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The Environmental Footprint Pilots

Table of content:


Discuss the pilots, consult the documents and provide comments through the Environmental Footprint E-commenting Wiki pages!

Instructions for registration


The 2013-2016 Environmental Footprint (EF) pilot phase has three main objectives:

  • test the process for developing product- and sector-specific rules;
  • test different approaches to verification;
  • test communication vehicles for communicating life cycle environmental performance to business partners, consumers and other company stakeholders.


The pilot process

All pilots carry out the following steps (steps in grey are completed by all 26 pilots):

Rounded Rectangle: Analysis of existing PCRs   and/or sectoral guidance   

Whenever possible, the rules in Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) and draft Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules (OEFSRs) are based on existing work.

Rounded Rectangle: Consultation on scope and representative product/ organisation



  • the precise definition of the product group or sector (product portfolio);
  • the results of the analysis of existing Product Category Rules and/ or sectoral guidance to check potential compliance with the requirements of the Environmental Footprint methods;
  • the "representative product" or "representative organisation", which describes the features of a typical average product sold on the market or an organisation typical to the sector.

Rounded Rectangle: Approval by the Steering Committee


Rounded Rectangle: Screening

This is a simplified Environmental Footprint for the representative product/ organisation. It is performed to understand which are the most relevant life cycle stages, processes and environmental impacts. This document is checked by the European Commission (screening review).

Rounded Rectangle: Consultation 1st draft PEFCR/ OEFSR



The draft PEFCRs and draft OEFSRs are prepared based on the results of the screenings. They are the "recipe" for calculating the environmental footprint for the product or sector.
This is a virtual consultation. Comments can be uploaded through the Environmental Footprint Wiki (instructions for signing up).
Pilots produce the 2nd draft of the PEFCR / OEFSR based on the consultation.

Rounded Rectangle: Approval of the 2nd draft PEFCR/OEFSR by the SC

This draft should also include a preliminary indication of 3-4 communication vehicles that the pilot judges to be appropriate for the product / sector.

Rounded Rectangle: Supporting studies

The Environmental Footprint profile is calculated for at least 3 products or companies based on the 2nd draft PEFCR/ OEFSR. The results of this exercise are going to be the basis for the communication phase and for the testing of verification approaches.

Rounded Rectangle: Testing communication vehicles

The testing of communication vehicles will be carried out based on the Background Document for the Testing of Communication Vehicles in the Environmental Footprint Pilot Phase 2013-2016.

Rounded Rectangle: Consultation final PEFCR/ OEFSR

The final PEFCR/ OEFSR is based on the experiences with the supporting studies and communication phase. A four-week consultation will take place.

Rounded Rectangle: Review by the review panel

Each pilot appoints a 3-member review panel. The panel's remarks will be taken into consideration for the final version of the documents.

Rounded Rectangle: Approval of the final   PEFCR/ OEFSR by the SC


The process will be finalised by 31/12/ 2016.

In order to understand the process and its governance, please consult the Guidance for the implementation of the EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) during the Environmental Footprint (EF) pilot phase and the Guidance for the implementation of the EU Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) Pilot Projects. The documents provide detailed information on the process of developing PEFCRs or OEFSRs and on the role of different actors throughout the process.


Product Environmental Footprint pilots

The links in the table below lead to factsheets on the pilots, stating the scope and status of the project, and the companies participating in the Technical Secretariat.

Date of 1st consultation meeting

Virtual consultation
open until

Batteries and accumulators

25 February 2014

24 August 2015

Decorative paints

6 March 2014

30 July 2015

Hot and cold water supply pipes

20 March 2014

7 May 2015

Household detergents

24 March 2014

6 May 2015

Intermediate paper product (JRC)

17 March 2014

10 August 2015

IT equipment

6 March 2014

21 August 2015


22 January 2015

9 December 2015

Metal sheets

7 March 2014

2 June 2015


13 March 2014

25 May 2015

Photovoltaic electricity generation

9 April 2014

19 July 2015

Stationery (discontinued)

30 April 2014


Thermal insulation

15 October 2014

4 December 2015


14 March 2014

7 October 2015

Uninterruptible Power Supply

26 February 2014

10 August 2015


26 September 2014

18 October 2015


16 October 2014

30 September 2015


31 October 2014

26 July 2015

Feed for food-producing animals

28 October 2014

3 October 2015

Marine fish

20 November 2014

8 March 2016

Meat (bovine, pigs, sheep)

19 December 2014

16 December 2015

Olive oil

30 October 2014

11 December 2015

Packed water

8 October 2014

24 July 2015


14 November 2014

20 January 2016

Pet food (cats & dogs)

24 October 2014

21 August 2015


25 November 2014

30 January 2016


Organisation Environmental Footprint pilots

1st consultation

2nd consultation


21 February 2014
Additional online consultation until 20/05/2014

until 27 May 2015

Copper production (JRC)

10 March 2014

until 1 June 2015

A 3rd pilot on household sanitary goods and toiletries had been selected to be led by the EC Joint Research Centre. However, the European Commission decided to stop this OEFSR pilot as it became progressively evident that the pilot was not sufficiently backed by the major producers and the relevant European associations. Considering that the Commission position about this exercise has always been not to impose anything to industry but rather to help addressing needs on their side, the pilot is stopped starting from 7/4/2014.

Communication phase

One of the objectives of the EF Pilots is to test different communication vehicles to convey environmental footprint information. A background document was prepared by the Commission to help testers with carrying out communication tests.


SME Tools

The European Commission initiated a contract for the proof-of-concept of software tools for SMEs to provide information on their environmental performance. The tools will be shaped around 4 pilot cases. For now, two of these cases were identified: PEFCR T-shirt and PEFCR beer. The tools will have to accessible to non-experts, be simple and attractive to use.

On the 28th of March 2014 a webinar took place to consult on the software concept.

A webinar was held on the 3rd of December on the prototype. The prototype shows the basic functionalities of the software, it is not yet possible to carry out any EF calculations and it is not yet adapted to any PEFCR or OEFSR.



The European Commission commissioned a study to support the task of developing appropriate compliance system(s) / mechanism(s) for PEF and OEF. The operational objectives of the study were to 1) review and describe existing compliance systems used for mandatory or voluntary policy tools used for products or organisations, for which embedded/indirect impacts are considered; 2) define and characterise various options for compliance systems; 3) assess the estimated costs of compliance of selected options and the estimated reliability rate of selected options, and 4) provide recommendations on the most suitable option for PEF/OEF declarations.


Documents and links