be related to environmental issues. Information and instructions, e.g. product safety sheets that are not related to the environmental performance of the product shall not be part of a PEF. Similarly, information related to legal requirements shall not be included.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall specify and justify additional environmental information that is to be included in the PEF study. Such additional information shall be reported separately from the life-cycle-based PEF results, with all methods and assumptions clearly documented. Additional environmental information may be quantitative and/or qualitative.

Additional environmental information may include (non-exhaustive list):

Other relevant environmental impacts for the product category;

Other relevant technical parameters that may be used to assess the product under study and allow for comparisons with other products of the overall product efficiency. These technical parameters may refer to, for example, the use of renewable versus non-renewable energy, the use of renewable versus non-renewable fuels, the use of secondary materials, the use of fresh water resources, or the disposal of hazardous versus non-hazardous waste types;

Other relevant approaches for conducting characterisation (57) of the flows from the Resource Use and Emissions Profile, when characterisation factors (58) (CFs) in the default method are not available for certain flows (e.g. groups of chemicals);

Environmental indicators or product responsibility indicators (as per the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI));

Life-cycle energy consumption by primary energy source, separately accounting for “renewable” energy use;

Direct energy consumption by primary energy source, separately accounting for “renewable” energy use;

For gate-to-gate phases, number of IUCN Red List species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations, by level of extinction risk;

Description of significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity in protected areas and in areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas;

Total weight of waste by type and disposal method;

Weight of transported, imported, exported, or treated waste deemed hazardous under the terms of the Basel Convention Annexes I, II, III, and VIII, and percentage of transported waste shipped internationally.

4.6   Assumptions/limitations

In PEF studies, several limitations to carrying out the analysis may arise and therefore assumptions need to be made. For example, generic data (59) may not completely represent the reality of the product analysed and may be adapted for better representation.

Requirement for PEF studies

All limitations and assumptions shall be transparently reported.

Additional requirements for PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall report product-category-specific limitations and define the assumptions necessary to overcome the limitations.

5.   COMPILING AND RECORDING THE RESOURCE USE AND EMISSIONS PROFILE

5.1   General

An inventory (profile) of all material/energy resource inputs/outputs and emissions into air, water and soil for the product supply chain shall be compiled as a basis for modelling the PEF. This is called the Resource Use and Emissions Profile (60).

Ideally, the model of the product supply chain would be constructed using facility- or product-specific data (i.e. modelling the exact life cycle depicting the supply chain, use, and end-of-life stages as appropriate). In practice, and as a general rule, directly collected, facility-specific inventory data should be used wherever possible. For processes where the company does not have direct access to specific data (i.e. background processes), generic data (61) will typically be used. However, it is good practice to access data collected directly from suppliers for the most relevant products supplied by them when possible, unless generic data are more representative or appropriate.

The resource use and emissions profile shall adopt the following classifications (62) of the flows included:

Elementary flows, which are (ISO 14040:2006, 3.12) “ material or energy entering the system being studied that has been drawn from the environment without previous human transformation, or material or energy leaving the system being studied that is released into the environment without subsequent human transformation. ” Elementary flows are, for example, resources extracted from nature or emissions into air, water, soil that are directly linked to the characterisation factors of the EF impact categories;

Non-elementary (or complex) flows, which are all the remaining inputs (e.g. electricity, materials, transport processes) and outputs (e.g. waste, by-products) in a system that require further modelling efforts to be transformed into elementary flows.

All non-elementary flows in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile shall be transformed into elementary flows. For example, waste flows shall not only be reported as kg of household waste or hazardous waste, but shall also include the emissions into water, air and soil due to the treatment of the solid waste. This is necessary for the comparability of PEF studies. The compilation of the resource use and emissions profile is therefore completed when all flows are expressed as elementary flows.

TIP: Documenting the data collection process is useful for improving the data quality over time, preparing for critical review (63), and revising future product inventories to reflect changes in production practices. To ensure that all of the relevant information is documented, establishing a data management plan early in the inventory process may be helpful (see Annex II).

Compiling the resource use and emissions profile in a PEF study may be completed following a 2-step procedure, as explained in Figure 3. The first step is not mandatory, but is highly recommended.

Figure 3

Two-step procedure to compile the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Image 3

Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Two steps for carrying out the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

1.

Screening step

Use readily available specific or generic data to populate the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Apply the Environmental Footprint impact assessment methods

2.

Completing the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Ensure that the data collected meet the data quality requirements and, where necessary, collect better data

Transform any remaining non-elementary flows into elementary flows

Requirement for PEF studies

All resource use and emissions associated with the life-cycle stages included in the defined system boundaries shall be included in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile. The flows shall be grouped into “elementary flows” and “non-elementary (i.e. complex) flows”. All non-elementary flows in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile shall then be transformed into elementary flows.

5.2   Screening step (recommended)

An initial “screening-level” Resource Use and Emissions Profile, referred to as the screening step, is highly recommended because it helps focussing data collection activities and data quality priorities for the actual Resource Use and Emissions Profile.

Requirement for PEF studies

If a screening step is conducted (highly recommended), readily available specific and/or generic data shall be used fulfilling the data quality requirements as defined in Section 5.6. All processes and activities to be considered in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile shall be included in the screening step. Any exclusion of supply-chain stages shall be explicitly justified and submitted to the review process, and their influence on the final results shall be discussed.

