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Mapping diffusion of Environmental Product Declarations released by European program operators

Toniolo, Sara, Mazzi, Anna, Simonetto, Matteo, Zuliani, Filippo, Scipioni, Antonio
Sustainable Production and Consumption 2019 v.17 pp. 85-94
Internet, construction materials, ecolabeling, languages, life cycle assessment, markets, product category rule, France, Germany
In order to facilitate the adoption of green requirements in public procurement, European Commission has developed the Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria for various typologies of products and services. Almost all GPP criteria require environmental labels as means of proof that the goods or supplies correspond to the required environmental characteristics. Among the labels required, there are type III labels, based on a life cycle assessment study.The aim of this study is to (i) investigate to what extent a specific type III label, called Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), is spread in Europe and (ii) explore whether there is a correspondence between institutional initiatives towards GPP and the market.This study explored the valid EPDs presented on the websites of the European program operators between September and December 2016. The identified EPDs were quantified and classified according to the programme operator, title of the reference Product Category Rule (PCR), country, language and the product based on a classification system developed by the United Nations.In total, 4,888 EPDs were collected mainly released by the Institut Baum und Umwelt e.V. (IBU) and PEP ecopassport (PEP). The obtained results showed that countries with the greater number of EPDs are France and Germany and that construction products are the types of products labelled most. The analysis of the languages used in the EPDs showed that 45% of the identified EPDs are written in local languages. The obtained results have been cross-referenced with the national situations in terms of presence of National Action Plans (NAPs) and mandatory rules regarding GPP.Our analysis revealed that there is correspondence between the presence of a NAP with principles towards GPP and the spread in the market of environmental labelling and that the product sectors covered by EPDs correspond to the sectors covered by GPP criteria.