- To understand the importance of providing reliable environmental information about the products and services that are placed on the market.
- To know what an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or Ecolabel Type III is, the advantages, requirements and procedure to obtain it.
- To acquire the necessary knowledge regarding the EPD of the European Union for a product, based on information from the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).
- To Know the verification process for the EPD.
- To know what the Product Category Rules (PCR) are.
- To know what the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) of the European Union is.
- To be aware of the advantages and to know the progress on the footwear pilot experience of the Product Environmental Footprint of the European Union and the other industrial sectors involved in the preparation of their specific product category rules (PEFCRs).
- To analyze the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) of the European Union, as a multi-criteria indicator to address the Circular Economy.
What You Will Learn
In this Module the reader will explore the methodology of the Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)-Ecolabel Type III, the specific category rules that up until now have been developed for the footwear sector and the latest advance on the pilot experience of the Product Environmental Footprint. After this module is completed the reader will easily identify the necessary key factors to fairly compare the environmental performance between footwear products that fulfill the same function, focusing always in the main objective “to create a single environmental performance standard”.All of this content is complemented with links to external resources and privilege access to specific footwear sector examples and case studies.
Frequently asked questions
What takes the most time in the process of creating an EPD?
The two most time-consuming steps are the creation of Product Category Rules (if not already available) and to perform the underlying LCA study. Developing a PCR normally takes between 5-12 months. Conducting an LCA study in accordance with the PCR may take between 1-12 months depending on the availability of data.
When does the “pilot phase” of the EPD end?
The pilot phase period was established from 2013-2018, this phase is followed by “the transition phase” which is between 2018-2021.
Everybody is talking about sustainability and green production, but still a big part of the industry (in this case, footwear) is producing cheap short lifetime products. What is being done to give value to quality and durability?
Durability is an important requirement for the Footwear Ecolabel, established in the Commission Decision (EU) 2016/1349 of 5 August 2016 Criterion 7: parameters contributing to durability.
The requirements for durability identify nine types of footwear and performance requirements are set in each category for the following eight parameters:
1. Upper flex resistance
2. Upper tear strength
3. Outsole flex resistance
4. Outsole abrasion resistance
5. Upper sole adhesion
6. Outsole tear strength
7. Colour fastness of linings
8. Lining and sock abrasion resistance
But this issue should be also promoted by government policies, on one side to make the fast fashion industry more responsible and on the other side, to increase awareness among consumers on why considering durability when selecting a product is better for the environment.
Why do many companies mislead customers with green production and sustainability on their marketing campaigns, declaring that the use natural processes that, in fact, were the first processes in the history of production to begin with (for example, tanning with oils, fats and vegetables in the footwear industry)? If these processes are nothing new and are consider natural.
Fortunately, today consumers are more concerned about the environmental impact, climate change and all associated problems, therefore, there is a growing number of consumers willing to pay more for products that they claim are better for the environment. Companies have detected this and are responding to the demands of this valuable consumer sector, unfortunately some only invest in a change of image of the product or service.
The tendency to transform everything (processes, products, services) into "ecological" with a simple change of image and publicity, has been so great and in some cases so grotesque that, in some countries the competent entities have taken measures, for example, prohibiting the use of words like BIO in any product and / or misleading statements.
However, there are legal gaps that make it difficult to regulate vague phrases or the use of colors and images that suggest being greener.
Check the links provided in Modules III and V on "Greenwashing" and green marketing trends, which according to the evolution of consumers who are more concerned today and willing to pay a little more for a product that respects the environment, aims to clean the image of a product or an organization, performing minimal actions or just changing its appearance to a greener, offering the impression to the consumer that it is better for the environment.
In the Product Environmental Footprint (still at pilot phase) future Label, which environmental score (rating) will indicate the best performance?
The top to bottom A-E scale uses a commonly understood visual impression of scores and ratings.
A (best performance)
C (average performance)
E (worst performance)