For supply-chain stages for which a quantitative EF impact assessment is not intended, the screening step shall refer to existing literature and other sources in order to develop qualitative descriptions of potentially environmentally significant processes. Such qualitative descriptions shall be included in the additional environmental information.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall specify processes to be included, as well as associated data quality and review requirements, which may exceed those of this PEF Guide. It shall also specify for which processes specific data are required, and for which the use of generic data is either permissible or required.

5.3   Data management plan (optional)

A data management plan may be a valuable tool for managing data and for tracking the process of compiling the product Resource Use and Emissions Profile.

The data management plan can include:

A description of data collection procedures;

Data sources;

Calculation methodologies;

Data transmission, storage and backup procedures;

Quality control and review procedures for data collection, input and handling activities, data documentation and emissions calculations.

For additional guidance on possible approaches to formulating a data management plan, see Annex II.

5.4   Resource Use and Emissions Profile Data

Requirement for PEF studies

All resource use and emissions associated with the life-cycle stages included in the defined system boundaries shall be included in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile.

The following elements shall be considered for inclusion in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile:

Raw material acquisition and pre-processing;

Capital goods: linear depreciation shall be used. The expected service life of the capital goods shall be taken into account (and not the time to evolve to an economic book value of 0);

Production;

Product distribution and storage;

Use stage;

Logistics;

End-of-life.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCRs should provide one or more examples for compiling the Resource Use and Emissions Profile, including specifications with respect to:

Substance lists for activities/processes included;

Units;

Nomenclature for elementary flows.

These may apply to one or more supply-chain stages, processes, or activities, for the purpose of ensuring standardised data collection and reporting. The PEFCR may specify more stringent data requirements for key upstream, gate-to-gate (64) or downstream stages than those defined in this PEF Guide.

For modelling processes/activities within the core module (i.e. gate-to-gate stage), the PEFCR shall also specify:

Processes/activities included;

Specifications for compiling data for key processes, including averaging data across facilities;

Any site-specific data required for reporting as “additional environmental information”;

Specific data quality requirements, e.g. for measuring specific activity data.

If the PEFCR also requires deviations from the default cradle-to-grave system boundary (e.g. PEFCR prescribes using the cradle-to-gate boundary), the PEFCR shall specify how material/energy balances in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile shall be accounted for.

5.4.1   Raw Material Acquisition and Pre-processing (Cradle-to-Gate) (65)

The raw material acquisition and pre-processing stage starts when resources are extracted from nature and ends when the product components enter (through the gate of) the product’s production facility. Processes that may occur in this stage include:

Mining and extraction of resources;

Pre-processing of all material inputs to the studied product, such as:

Forming metals into ingots;

Cleaning coal;

Conversion of recycled material;

Photosynthesis for biogenic materials;

Cultivation and harvesting of trees or crops;

Transportation within and between extraction and pre-processing facilities, and to the production facility.

5.4.2   Capital goods

Examples of capital goods that shall be included are:

Machinery used in production processes;

Buildings;

Office equipment;

Transport vehicles;

Transportation infrastructure.

Linear depreciation shall be used for the capital goods. The expected service life of the capital goods shall be taken into account (and not the time to evolve to an economic book value of 0)

5.4.3   Production (68)

The production stage begins when the product components enter the production site and ends when the finished product leaves the production facility. Examples of production-related activities include:

Chemical processing;

Manufacturing;

Transport of semi-finished products between manufacturing processes;

Assembly of material components;

Packaging;

Treatment of waste;

Employee transport (if relevant);

Business travel (if relevant).

5.4.4   Product Distribution and Storage (68)

Products are distributed to users and may be stored at various points along the supply chain. Examples of processes related to distribution and storage that shall be included are (non-exhaustive list):

Energy inputs for warehouse lighting and heating;

Use of refrigerants in warehouses and transport vehicles;

Fuel use by vehicles.

5.4.5   Use stage (68)

The use stage begins when the consumer or end user takes possession of the product and ends when the used product is discarded for transport to a recycling or waste treatment facility. Examples of use-stage processes to be included are (non-exhaustive list):

Use/consumption patterns, location, time (day/night, summer/winter, week/weekend), and assumed use stage lifespan of products;

Transportation to the location of use;

Refrigeration at the location of use;

Preparation for use (e.g. microwaving);

Resource consumption during use (e.g. detergent, energy and water use for washing machine);

Repair and maintenance of the product during the use stage.

The use scenario also needs to reflect whether or not the use of the analysed products might lead to changes in the systems in which they are used. Energy-using products, for example, might affect the energy needed for heating/cooling in a building, or the weight of a car battery might affect the fuel consumption of the car. The following sources of technical information on the use scenario should be taken into account (non-exhaustive list):

Published international standards that specify guidance and requirements for the development of scenarios for the use stage and scenarios for (i.e. estimation of) the service life of the product;

Published national guidelines for the development of scenarios for the use stage and scenarios for (i.e. estimation of) the service life of the product;

Published industry guidelines for the development of scenarios for the use stage and scenarios for (i.e. estimation of) the service life of the product;

Market surveys or other market data.

Note: The manufacturer’s recommended method to be applied in the use stage (e.g. cooking in an oven at a specified temperature for a specified time) might provide a basis for determining the use stage of a product. The actual usage pattern may, however, differ from those recommended and should be used if this information is available.

