Commission proposes unique methods to evaluate the environmental footprint of products and organizations

Rating different products and production processes in terms of their environmental performance is currently quite a complex process. The existence of different methods either promoted by public authorities or put forward by private operators forces companies to choose between these options, increasing their costs and making it more difficult for consumers to access reliable and comparable information.

The European Commission has presented a proposal aim at enabling businesses and consumers to enjoy a common framework in order to measure the environmental performance of their products and organizations and to obtain reliable and comparable data. The proposal includes a Communication entitled "Creating the Single Market for Green products" and a Recommendation on how to use of the methods for evaluation.

Specifically, the proposal introduces two methods to measure the environmental performance throughout the lifecycle focused on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF). It recommends Member States, businesses, private organizations and the financial community to implement these methods when evaluation their products and organizations. Further to the adoption of the proposal, a three-year phase will be opened to develop specific rules for certain categories of products and sectors. To do so, an open call for volunteers will be launched through the websites of the environmental footprint of products and the environmental footprint of organizations, inviting companies and industry organizations as well as other stakeholders involved to develop these specific rules.

The Commission's proposal provides a set of common principles which must inspire the communication about environmental performance. These principles include the need for transparency, reliability, completeness, comparability and clarity of the information related to the environmental performance. This initiative steps up on the efforts of the international community in general to ensure greater coordination in the development of common methods and improvement of availability data and also contributes to achieving the objectives of sustainable consumption and production set in the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.