In December 2019, the European Commission presented its ambitious Green Deal roadmap, a comprehensive strategy aimed at putting Europe on the right track for climate neutrality in 2050 while encouraging sustainable economic growth.
In this strategy, the role of consumers is clearly recognized: this transition won’t happen without them. However, green washing is a threat to their involvement: they won’t be able to make more sustainable choices if they don’t receive reliable, comparable and verifiable information.
For that reason, the European Commission has decided to leverage the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method to distinguish between valid green claims and green washing.
We are proud to announce today that Cepi together with its member companies has developed an LCA tool fully based on the Intermediate Paper Product PEF Category Rules (PEFCR).
The PEF tool enables any Cepi member company to calculate product LCAs and validate their green claims within the Green Deal context. The tool has been designed for both LCA experts as well as users less familiar with the LCA methodologies. Having access to an LCA tool makes it significantly easier for small and medium size enterprises to compute complex Product Environmental Footprints for their products.
The foundations of the PEF work were established in 2013, the idea was to develop a harmonized method to evaluate the environmental friendliness of products, focusing on their carbon footprint and related GHG emissions.
The initiative gave way to two projects: Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) with the objective of developing a harmonized environmental footprinting methodology that can accommodate a broader suite of relevant environmental performance criteria.
The European Paper Industry participated to the EU PEF Pilot project in 2011 and again in 2013-2018: we were one of the 15 sectors that delivered PEF Category Rules. The Intermediate Paper Product PEFCR is the most complete of any EU PEF Pilot Category Rules allowing in-depth primary production data be used for the results and enabling understanding of improvements in time as well as improvement areas. The Intermediate Paper Product PEFCR is a detailed LCA calculation method for paper that will be converted into finalised products such as packaging, print and tissue.
The tool that Cepi is launching today has been developed in collaboration with Green Delta, the partner with whom the Intermediate Paper Product PEFCR Development Group tested the remodeling of the Category Rules. The tool strictly follows the PEFCR and uses the secondary datasets dedicated for PEF while being the only available tool to deliver EU PEFCR compliant results. The tool has been developed to be of use for small and mid-size enterprises in mind and is available to all Cepi members free of charge.
There are still areas of improvement for both the industry and the PEF methodology. These include:
- Improved and up-to-date datasets for all paper products
- Further development of the land use impact methodology that reflects sustainable forest management realistically
- Further develop the circularity formula
- Developing rules on how intermediate product footprint results will be linked to the final product calculations.
The EU PEF Project continues in 2021 with lessons learned from the 2018-2020 transition period. Cepi together with its sister associations is committed to work further with the EU institutions on the development of the PEF and OEF.