Requirement for PEF studies

Where no method for determining the use stage of products has been established in accordance with the techniques specified in this PEF Guide, the approach taken in determining the use stage of products shall be established by the organisation carrying out the study. The actual usage pattern may, however, differ from those recommended and should be used if this information is available. Relevant influences on other systems due to the use of the products shall be included.

Documentation of methods and assumptions shall be provided. All relevant assumptions for the use stage shall be documented.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCRs shall specify:

The use stage scenarios to be included in the study, if any;

The timespan to be considered for the use stage.

5.4.6   Modelling logistics for the analysed product

Important parameters that should, or shall (case-specific, see below) be taken into account when modelling transport include:

1.

Transport type: The type of transport, e.g. by land (truck, rail, pipe), by water (boat, ferry, barge), or air (airplane), shall be taken into account;

2.

Vehicle type & fuel consumption: The type of vehicle shall be taken into account by transport type, as well as the fuel consumption when fully loaded and empty. An adjustment shall be applied to the consumption of a fully-loaded vehicle according to loading rate (66);

3.

Loading rate: Environmental impacts are directly linked to the actual loading rate, which shall therefore be considered;

4.

Number of empty returns: the number of empty returns (i.e. the ratio of the distance travelled to collect the next load after unloading the product to the distance travelled to transport the product), when applicable and relevant, shall be taken into account. The kilometres travelled by the empty vehicle shall be allocated to the product. Specific values shall be developed by country and by type of transported product;

5.

Transport distance: Transport distances shall be documented, applying average transport distances specific to the context being considered;

6.

Allocation of impacts from transport: A fraction of the impacts from transportation activities shall be allocated to the unit of analysis (to the considered product) based on the load-limiting factor. The following modelling principles should be considered:

Goods transport: time or distance AND mass or volume (or in specific cases: pieces/pallets) of the transported good:

(a)

If the maximum authorised weight is reached before the vehicle has reached its maximum physical load: at 100 % of its volume (high density products), then allocation shall be based on the mass of transported products;

(b)

If the vehicle is loaded at 100 % of the volume but it does not reach the authorised maximum weight (low density products), then allocation shall be based on the volume of the transported products;

Personal transport: time or distance;

Staff business travel: time, distance or economic value;

7.

Fuel production: Fuel production shall be taken into account. Default values for fuel production can be found, for example, in the European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) (67);

8.

Infrastructure: the transport infrastructure, that of road, rail and water, should be taken into account;

9.

Resources and tools: the amount and type of additional resources and tools needed for logistic operations such as cranes and transporters should be taken into account.

Requirement for PEF studies

Transport parameters that shall be taken into account are: transport type, vehicle type and fuel consumption, loading rate, number of empty returns (when relevant), transport distance, allocation for goods transport based on load-limiting factor (i.e. mass for high-density products and volume for low-density products) and fuel production.

Transport parameters that should be taken into account are: transport infrastructure, additional resources and tools such as cranes and transporters, allocation for personal transport based on time or distance, allocation for staff business travel based on time, distance or economic value.

The impacts due to transport shall be expressed in the default reference units, i.e. tkm for goods and person-km for passenger transport. Any deviation from these default reference units shall be justified and reported.

The environmental impact due to transport shall be calculated by multiplying the impact per reference unit for each of the vehicle types by

(a)

for goods: the distance and load;

(b)

for persons: the distance and number of persons based on the defined transport scenarios.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCRs shall specify transport, distribution and storage scenarios to be included in the study, if any.

5.4.7   End-of-Life (68)

The end-of-life stage begins when the used product is discarded by the user and ends when the product is returned to nature as a waste product or enters another product’s life cycle (i.e. as a recycled input). Examples of end-of-life processes that shall be included in the PEF study include:

Collection and transport of end-of-life products and packages;

Dismantling of components;

Shredding and sorting;

Conversion into recycled material;

Composting or other organic-waste-treatment methods;

Littering;

Incineration and disposal of bottom ash;

Landfilling and landfill operation and maintenance;

Transport required to all end-of-life treatment facilities.

As it is often not known exactly what will happen at the end-of-life of a product, end-of-life scenarios shall be defined.

Requirement for PEF studies

Waste flows arising from processes included in the system boundaries shall be modelled to the level of elementary flows.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The end-of-life scenarios, if any, shall be defined in the PEFCRs. These scenarios shall be based on current (year of analysis) practice, technology and data.

5.4.8   Accounting for Electricity Use (including Use of Renewable Energy)

Electricity from the grid consumed upstream or within the defined PEF boundary shall be modelled as precisely as possible giving preference to supplier-specific data. If (part of) the electricity is renewable it is important that no double counting occurs. Therefore the supplier shall guarantee that the electricity supplied to the organisation to produce the product is effectively generated using renewable sources and is not put into the grid to be used by other consumers (e.g., Guarantee of Origin for production of renewable electricity (69)).

Requirement for PEF studies

For electricity from the grid consumed upstream or within the defined PEF boundary, supplier-specific data shall be used if available. If supplier-specific data is not available, country-specific consumption-mix data shall be used of the country in which the life cycle stages occur. For electricity consumed during the use stage of products, the energy mix shall reflect ratios of sales between countries or regions. Where such data are not available, the average EU consumption mix, or otherwise most representative mix, shall be used.

