19 December 2011

Commission explores methodology for calculating environmental footprint of products

Product environmental footprint is a way of measuring the environmental performance of a good or service over its life-cycle. It aims to give an account of the most relevant impacts of that product, based on scientific information.

The European Commission’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) has developed a draft methodology for the calculation of product footprints.The methodology builds on the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook, as well as other methodological standards and guidance documents.

Pilot tests are underway in a number of sectors, including agriculture, retail, construction, chemicals, ICT, food, manufacturing (footwear, televisions, paper). Final guidance will be published in 2012. The Commission, in collaboration with Confederation of European Paper Industries, is also testing the process aimed at developing Product Footprint Category Rules for paper.

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