Is Your Product Meeting the Growing Requirements for Sustainability?
In an age of numerous ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’ claims there is a growing demand for product transparency in a population that is becoming more conscientious of environmental impacts. Approximately every three years, the California Energy Commission raises its building energy efficiency standards to meet the increasing demand for sustainability. Product sustainability is a common topic that international environmental agencies are addressing worldwide.
To meet these standards, customers and legislators are requiring companies to make their product’s environmental impact information visible. This has attributed to the popularity of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) which are objective, universal assessments that disclose verified information on its environmental performance. EPDs are useful tools for comparing the environmental profiles of similar products by linking them directly to their impacts to help buyers make educated choices. These documents provide trust and transparency that differentiate products from the rest of green movement.
EPDs follow international standards such as ISO 14025 and ISO 14044 in conducting a life cycle assessment or LCA. The LCA requires intensive data gathering on each step of the products lifecycle from cradle-to-grave (as shown in the figure). The LCA calculates impact assessments such as primary energy use, global warming potential, ozone depletions, acidification, eutrophication, and overall resource use. A verified EPD is more than just a marketing tool. An EPD is a powerful internal management tool for both assessing and reducing product impact to remain in regulatory compliance.
The popularity of EPDs is growing with the existence of voluntary programs around the world and federal program in France. All verified EPDs can be published on the International EPD System which now consists of over 1,000 EPDs from 40 different countries. Half of EPDs were published to the database from 2014-2017 showing a strong recent growth in interest for companies to create transparency and analyze their own internal operations. Alta can help you conduct a life cycle assessment and publish your own verified Environmental Product Declaration.
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