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 (EPDs) 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).
Starting in 2012, ASTM International developed its program in conformance with ISO 14025 - Environmental Labels and Declarations - Type III Environmental Declarations - Principles and Procedures.
ASTM is well-positioned to lead with EPD development, building on its own proven track record as a program operator as well as its strong base of 30,000 technical committee members from 150 countries and 90 industry sectors.
ASTM supports the following process: conducting life cycle assessments, creating Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and verifying those EPDs.
- offers a collaborative process that brings all relevant stakeholders to the table
- identifies life cycle assessment experts
- identifies related PCR documents and organizations developing similar PCR
EPDs from ASTM show:
- material content
- recycled content
- service life
- global warming potential
- water consumption
- emissions to air and water
- waste generation
- ozone depletion potential
- respiratory effects
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.
To view the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions page, please click here.
For more information about reviewing LCA and verifying EPD, please contact ASTM's Certification and Declarations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org