The Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint method should explicitly exclude construction products

The European Commission published a Communication and a Recommendation on the Internal Market for Green Products with the aim to promote the use of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEL) methods. The environmental performance of a product should be calculated with the Joint Research Centre's new life cycle assessment tool. While PU Europe fully supports efforts to introduce life cycle assessments, it calls for a clear statement that the PEF method will not apply to construction products.

Oliver Loebel, Secretary General of PU Europe stated, “Some years ago, the European Commission mandated the development of standards for the assessment of the environmental performance of construction products. These standards are published and the construction products industry has spent millions of Euros to have Environmental Product Declarations developed and third-party certified. It would be a disaster for this crisis-hit industry, if all that money had been spent in vain, as the same Commission now proposes a slightly different scheme.”

PU Europe sees it as an encouraging sign that the Communication stresses the Commission’s will to support sector-specific activities (including construction), and work on or promote compatibility between these methods. The construction products industry is faced with a rapidly increasing number of national and regional environmental assessment schemes. Working towards compatibility between PEF and the European standards would certainly be in the interest of the industry.

“The Commission must recognise that the construction industry is far more advanced in its efforts. Many product groups, including thermal insulation, are already working on specific product category rules based on the horizontal CEN standards. The results of this work must be respected”, Loebel concluded.

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