Background information about the Environmental Product Declaration

What is an Enivironmental Product Declaration?

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) provide quantified, verified and objective information about the impact of a product or service on the environment. The gathered information is based on well-defined parameters. The whole life cycle of a product – its raw material, its production, its application, and its end-of-life stage– is to be considered.

Especially in the building sector, EPDs are increasingly used by architects and property developers in order to prove and guarantee a sustainable way of building when participating in tenders. However, EPDs are also issued for other products used in different sectors.

The international standard ISO 14020 distinguishes between three types of Environmental Declarations. Type III (ISO 14025) stands for the most extensive level of them, since it is verified by a third independent authority and therefore, provides the maximum of objectivity as well as neutrality.

The drawing up of an EPD follows international and technical regulations which are determined in so called Product Category Rules (PCRs). These PCRs define the content and the outline of the EPD for specific groups of products. Therefore, PCRs have a normative effect.

It is necessary that the EPD contains particular parameters to clearly define the eco-balance of a product. The life cycle inventory analysis describes the product’s consumption of resources such as energy, water and renewable and non-renewable resources. It also specifies the emissions to air, water and into the earth. The estimation of the effect is based on the results of the life cycle inventory analysis and provides specific information about the environmental impact, e.g., the greenhouse effect, the destruction of the ozone layer, acidification or the depletion of fossil and mineral resources. In addition, further indicators are listed such as the kind and the amount of waste produced.