It shall be guaranteed that the renewable electricity (and associated impacts) from the grid consumed upstream or within the defined PEF boundary is not double counted. A statement of the supplier shall be included as an annex to the PEF report, guaranteeing that the electricity supplied is effectively generated using renewable sources and is not sold to any other organisation.

5.4.9   Additional considerations for compiling the resource use and emissions profile

Biogenic carbon removals and emissions

Carbon is, for example, removed from the atmosphere, due to the growth of trees (characterisation factor (70) of – 1 CO2 eq. for global warming), while it is released during the burning of wood (characterisation factor of + 1 CO2 eq. for global warming).

Requirement for PEF studies

Removals and emissions of biogenic carbon sources shall be kept separated in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile (71).

Direct Land Use Change (impact for climate change): the impact of land use change on climate change results basically from a change in carbon stocks in land. Direct Land Use Change occurs as the results of a transformation from one land use type into another, which takes place in a unique land cover, possibly incurring changes in the carbon stock of that specific land, but not leading to a change in another system. For details, see Annex VI.

Indirect Land Use Change (impact for climate change): the impact of land use change on climate change results basically from a change in carbon stocks in land. Indirect Land Use Change occurs when a certain change in land use induces changes outside the system boundaries, i.e. in other land use types. As there is no agreed methodology on indirect land use change in the context of the Environmental Footprint, indirect land use change shall not be included in the greenhouse gas calculations in the PEF.

Requirement for PEF studies

Greenhouse gas emissions that occur as a result of direct land use change shall be allocated to products for (i) 20 years after the land use change occurs or (ii) a single harvest period from the extraction of the evaluated product (even if longer than 20 years) (72) and the longest period shall be chosen. For details, see Annex VI. Greenhouse gas emissions that occur as a result of indirect land use change shall not be considered unless PEFCRs explicitly require to do so. In that case, indirect land use change shall be reported separately as Additional Environmental Information, but it shall not be included in the calculation of the greenhouse gas impact category.

Accounting for Renewable Energy Generation

Within the assessed system boundary, energy may be produced from renewable sources. If renewable energy is produced in excess of the amount consumed within the defined system boundary and it is provided to, for example, the electricity grid, this may only be credited to the product assessed provided that the credit has not already been taken into account in other schemes. Documentation (e.g. Guarantee of Origin for production of renewable electricity (73)) is required to explain whether or not the credit is considered in the calculation.

Requirement for PEF studies

Credits associated with renewable energy generated by the system boundary shall be calculated with respect to the corrected (i.e. by subtracting the externally provided amount of renewable energy) average, country-level consumption mix of the country to which the energy is provided. Where such data is not available, the corrected average EU consumption mix, or otherwise most representative mix shall be used. If no data are available on the calculation of corrected mixes, the uncorrected average mixes shall be used. It shall be transparently reported which energy mixes are assumed for the calculation of the benefits and whether or not these have been corrected.

Accounting for temporary (carbon) storage and delayed emissions

Temporary carbon storage happens when a product “reduces the GHGs in the atmosphere” or creates “negative emissions”, by removing and storing carbon for a limited amount of time.

Delayed emissions are emissions that are released over time, e.g. through long use or final disposal phases, versus a single emission at time t.

To explain this with an example: if you have timber furniture with a life span of 120 years, you store carbon during the 120 years of the furniture and emissions due to its disposal or incineration at end of life are delayed with 120 years. CO2 is taken up for the production of the timber furniture, is stored for 120 years and is released when the furniture is disposed or incinerated at its end of life. The CO2 is stored for 120 years and the delayed CO2 emissions occur only after 120 years (at the end of the life span of the furniture) instead of now.

Requirement for PEF studies

Credits associated with temporary (carbon) storage or delayed emissions shall not be considered in the calculation of the default EF impact categories. However, these may be included as “additional environmental information”. Moreover, these shall be included under “additional environmental information” if specified in a supporting PEFCR.

5.5   Nomenclature for the Resource Use and Emissions Profile

Developers of PEF studies shall check the documented nomenclature and properties for a given flow in the Resource Use and Emissions Profile against the nomenclature and properties of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) (74).

Requirement for PEF studies

All relevant resource use and emissions associated with the life cycle stages included in the defined system boundaries shall be documented using the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) nomenclature and properties (74), as described in Annex IV.

If nomenclature and properties for a given flow are not available in the ILCD, the practitioner shall create an appropriate nomenclature and document the flow properties.

5.6   Data quality requirements

This section describes how the data quality shall be assessed. Six quality criteria are adopted for PEF studies, five relating to the data and one to the method. These are summarised in the representativeness (technological, geographical and time-related) characterises to what degree the processes and products selected are depicting the system analysed. Once the processes and products are chosen which represent the system analysed, and the Resource Use and Emissions Profile of these processes and products are inventoried, the completeness criterion evaluates to what degree the Resource Use and Emissions Profile of these processes and products covers all the emissions and resources of these processes and products.

Besides these criteria, three more aspects are included in the quality assessment, i.e. review, and documentation (compliance with the ILCD format) and compliance with ILCD nomenclature. The latter three are not included within the semi-quantitative assessment of the data quality as described in the following paragraphs. These however shall be fulfilled.

