No black and white definition of green*

An Update on the EC Product Environmental Footprint Pilot Project

The proliferation of green labels in recent years is undermining consumers’ trust on green products and also creating market barriers to the circulation of these products.

To address the situation, in April 2013 the European Commission published a legislative package consisting of a communication and a recommendation to all Member States and private actors to use Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organization Environmental Footprint (OEF) as the EU methods to analyze Environmental Impacts from a life cycle approach perspective.

At the same time the Commission launched a 3 year pilot phase to test the newly published methods in collaboration with industrial actors. The

Commission selected 27 pilots from different sectors, among these 5 relate to construction products. There is already a European standard for assessing the environmental impact of construction products with a similar scope, although with different objectives.

TEPPFA members, based on the experience of many years of assessing

Environmental footprint of pipe systems on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) basis following the EUROPEAN standard EN 15804, decided to take part in this testing phase and support the Commission with their know how. The European Copper Institute (ECI) also decided to work together with TEPPFA and the Commission to write Product Environemntal Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for hot and cold water distribution pipes within the building.

This pilot is a very challenging project, as it is run between competitors in

the market following tough deadlines. Overall PEF is a very ambitious program, in fact it is a method proposed to level the playing field in LCA assessments. PEF can potentially be a game changer, it proposes comparisons, benchmarks, weighting and normalizations as key elements.

TEPPFA is keen to cooperate with the Commission and other construction product sectors, so that at the next revision* both PEF and EN 15804, are aligned to a single method.

For more info:

* Michele Galatola, DG ENV