EPD – How to create an EPD

By Mattias Jönsson

8 April, 2021

Create an EPD

What exactly is an EPD?

Environmental product declaration (EPD) is a condensed version of an complete Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report. It transparently communicates the sustainability impact or effect of any product or substance on the environment over its lifespan convincingly.

Constituents of an EPD

An EPD made up of two records is customarily valid for five years:

  • A detailed and thorough review of the LCA project is included in the EPD history project report to assist the third-party verifier in checking it. 

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  • The findings are available in a public document

 How does an EPD work?

The market values an EPD due to its solid structure. It’s focused on well-defined guidelines and international norms. Before being released by an Program Operator, it is subjected to third-party testing to ensure its independence and objectivity.

An EPD helps to reduce carbon emissions by allowing consumers to compare the effects of various materials and goods to choose the most eco-friendly alternative. 

Development process

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14025-compliant EPD is created in four steps:

1.    Find an applicable PCR

Finding suitable Product Category Rules (PCR) is the first step. PCRs ensure that all EPDs for related products obey the same set of guidelines, allowing them to compare similar products. The PCR to be used must be specified in the International EPD System and must be legitimate and well-grounded at the verification time. If a PCR for the product type of interest does not exist, one must generate it using the method outlined under PCR Development. 

2.    Run a LCA

Conducting a LCA is the cornerstone of creating an EPD.

A lifecycle perspective conveys environmental efficiency in an EPD. The LCA research may be done in-house or with the assistance of a specialist who specializes in LCA and environmental declarations. The verification cost must be agreed upon and compensated between the firm and the verifier. It should not be included in the consultant’s bid to prevent any potential dispute between a contractor and the verification.

The LCA study must adhere to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044’s internationally recognized principles, framework, methodology, and practices for LCA, as well as the general purpose of EPDs in data collection, the methods and assumptions advocated in ISO standard 14025 and defined in Annex A of the General Programme Instructions, and the PCR applicable for LCA.

3.    Create your EPD

Formulate the EPD by combining the findings of your LCA with additional data required by

  •  The guide PCR and
  •  The General Programme Instructions.

 It can also be done in-house or with the assistance of a specialist.

The document content must conform to ISO 14020, be verifiable, correct, applicable, and not deceptive, and must not contain ranking, opinions, recommendations, or clear contrasts to other goods.

4.    Verify, Register, and Publish 

Before an EPD may be released, an independent third-party verifier must validate it. It guarantees that the document is credible and correct and meets the specifications of the applicable PCR.

Verification procedure:

The verification procedure is of LCA-related records, associated environmental evidence, including other data transmitted in an EPD based on the General Programme Instructions and a reliable reference PCR by an authorized individual verifier or an authorized certification agency. The other is EPD process certification. It is the inspection of an internal planning strategy directed at developing the document based on the General Program Instructions and appropriate target PCRs protected within the certification scope by an authorized certification agency. 

Your completed document is made available to the Program Operator for registration and inclusion in their publicly available list of EPDs.

It is then published and made available to the general public.

We hope that this article has given you a better idea of how EPD works and how it might assist you. If you have any further questions, don´t hesitate to contact us!