Frequent Asked Questions
- EPD (Envioronmental Product Declaration)
- EPD Programme Operator
- PCR (Product Category Rules)
- LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
- Time & Costs
EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)
What is an EPD?
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. It is like a green “nutrition facts label” of a product.
The overall goal of an EPD is not to declare that a product is environmentally superior to other alternative products, but to provide interested parties with relevant and verified information regarding its environmental features and performances.
Why an EPD?
The market interest for environmental declarations taking into account the entire Product Life Cycle (from raw materials to disposal) is in continuous groth due to the recognition of the EPD benefits such as the life cycle approach, the transparent disclosure of relevant impact categories and the independent verification.
- EPD helps Organizations and products to:
- provide Stakeholders with transparent information regarding the environmental performance
- support marketing strategies based on sustainability
- improve the brand image
- compare the environmental performance of a product with other similar ones
- facilitate customers’ procurement processes in evaluating the product’s characteristics
- enhance awareness on the overall impact of a product
In the construction sector, EPD helps manufacturers to:
- support architects in designing green building
- get credits for Green Building rating schemes
Who needs EPDs?
The EPD is requested by an increasing number of players within the supply-chain for finished goods both in the private and public sector, as well as for more general purposes of information and marketing activities for:
- Green Public Procurement
- Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
- B2B communication
- B2C communication
EPD is more and more becoming part of every product technical specification to deal with market like Europe, USA, Japan and Australia.
In India the demand for LCAs and EPDs is driven by:
- National Building Code – Section 11 “Sustainability in construction”
- State Government Authorities
- National Green Building Rating Schemes (e.g. LEED, GRIHA)
Can EPD be used in Public Green Procurement?
YES. EPD supports Authorities in deploying Green Procurement strategies and enables:
- to get environmental information on the product
- to lay down relevant environmental criteria in the tendering documents
- to verify the compliance of a product with the environmental requirements introduced in the tendering documents
- to reward the environmentally best products
Is EPD rewarded by the Green Building Rating Schemes?
YES. The most popular Green Building Rating Systems (e.g. LEED, GRIHA, BREEAM) award credits/scores to materials and products providing evidence of an EPD which is verified, registered and published by EPD India (Programme Operator).
- LEED v4 (USGBC) rewards projects using at least 20 EPD certified products sourced by at least 5 different manufacturers (1 point) and/or third party certified products that demonstrate impact reduction below industry average in at least three of the LCA impacts (valued at 100% of their cost for credit achievement calculations – 1 point)
- GRIHA V (TERI) has also introduced appraisals (criterion 21) for projects that have at least a relevant % of EPD certified according to ISO 14025 among all materials used for building interiors (from 1 to 4 points)
Are there International Standards for an EPD?
YES. All Environmental claims must be prepared according to the principles of ISO 14020 Standard. An EPD shall also meet the requirements addressed by ISO 14021 Standard and must be supported by up-to-date and documented facts.
EPD is a “type III Environmental Declaration” according to the ISO 14025 Standard, created and registered in the framework of a programme (such as the EPD India), where the name “EPD ” is used for the declaration.
Are there different types of EPD?
YES. EPD India programme offers the opportunity of registering different types of EPD.
- Declaration of a specific product from a manufacturer’s factory
- Declaration of a specific product averaged from multiple factories of the same manufacturer
- Declaration of an average product from a manufacturer’s factory
- Declaration of an average product averaged from multiple factories of the same manufacturer
- Declaration of a specific product averaged from multiple factories of several manufacturers
- Declaration of an average product averaged from multiple factories of several manufacturers
- Declaration concerning the worst impacts for a sample product of specific sector, of a specific geographic scope
- Declaration of a typical product within a Group of similar products with common functions and identical manufacturing processes
What is a Sector EPD?
A Sector EPD helps Industry Associations to provide their members with a tool to represent the average impacts of a representative group of products having similar products and processes.
The most important advantage of this approach is the definition of a common LCA structure for all the companies thus the data collected can be used to develop an average of the envionmental impact.
The Sector EPD is usually promoted by an Association and is issued in its name, along with the mantion to all the individual Organizations participating to it. For instance in Italy Confindustria Ceramica (Association of Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers) has promoted a Sector EPD for 135 Tiles manufacturers with the advantage of helping each Member CompanyOragnizations to reduce the cost of individual LCAs.
Once a Sector EPD is realized each Organization may apply for an individual EPD Validation which is done using the same LCA structure shared during the Sector EPD phase and then calculating the impacts of the specific single product. Subsequently the manufacturer’s EPD can be verified and published for its specific product.
What are the EPD features?