Table 3

Data quality criteria, documentation, nomenclature and review

Data quality criteria

Technological representativeness (75)

Geographical representativeness (76)

Time-related representativeness (77)

Completeness

Parameter uncertainty (78)

Methodological Appropriateness and Consistency (79) (the requirements as defined in Table 7 shall apply until end of year 2015. From 2016, full compliance with the PEF methodology will be required)

Documentation

Compliant with ILCD format

Nomenclature

Compliant with ILCD nomenclature (e.g. use of ILCD reference elementary flows for IT compatible inventories)

Review

Review by "Qualified reviewer” (see chapter 8):

Separate review report


Table 4

Overview of requirements for data quality and the assessment of data quality

 

Minimum data quality required

Type of required data quality assessment

Data covering at least 70 % of contributions to each EF impact category

Overall “Good” data quality (DQR ≤ 3,0)

Semi-quantitative based on Table 5

Data accounting for 20-30 % of contributions to each EF impact category

Overall “Fair” data quality

Qualitative expert judgement (Table 7 can be used to support the expert judgement). No quantification required.

Data used for approximation and filling identified gaps (no more than 10 % of the contribution to each EF impact category)

Best available data

Qualitative expert judgement (Table 7 can be used to support the expert judgement).

Semi-quantitative assessment of data quality

Table 5 gives an overview of the criteria used for semi-quantitative assessment of data quality; Table 6 and corresponding equations describe the criteria to be used for a semi-quantitative assessment of data quality. Annex VII provides an example of data quality requirements for intermediate paper products.

Table 5

Criteria for semi-quantitative assessment of overall data quality of the Life Cycle Inventory datasets used in the EF study

Quality level

Quality rating

Definition

Completeness

Methodological appropriateness and consistency

Time representativeness

Technological representativeness

Geographical representativeness

Parameter uncertainty

 

 

 

To be judged with respect to the coverage for each EF impact category and in comparison to a hypothetical ideal data quality

The applied LCI methods and methodological choices (e.g. allocation, substitution, etc.) are in line with the goal and scope of the dataset, especially its intended applications as support to decisions. The methods have also been consistently applied across all data (80).

Degree to which the dataset reflects the specific conditions of the system being considered regarding the time/age of the data, and including background datasets, if any.

Comment: i.e. of the given year (and, if applicable, of intra-annual or intra-daily differences).

Degree to which the dataset reflects the true population of interest regarding technology, including for included background datasets, if any.

Comment: i.e. of the technological characteristics including operating conditions.

Degree to which the dataset reflects the true population of interest regarding geography, including background datasets, if any.

Comment: i.e. of the given location/site, region, country, market, continent, etc.

Qualitative expert judgement or relative standard deviation as a % if a Monte Carlo simulation is used.

Comment: The uncertainty assessment is related to the resource use and emission data only; it does not cover the EF impact assessment.

Very good

1

Meets the criterion to a very high degree, without need for improvement.

Very good completeness

(≥ 90 %)

Full compliance with all requirements of the PEF Guide

Context–specific

Context–specific

Context–specific

Very low uncertainty

Very low uncertainty

(≤ 10 %)

Good

2

Meets the criterion to a high degree, with little significant need for improvement.

Good completeness

(80 % to 90 %)

Attributional (81) process-based approach AND:

Following three method requirements of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

System boundary

Context–specific

Context–specific

Context–specific

Low uncertainty

Low uncertainty

(10 % to 20 %)

Fair

3

Meets the criterion to an acceptable degree, but merits improvement.

Fair completeness

(70 % to 80 %)

Attributional process-based approach AND:

Two of the following three method requirements of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

System boundary

Context–specific

Context–specific

Context–specific

Fair uncertainty

Fair uncertainty

(20 % to 30 %)

Poor

4

Does not meet the criterion to a sufficient degree. Requires improvement.

Poor completeness

(50 % to 70 %)

Attributional process-based approach AND:

One of the following three method requirements of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

System boundary

Context–specific

Context–specific

Context–specific

High uncertainty

High uncertainty

(30 % to 50 %)

Very poor

5

Does not meet the criterion. Substantial improvement is necessary OR:

This criterion was not judged / reviewed or its quality could not be verified / is unknown.

Very poor or unknown completeness

(< 50 %)

Attributional process-based approach BUT:

None of the following three method requirements of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

System boundary

Context–specific

Context–specific

Context–specific

Very high uncertainty

Very high uncertainty

(> 50 %)

The overall data quality shall be calculated by summing up the achieved quality rating for each of the quality criteria, divided by the total number of criteria (i.e. six). The Data Quality Rating (DQR) result is used to identify the corresponding quality level in Table 6. Formula 1 provides the calculation provision:

Formula 1

Formula

—   DQR:

Data Quality Rating of the dataset

—   TeR:

Technological Representativeness

—   GR:

Geographical Representativeness

—   TiR:

Time-related Representativeness

—   C:

Completeness

—   P:

Precision/uncertainty

—   M:

Methodological Appropriateness and Consistency

Formula 1 shall be used to identify the overall data quality level according to the achieved data quality rating.

Table 6

Overall data quality level according to the achieved data quality rating

Overall data quality rating (DQR)

Overall data quality level

≤ 1,6

“Excellent quality”

1,6 to 2,0

"Very good quality"

2,0 to 3,0

“Good quality”

3 to 4,0

"Fair quality"

> 4

“Poor quality”


Table 7

Example of semi-quantitative assessment of data quality required for key Life Cycle Inventory datasets

Process: dyeing process


Quality level

Quality rating

Definition

Completeness

Methodological compliance and consistency

Time representativeness

Technological representativeness

Geographical representativeness

Parameter uncertainty (relative standard deviation as a % if a Monte Carlo simulation is used, otherwise qualitative expert judgement)

Very good

1

Meets the criterion to a very high degree, without need for improvement.

