With the proliferation of green measurement systems and labels, there is a growing need to understand the true impact of a product on the environment. Environmental product declarations (EPD) provide quantifiable environmental data to compare products that fulfill the same function. In order to create comparable EPD, they must follow the same rules and guidelines called product category rules (PCR).
PCR, similar to standards, are best developed in a collaborative manner and ASTM is uniquely positioned to provide the venue for developing industry PCR.
As a Program Operator, ASTM International has developed its program in conformance with ISO 14025 - Environmental Labels and Declarations - Type III Environmental Declarations - Principles and Procedures.
ASTM's leadership is driven by the contributions of its members: more than 30,000 of the world's top technical experts and business professionals representing 150 countries. ASTM members deliver documents that support over 90 industry sectors worldwide. The scope of the ASTM International program is not limited to certain industrial sectors.
The ASTM EPD Program assists industry in the following manner:
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a. What are PCR?
Product category rules (PCR) are defined in ISO 14025 as a set of specific rules, requirements, and guidelines, for developing environmental declarations for one or more products that can fulfill equivalent functions. PCR determine what information should be gathered and how that information should be evaluated for an environmental declaration.
b. What is a life cycle assessment (LCA)?
A life cycle assessment provides a detailed analysis of the environmental impact of a product across its life span from cradle to grave - raw material extraction, manufacture and production, distribution, use and disposal and recycling.
c. How are PCR developed?
PCR will be developed through a stakeholder group using a consultative process to achieve concensus. In addition, a panel consisting of at least three independent experts must review and verify the PCR for conformance with the ISO 14040 series of standards and that the LCA-based data provides an accurate description of the significant environmental aspects of the product.
The EPD Development Process includes four steps:
Step 1: Development of a PCR
PCR are developed through the consultation of interested parties. In order to promote harmonization, existing PCR should be used and adapted prior to the development of a new PCR.
Step 2: Conduct an LCA
An LCA must be conducted to gather the necessary data in order to compile the environmental impact of the product across its life span from cradle to grave.
Step 3: Development of the EPD
The manufacturer uses the PCR to compile the life cycle assessment data and other relevant environmental information to create the declaration.
Step 4: Verification of the EPD
The EPD must be verified by ASTM, a program operator, to ensure that the contents of the declaration conform to the requirements of the PCR, including the life cycle assessment.
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For more information about developing PCR and verifying EPD, please contact ASTM's Certification and Declarations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org