EPD provides all the interested parties (Stakeholders) with confidence of:
- Openness to all products and services
- Openness to all interested parties
- Environmental Impact Orientation
Is an EPD published by EPDIndia internationally recognized?
YES. EPD India can be considered for indian product as a gate to international markets. EPDIndia has signed a MOU with EPD Italy (Italian EPD Program Operator) to ensure the mutual recognition of:
EPD of Indian Companies, duly verified by a recognized Certification Body (e.g. ICMQ India) and published by EPDIndia will be not only published in Italy but also recognized all over Europe thanks to the recognized role of EPDItaly in Eco-Platform.
What is the ECO Platform?
ECO-Platform is an European initiative for the development of verified environmental information of construction products, especially through EPDs based on the standard EN 15804.
Eco Plaform, established by European EPD program operators, European Trade Associations in the construction sector and LCA practitioners, is not a programme or programme operator in itself, but it has the objective of ensuring that environmental or sustainability performance information about a product comply with the new EU Standard and are harmonised across borders.
EPDItaly is one of the eleven founding Organisations of the platform and cooperate to align the common understanding of technical issues, quality management and the communication of environmental declarations of construction products.
For more information about ECO Platform, see http://www.eco-platform.org.
How does EPD works?
Developing and publishing an EPD with the EPDIndia Program Operator consists of the following steps
- Look for existing relevant PCR document for the product category you need or create one
- Perform an LCA study based on that PCR
- Prepare the EPD
- Ask for a Third Party Verification
- Apply for the EPD Registration and Publication
What are the content of an EPD?
The EPD contents include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
- Product definition and information
- Information about basic material and the material’s origin
- Description of the product’s manufacturing process
- Indication of product processing
- Information about the in-use conditions
- Life Cycle Assessment results
- Test results and verifications
What is the validity of an EPD?
An EPD is valid from the date of Registration & Publication of the EPD to the validity date declared in the EPD itself, which is normally three years. For construction products the EPD validity is five years.
Following dates have to be specified in the EPD:
- “Publication date” (sometimes referred to as “Issue Date” or “Registration Date”): the date when the EPD is submitted by an Organization for Registration. This date remains the same even with later updates of the EPD.
- “Revision date“: set the date corresponding to the date when the updated EPD is submitted for publication.
- “Validity date” set during verification as plus 3 or 5 years (construction products) from the verification report date.
An expired EPD can still be published to give environmental information for products still in use, but can not been used for marketing communications. Regardless of the validity, a published EPD shall be updated during its validity if one of the environmental indicators has worsened for over 10% compared with the data currently published.
Is there a template available for creating EPDs?
YES. Upon request EPDIndia provides organizations with a voluntary EPD template. CompaniesOrganizations are free to use their own branding in the EPD.
What is the difference between an EPD and an Environmental Label (e.g. Get It Green)?
EPD and an Environmental Label, like Get it Green, are both voluntary tools based on the series of ISO 14020 Standards and Independent Verification. They serve similar purposes but provide complementary information, depending on the information needs and target audience.
EPD provides verified, objective and detailed information about the life cycle environmental impact of a product based on the results of the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) in compliance with ISO 14025 standard.
Get it Green is an Environmental Labels according to ISO 14024 and is a third-party verified demonstration that the product fulfils the environmental criteria laid down in the Product Environmental Protocols (PEPs) published by the Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce.
EPD Programme Operator
What is the role of a Programme Operator?
ISO 14025 states that: [Type III environmental declarations] are subject to the administration of a programme operator, such as a company or a group of companies, industrial sector or trade association, public authorities or agencies, or an independent scientific body or other organisation.
The key functions of an EPD Programme Operator include (but are not limited to) the following:
- To select existing suitable Product Category Rule(s) (PCR) where they exist
- To modify existing PCRs as required to create specific PCRs for the products
- To develop new PCRs where none exist
- To maintain a transparent procedure for the review of existing PCRs and new PCRs compliant with these program rules and relevant standards, including details of the review process
- To establish the procedure for EPD verification
- To ensure the selection of competent EPD verifiers
- To publish verified EPDs
- To maintain publicly available lists and records of PCR documents and verified EPDs
- To revise, re-issue and implement the program operator instructions and documents
- To make the Program Operator Instructions publicly available at www.epdindia.in
What are the EPD India programme’s objectives?
EPD India fulfils the following objectives:
- to facilitate the development and verification of credible, comparable and consistent EPDs for both Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) applications.
- to assist specifiers, purchasers and users of products and materials (particularly in the field of construction and infrastructure) to make informed comparisons between products
What is the role of EPD India in publishing an EPD?
EPD India programme provides the market with transparency in communication and publication of the EPDs prepared and verified in compliance with ISO 14025.