Very good completeness

(≥ 90 %)

Full compliance with all requirements of the PEF Guide

2009-2012

Discontinuous with airflow dyeing machines

Central Europe mix

Very low uncertainty

(≤ 10 %)

Good

2

Meets the criterion to a high degree, with little significant need for improvement.

Good completeness

(80 % to 90 %)

Attributional Process based approach AND:

Following three method requirements of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

System boundary

2006-2008

e.g. "Consumption mix in EU: 30 % Semi-continuous, 50 % exhaust dyeing and 20 % Continuous dyeing"

EU 27 mix; UK, DE; IT; FR

Low uncertainty

(10 % to 20 %)

Fair

3

Meets the criterion to an acceptable degree, but merits improvement.

Fair completeness

(70 % to 80 %)

Attributional process-based approach AND:

The following two method requirements of the PEF Guide are met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End of life modelling

However, the following method requirement of the PEF Guide is not met:

System boundary

1999-2005

e.g. "Production mix in EU: 35 % Semi-continuous, 40 % exhaust dyeing and 25 % Continuous dyeing"

Scandinavian Europe; other EU-27 countries

Fair uncertainty

(20 % to 30 %)

Poor

4

Does not meet the criterion to a sufficient degree. Requires improvement.

Poor completeness

(50 % to 75 %)

Attributional process-based approach AND:

The following method requirement of the PEF Guide met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

However, the following two method requirements of the PEF Guide are not met:

End-of-life modelling

System boundary

1990-1999

e.g. "Exhaust dyeing"

Middle east; US; JP

High uncertainty

(30 % to 50 %)

Very poor

5

Does not meet the criterion. Substantial improvement is necessary OR:

This criterion was not judged/reviewed or its quality could not be verified/is unknown.

Very poor or unknown completeness

(< 50 %)

Attributional process-based approach BUT:

None of the following three method requirements of the PEF Guide are met:

Dealing with multi-functionality

End-of-life modelling

System boundary

< 1990; Unknown

Continuous dyeing; other; unknown

Other; Unknown

Very high uncertainty

(> 50 %)

Requirement for PEF studies

Data quality requirements shall be met by PEF studies intended for external communication, i.e. B2B and B2C. For PEF studies (claiming to be in line with this PEF Guide) intended for in-house applications, the specified data quality requirements should be met (i.e. are recommended), but are not mandatory. Any deviations from the requirements shall be documented. Data quality requirements apply to both specific (82) and generic data (83).

The following six criteria shall be adopted for a semi-quantitative assessment of data quality in PEF studies: technological representativeness, geographical representativeness, time-related representativeness, completeness, parameter uncertainty and methodological appropriateness and consistency.

In the optional screening step a minimum “fair” quality data rating is required for data contributing to at least 90 % of the impact estimated for each EF impact category, as assessed via a qualitative expert judgement.

In the final Resource Use and Emissions Profile, for the processes or activities accounting for at least 70 % of contributions to each EF impact category, both specific and generic data shall achieve at least an overall “good quality” level (the 70 % threshold is chosen to balance the goal of achieving a robust assessment with the need to keep it feasible and accessible). A semi-quantitative assessment of data quality shall be performed and reported for these processes. At least 2/3 of the remaining 30 % (i.e. 20 % to 30 %) shall be modelled with at least “fair quality” data. Data of less than fair quality rating shall not account for more than 10 % contributions to each EF impact category.

The data quality requirements for technological, geographical and time-related representativeness shall be subject to review as part of the PEF study. The data quality requirements related to completeness, methodological appropriateness and consistency, and parameter uncertainty should be met by sourcing generic data exclusively from data sources that comply with the requirements of the PEF Guide.

With respect to the data quality criterion of “methodological appropriateness and consistency”, the requirements as defined in Table 6 shall apply until the end of 2015. From 2016, full compliance with the PEF methodology will be required.

The data quality assessment of generic data shall be conducted at the level of the input flows (e.g. purchased paper used in a printing office) while the data quality assessment of specific data shall be conducted at the level of an individual process or aggregated process, or at the level of individual input flows.

Additional requirements for development of PEFCRs

PEFCRs shall provide further guidance on data quality assessment scoring for the product category with respect to time, geographical and technological representativeness. For example, it shall specify which data quality score relating to time representativeness should be assigned to a dataset representing a given year.

PEFCRs may specify additional criteria for the assessment of data quality (compared to default criteria).

PEFCRs may specify more stringent data quality requirements, if appropriate for the product category in question. These may include:

Gate-to-gate activities/processes;

Upstream or downstream phases;

Key supply-chain activities for the product category;

Key EF impact categories for the product category.

Example for determining the data quality rating

Component

Achieved quality level

Corresponding quality rating

Technological representativeness (TeR)

good

2

Geographical representativeness (GR)

good

2

Time-related representativeness (TiR)

fair

3

Completeness (C)

good

2

Parameter uncertainty (P)

good

2

Methodological appropriateness and consistency (M)

good

2

Formula

A DQR of 2,2 corresponds to an overall “good quality” rating.

