What is PEFCR?
Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) is a book of rules on how to perform a PEF study for a product of a particular category. A PEFCR is developed by the industry based on the instructions provided in the PEF methodology, and usually with dedicated support from a consultancy that has in-depth knowledge of the PEF method and the PEFCR development process. Once the PEFCR has been established, the rules can be used throughout the European market and allow product manufacturers to easily generate and communicate comparable PEF results. This enables the industry to increase transparency and lower its environmental impact.
What does the development process look like?
The development of a PEFCR consists of a number of consecutive steps predefined within the PEF methodology.
- A Technical Secretariat is established to lead the development.
- As a foundation for drafting the PEFCR, first a PEF study is conducted on an existing or virtual product (RP) that represents average European market sales within the product category. The results from this study will be included as a benchmark.
- Using the insights from the first RP study, the first draft of the PEFCR is developed. Feedback will be collected from a public consultation. Product manufacturers will also test the feasibility of using the PEFCR by performing several supporting studies.
- A second RP study is conducted taking into account the received feedback. This results in an updated benchmark and a revised second draft.
- After another round of public consultation and a critical review from an independent third-party panel, final adjustments are made, and the final PEFCR is then sent to the European Commission for approval.
How will a PEFCR be used?
On one hand, once the PEFCR is created for a category of industry products, organisations across Europe can then follow these rules and carry out the PEF calculations. The European Commission has also made the data sets accompanying the PEFCRs available. The calculation models and input data they provide are very structured and standardized. This is a very cost-effective way of doing an LCA as a lot of the initial legwork has already been done. The process can usually be simplified further by creating a tool.
On the other hand, PEFCR can become a solid ground for industry associations in establishing benchmark performance of the products and developing reliable labelling schemes.
During the development, an independent third-party review panel safeguards that the final PEFCR is in compliance with the PEF method requirements. The feasibility of using the PEFCR by LCA practitioners is one of the key aspects. After publication, it should enable the streamlined execution of PEF studies, resulting in credible, relevant, and consistent PEF profiles.
The PEF method provides predefined review criteria to ensure a compliant final PEFCR. Using these criteria, the review panel evaluates the following deliverables:
- First and second reference product (PEF-RP) studies, including the RP model and PEF-RP reports
- Supporting studies
- Second draft
To safeguard the quality and independence of the review, the panel has to be composed of a minimum of three members (a chair and two members), including an LCA expert with a background in the product category, one industry expert, and ideally a representative from NGOs. The competencies of the panel members, including experience in EF/LCA methodology and practice, are subject to a standardized assessment according to the PEF method.
Ecomatters has been actively involved in PEFCR development. We support the paint industry every step of the way in developing and updating the PEFCR for Decorative paints. Currently, we are involved in the development of the PEFCR for commercial passenger aircrafts, led by the European Union Aviation & Safety Agency (EASA). We are also direct members of the PEF Technical Advisory board. Get in touch with one of our PEF specialists to know more about the details of PEFCR development.
For a smooth review process and valuable feedback, it is crucial that the panel chair/members have an in-depth knowledge of the PEFCR development process. At Ecomatters, our LCA experts have extensive experience in both chairing and participating in PEFCR review panels. Our vast expertise with PEF allows us to organize the review as efficiently as possible and ensures the delivery of indispensable feedback for taking your PEFCR to the next level.
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