The list of products with a validated EPD within the EPDIndia programme is publicly available at www.epdindia.in
How Organization may leave feedback or complaints on an EPD, PCR or other documents?
It is possible to file a feedback or a complaint regarding EPDs, PCR or other published documents by sending an e-mail to the IPDIndia Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous complaints will not be considered. Complaint of any kind will handled within two weeks.
What is a Product Category Rule (PCR)?
A Product Category Rule (PCR) is defined as “a set of specific rules, requirements and guidelines for developing Type III Environmental Product Declarations for one or more products categories” (ISO 14025). In simple words the PCR is a reference document specifying provisions for conducting an LCA (collecting, measuring and reporting data) and preparing an EPD to ensure comparability between products that perform the same functions.
The PCR is developed according to ISO 14025 requirements and defines the calculation rules for LCA and the declaration format of a Type III Environmental Declaration based on this LCA study and additional information.
EPD India, like other Programme Operators, publishes its PCR library and all PCRs under development at www.epdindia.in.
Who prepares a PCR?
The PCR development process is led by the Programme Operator.
The Programme Operator also maintains the copyright of the PCR to allow the publication, update (when necessary) and assurance that the PCR is publicly available to all companies interested to use if for developing and preparing EPDs in the EPDIndia Programme.
Does the PCR development involve all the Interested Parties?
YES. PCR documents must be developed according to an internationally-accepted approach based on an open, transparent and participatory process by:
- Companies and Organisations in co-operation with other parties, such as Trade Associations
- Institutions involving LCA/EPD experts in close cooperation with Companies or Trade Associations and interest Organisations
- single Organisations in case they have the necessary in-house competence or willling to engage outside LCA/EPD experts.
Participants in a PCR development are acknowledged in the document and on the website.
Is there a specific procedure for approving a PCR?
YES. Prior to the final publication of PCR documents an open consultation procedure must be implemented to give all interested parties and stakeholders an opportunity to be informed about, to influence and to comment on the draft document. The consultation is facilitated by a PCR Moderator which, after consultation, is responsible for the finalisation of the PCR proposal taken into due consideration all comments received.
A Report shall be prepared including a short description of the open consultation process, the parties participating in the consultation, the main comments received and how these last have been handled.
Based on this Report and the updated PCR draft, the Technical Committee will review and formally approve the final PCR document prior to publication. The approval and publication phase normally takes about four weeks from the submission of a final draft by the PCR Moderator to the Secretariat.
Is there a validity period established for a PCR?
YES. A PCR is valid for a pre-determined period of time, normally from three to five years.
When a PCR expires, the document must be updated before being used to produce new EPDs or to register an update of an existing EPD with a prolonged validity.
Does EPDIndia helps in finding existing PCR documents?
YES. EPD India provides all the interested parties with a searchable database of available PCRs within the programme including those under preparation, approval or subject for review and update.
Before starting a PCR development process a verification of existing PCR approved by EPDIndia or any other ISO 14025 compliant environmental declaration programme. For futher information contact EPDIndia Secretary: email@example.com.
Is it possible to comment on existing PCRs?
YES. EPDIndia enables all interested parties to comment on all phases of the PCR development (preparation, consultation phase, as well as the review and update of the documents). Comments on PCRs may be provided in the PCR Forum on this website (accessible on the page of each PCR) or sent directly to the PCR Moderator via e-mail.
Is the PCR for “Construction Materials and Service” internationally recognized?
YES. Whenever possible EPDIndia adopts PCRs prepared and published by EPDItaly and consequently approved within the Eco-Platform network.
For example EPDIndia has adopted the core PCR “Construction materials and services” referring to the European standard EN 15804:2012+A1:2013, “Sustainability of construction works – Environmental product declarations – Core rules for the product category of construction products” approved by EPDItaly to harmonize environmental declarations across Programme Operators.
EN 15804 standard is complementary to ISO 14025, which provides rules on how to operate a programme for type III environmental declarations.
The MOU signed between EPDIndia and EPDItaly ensures the mutual recognition of the “core PCR” between India and Europe.
What is an Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), in compliance with ISO Standards, is the most reliable method to verify environmental impacts and support claims of a product or service through all stages of its life cycle.
LCA is a technique to assess environmental impacts during all stages of a product’s life, from raw material extraction and processing, to product manufacture, distribution, use, repair, maintenance, and disposal or recycling. LCA provides designers, regulators and engineers with valuable information for exploring decisions in each life stage of materials, buildings, services and infrastructures.
What are the reference standards?
The leading standards for LCA are ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. They address requirements for:
- Definition of the goal and scope of the LCA
- Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analysis phase
- Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phase
- Interpretation phase
- Reporting and critical review of the LCA
Does the LCA measure the environmental impacts of a product?