5.7   Specific data collection

This section describes the collection of specific data which are data directly measured or collected representative of activities at a specific facility or set of facilities. The data should include all known inputs and outputs for the processes. Inputs are (for example) use of energy, water, materials, etc. Outputs are the products, co-products (84), and emissions. Emissions can be divided into four categories: emissions to air, to water, to soil, and emissions as solid waste. Specific data can be collected, measured or calculated using activity data (85) and related emission factors. It should be noted that emission factors may be derived from generic data subject to data quality requirements.

Data collection - measurements and tailored questionnaires

The most representative sources of data for specific processes are measurements directly performed on the process, or obtained from operators via interviews or questionnaires. The data may need scaling, aggregation or other forms of mathematical treatment to bring them in line with the unit of analysis and reference flow of the process.

Typical specific data sources are:

Process- or plant-level consumption data;

Bills and stock/inventory changes of consumables;

Emission measurements (amounts and concentrations of emissions from gas and wastewater);

Composition of products and waste;

Procurement and sale department(s)/unit(s).

Requirement for PEF studies

Specific data (86) shall be obtained for all foreground processes and for background processes, where appropriate (87). However, if generic data are more representative or appropriate than specific data for foreground processes (to be justified and reported), generic data shall also be used for the foreground processes.

Additional requirements for development of PEFCRs

PEFCRs shall:

1.

Specify for which processes specific data shall be collected;

2.

Specify the requirements for the collection of specific data;

3.

Define the data collection requirements for each site for:

Target stage(s) and the data collection coverage;

Location of data collection (domestically, internationally, specific factories, and so on);

Term of data collection (year, season, month, and so on);

When the location or term of data collection must be limited to a certain range, provide a justification for this and show that the collected data will serve as sufficient samples.

5.8   Generic data collection

Generic data refers to data that are not based on direct measurements or calculation of the respective processes in the system. Generic data can be either sector-specific, i.e. specific to the sector being considered for the PEF study, or multi-sector. Examples of generic data include:

Data from literature or scientific papers;

Industry-average life-cycle data from life-cycle-inventory databases, industry association reports, government statistics, etc.

Sourcing generic data

Generic data should where available be sourced from the data sources specified in this PEF Guide. Remaining generic data should preferentially be sourced from:

Databases provided by international governmental organisations (for example FAO, UNEP);

Country-specific national governmental LCI database projects (for data specific to the host country’s database);

National governmental LCI database projects;

Other third-party LCI databases;

Peer-reviewed literature.

Other potential sources of generic data can also be found, e.g. in the Resource Directory of the European Platform on LCA (88). If the necessary data cannot be found in the above-listed sources, other sources may be used.

Requirement for PEF studies

Generic data should be used only for processes in the background system, unless (generic data) are more representative or appropriate than specific data for foreground processes, in which case generic data shall also be used for processes in the foreground system. When available, sector-specific generic data shall be used instead of multi-sector generic data. All generic data shall fulfil the data quality requirements specified in this document. The sources of the data used shall be clearly documented and reported in the PEF report.

Generic data (provided they fulfil the data quality requirements specified in this PEF Guide) should, where available, be sourced from:

Data developed in line with the requirements of the relevant PEFCRs;

Data developed in line with the requirements for PEF studies;

International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Data Network (89) (giving preference to datasets that are fully compliant with the ILCD Data Network over those that are only entry-level compliant);

European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) (90).

Additional requirement for PEFCRs:

The PEFCR shall specify:

where the use of generic data is permitted as an approximation for a substance for which specific data is not available;

the level of required similarities between the actual substance and the generic substance;

the combination of more than one generic dataset, if necessary.

5.9   Dealing with remaining unit process data gaps/missing data

Data gaps exist when there is no specific or generic data available that is sufficiently representative of the given process in the product’s life cycle. For most processes where data may be missing it should be possible to obtain sufficient information to provide a reasonable estimate of the missing data. Therefore, there should be few, if any, data gaps in the final Resource Use and Emissions Profile. Missing information can be of different types and have different characteristics, each requiring separate resolution approaches.

Data gaps may exist when:

Data does not exist for a specific input/product, or

Data exists for a similar process but:

The data has been generated in a different region;

The data has been generated using a different technology;

The data has been generated in a different time period.

Requirement for PEF studies

Any data gaps shall be filled using the best available generic or extrapolated data (91). The contribution of such data (including gaps in generic data) shall not account for more than 10 % of the overall contribution to each EF impact category considered. This is reflected in the data quality requirements, according to which 10 % of the data can be chosen from the best available data (without any further data quality requirements).

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall specify potential data gaps and provide detailed guidance for filling these gaps.

5.10   Handling multi-functional processes

If a process or facility provides more than one function, i.e. it delivers several goods and/or services ("co-products"), it is “multifunctional”. In these situations, all inputs and emissions linked to the process must be partitioned between the product of interest and the other co-products in a principled manner. Systems involving multi-functionality of processes shall be modelled in accordance with the following decision hierarchy, with additional guidance provided by PEFCRs if available.

