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The value of PEF supporting studies

What are PEF supporting studies and why are they important?

The execution of PEF supporting studies are an important step within the process of developing Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR). A PEFCR is a set of rules developed by industry detailing how to perform a PEF study for a product within a particular category. Once the first draft of the PEFCR has been established, its applicability in practice needs to be validated. This is done during PEF Supporting Studies, in which manufacturers test the feasibility of using the modelling rules for their products. This is important for multiple reasons:

  • Modelling rules written in the draft PEFCR can be assessed by industry to determine how feasible they are
  • The benchmark results from the RP can be compared against PEF supporting study results
  • The PEF supporting studies provide valuable insight for the 2nd RP study and 2nd draft PEFCR
  • Product manufacturers build capacity to work with the PEFCR

How is a PEF supporting study conducted?

Usually, the body leading the development of the PEFCR engages with product manufacturers to gauge their interest in doing a PEF supporting study. However, there are several guidelines they need to follow during this stage. It should be ensured that the supporting studies are performed by entities that are not involved in the PEFCR development or review. Additionally, the studies must be carried out for existing products from companies that differ in size, production processes / technologies, and geography.

For each PEF supporting study, a compliant (and confidential) PEF report must be developed. The PEF report provides a relevant, comprehensive, consistent, accurate, and transparent summary of the study.

For manufacturers that decide to carry out a PEF supporting study, there are several available. These range from developing everything internally to fully outsourcing the work or anything in between. The choice mainly depends on the goals in the organisation, as well as availability of resources such as internal expertise.

PEF Supporting Studies

In our experience, organisations that choose to carry out the PEF supporting study internally need to allocate more resources, especially when expertise with LCA (and specifically PEF) is limited. On the other hand, this way of working can lead to a higher level of capacity building because experience in working with the PEFCR is directly gained. This does not mean that the learning curve is necessarily lower when outsourcing (part of) the work. This is because an experienced consultant can provide valuable insights and guidance about the PEFCR process and requirements, which might otherwise be missed. Additionally, by relying on the experience of a specialised consultancy, compliance with the PEFCR is ensured and therefore the review process is streamlined.

Ecomatters as your partner for PEF supporting studies

With extensive experience in employing the PEF methodology and actively contributing to the development of Product Environmental Category Rules (PEFCR), Ecomatters are equipped to provide in-depth support in this domain. Our track record showcases a wealth of expertise in conducting PEF supporting studies, as well as guiding organisations through the intricate process of PEFCR development and review. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can support your organisation.

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Natalia Chebaeva

Senior Consultant

Wouter van Kootwijk

Sustainability Consultant

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