YES. The Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) is a crucial part of the LCA to verify the impact of a product on the following environmental impacts along its lyfe cycle:
- Global Warming
- Photochemical smog
- Abiotic resource depletion
- Human Health
Does LCA results into benefits for marketing products?
YES. Increasing number of companies use LCA to demonstrate transparency and corporate credibility to stakeholders and customers.
LCA is also used in new product research and development, when environmental footprint is important for the future marketing or for the cost structure of a product. LCA helps to identify those stages in production processes and in use which cause or have the potential to cause pollution, and those which have a heavy material or energy demand. Breaking down the manufacturing process into fine details can also be an aid to identify the use of scarce resources, showing where a more sustainable resource could be substituted. LCAs might be conducted by an industry sector to enable it to identify areas where improvements, in environmental terms, can be made. Alternatively the LCA may be intended to provide environmental data for the public or the government. LCA is recognized in business rationales in consideration of the increasing consumer and regulatory environmental expectations in demand and sophistication.
- LCA’s growing significance is evident in the Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which report LCA data.
- The benefit of LCA is simple: reliable, transparent data for both manufacturers and consumers, enabling better decisions.
Who prepares the LCA?
The Organization has the responsibility of performing the LCA on a specific product in accordance with the relevant Product Category Rules (PCR) either internally (provided the required competences are available) or externally (supported by specialized consultants).
Can EPDIndia help an Organization to perform the LCA?
NO. An EPD Programme Operator cannot be involved in providing Organizations with consulting services in order to prevent any conflict of interest.
In the event an Organization needs a consultant for designing the database, collecting the relevant data, modelling the product life cycle and calculating the results, EPDIndia may provide a list of consultants able to support them in all these processes.
It must be clarified that such list is not at all to be considered a recommendation by EPDIndia.
Time and costs
Is EPD useful only for large companies?
NO. EPD is applicable to Companies of any size. Data from ECO-Platform members show that EPD is used from Large, Small-Medium and Micro size Companies.
Instead large companies are registering many EPDs for their products, while smaller companies normally publish only one or two EPDs focusing on their key products. EPDIndia encourages the participation of small and micro companies (up to 10 employees).
How long does it take to develop and publish an EPD?
The two most time-consuming steps are to create a PCR (if not already available) and to perform the underlying LCA study. If a PCR is already developed, the LCA study may be carried out in parallel to the drafting of the document.
Developing a PCR in an open and transparent process which normally takes from 5 to 12 months.
Performing an LCA study in accordance with the PCR may take anywhere from 1 to 12 months depending on the availability of data and the amount of LCA work that has been done in the company to date.
Registration by EPDIndia upon receiving the proper documentation normally takes only 1-3 working days.
What is the cost for developing an EPD?
The Organization has the responsibility of performing the LCA. The LCA must be conducted according to the provisions specified in the relevant PCR approved by EPDIndia programme.
If the PCR does not exists EPDIndia provides Associations and Organizations with a support during the PCR development. There are no fees associated with PCR development and publication.
The costs borne by the Organization for performing the LCA and preparing the EPD for one or more products may include:
- designing the Database structure and collecting data
- performing the underlying Life Cycle Assessment (in accordance with the PCR)
- recording the LCA data into the EPD reporting format
Once the LCA has been completed and the EPD prepared, the entire documentation must be submitted to a Third Party Approved Body (e.g. ICMQ India) for verification and validation. The cost for such activity shall be recognized to the Third Party Body.
The total cost associated to the LCA conduction, EPD preparation, EPD third party verification are difficult to estimate because depend on several variables.
For more detailed information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the Publication Fees?
Once the Organization gets the validation Certificate by a Third Party the EPD is ready for publication in the EPDIndia web site.
The Fees for pubblication include:
- Application Fee (the fee depends on the number of products applied for EPD)
- Registration fee (including the licence right of using the EPDIndia logo associated to the product for the entire validity period)
The applicable fees for EPD publication are available here
Is it possible to prepare EPDs in a more cost-efficient way?
YES. EPD India has several options for cost-effective EPDs: an Organization can create and use an internal or external tool to carry out an LCA. Such a tool needs no approval from the EPDIndia to be used, and the results and the EPDs based on the results are verified in the same way as though the calculations had been done in dedicated LCA software.
An Industry Association may develop a pre-verified EPD tool to be used by its Associated Members. This tool can simplify LCA calculations provided it is previously verified for getting correct results based on a correct input. The resulting EPD would, however, still need to be verified.
Is there any additional cost to publish an EPD in multiple languages?
NO. Publishing an EPD in multiple languages is included in the registration fee