Decision hierarchy

I)   Subdivision or system expansion

Wherever possible, subdivision or system expansion should be used to avoid allocation. Subdivision refers to disaggregating multifunctional processes or facilities to isolate the input flows directly associated with each process or facility output. System expansion refers to expanding the system by including additional functions related to the co-products. It shall be investigated first whether the analysed process can be subdivided or expanded. Where subdivision is possible, inventory data should be collected only for those unit processes (92) directly attributable (93) to the goods/services of concern. Or if the system can be expanded, the additional functions shall be included in the analysis with results communicated for the expanded system as a whole rather than on an individual co-product level.

II)   Allocation based on a relevant underlying physical relationship

Where subdivision or system expansion cannot be applied, allocation should be applied: the inputs and outputs of the system should be partitioned between its different products or functions in a way that reflects relevant underlying physical relationships between them. (ISO 14044:2006, 14)

Allocation based on a relevant underlying physical relationship refers to partitioning the input and output flows of a multi-functional process or facility in accordance with a relevant, quantifiable physical relationship between the process inputs and co-product outputs (for example, a physical property of the inputs and outputs that is relevant to the function provided by the co-product of interest). Allocation based on a physical relationship can be modelled using direct substitution if a product can be identified that is directly substituted (94).

Can a direct substitution-effect be robustly modelled? This can be demonstrated by proving that (1) there is a direct, empirically demonstrable substitution effect, AND (2) the substituted product can be modelled and the resource use and emissions profile data subtracted in a directly representative manner:

If yes (i.e. both conditions are verified), model the substitution effect.

Or

Can input/output flows be allocated based on some other relevant underlying physical relationship that relates the inputs and outputs to the function provided by the system? This can be demonstrated by proving that a relevant physical relationship can be defined by which to allocate the flows attributable to the provision of the defined function of the product system (95):

If yes, allocate based on this physical relationship.

III)   Allocation Based on Some Other Relationship

Allocation based on some other relationship may be possible. For example, economic allocation refers to allocating inputs and outputs associated with multi-functional processes to the co-product outputs in proportion to their relative market values. The market price of the co-functions should refer to the specific condition and point at which the co-products are produced. Allocation based on economic value shall only be applied when (I and II) are not possible. In any case, a clear justification for having discarded I and II and for having selected a certain allocation rule in step III shall be provided, to ensure the physical representativeness of the PEF results as far as possible.

Allocation based on some other relationship can be approached in one of the following alternative ways:

Can an indirect substitution (96) effect be identified? AND can the substituted product be modelled and the inventory subtracted in a reasonably representative manner?

If yes (i.e. both conditions are verified), model the indirect substitution effect.

Or

Can the input/output flows be allocated between the products and functions on the basis of some other relationship (e.g. the relative economic value of the co-products)?

If yes, allocate products and functions on the basis of the identified relationship

Dealing with multi-functionality of products is particularly challenging when recycling or energy recovery of one (or more) of these products is involved as the systems tend to get rather complex. Annex V provides an approach that shall be used to estimate the overall emissions associated to a certain process involving recycling and/or energy recovery. These moreover also relate to waste flows generated within the system boundaries.

Examples of direct and indirect substitution

Direct Substitution:

Direct substitution may be modelled as a form of allocation based on an underlying physical relationship when a direct, empirically-demonstrable substitution effect can be identified. For example, when manure nitrogen is applied to agricultural land, directly substituting an equivalent amount of the specific fertiliser nitrogen that the farmer would otherwise have applied, the animal husbandry system from which the manure is derived is credited for the displaced fertiliser production (taking into account differences in transportation, handling, and emissions).

Indirect Substitution:

Indirect substitution may be modelled as a form of “allocation based on some other relationship” when a co-product is assumed to displace a marginal or average market-equivalent product via market-mediated processes. For example, when animal manure is packaged and sold for use in home gardening, the animal husbandry system from which the manure is derived is credited for the market-average home gardening fertiliser that is assumed to have been displaced (taking into account differences in transportation, handling, and emissions).

Requirement for PEF studies

The following PEF multi-functionality decision hierarchy shall be applied for resolving all multi-functionality problems: (1) subdivision or system expansion; (2) allocation based on a relevant underlying physical relationship (including direct substitution or some relevant underlying physical relationship); (3) allocation based on some other relationship (including indirect substitution or some other relevant underlying relationship).

All choices made in this context shall be reported and justified with respect to the overarching goal of ensuring physically representative, environmentally relevant results. For multi-functionality of products in recycling or energy recovery situations, the equation described in Annex V shall be applied. The abovementioned decision process also applies for end-of-life multi-functionality.

Additional requirement for development of PEFCRs

The PEFCR shall further specify multi-functionality solutions for application within the defined system boundaries and, where appropriate, for upstream and downstream stages. If feasible/appropriate, the PEFCR may further provide specific factors to be used in the case of allocation solutions. All such multi-functionality solutions specified in the PEFCR must be clearly justified with reference to the PEF multi-functionality solution hierarchy.

Where subdivision is applied, the PEFCR shall specify which processes are to be sub-divided and the principles that such subdivision should adhere to.

Where allocation by physical relationship is applied, the PEFCR shall specify the relevant underlying physical relationships to be considered, and establish the relevant allocation factors.

Where allocation by some other relationship is applied, the PEFCR shall specify this relationship and establish the relevant allocation factors. For example, in the case of economic allocation, the PEFCR shall specify the rules for determining the economic values of co-products.

For multi-functionality in end-of-life situations, the PEFCR shall specify how the different parts are calculated within the mandatory formula provided.

Figure 4

Decision tree for handling multi-functional processes