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Single Market for Green Products Initiative

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of choices of methods and initiatives, and might find it needs to apply several of them in order to prove the product's green credentials. This is turning into a barrier for the circulation of green products in the Single Market.

    Example:

    A given company wishing to market its product as a green product in UK, France, Italy and Switzerland would need to apply different schemes in order to compete based on environmental performance in the different national markets. In France, it would need to carry out an environmental assessment in line with the French method (BP X30-323); in the UK, it would need to apply the PAS 2050 or the WRI GHG Protocol; in Switzerland, it would need to apply the Swiss approach (currently under development); in Italy, it would need to join the governmentally recognised carbon footprint scheme, and carry out yet another analysis. The same company would also need to develop an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) based on ISO 14025 for the Swedish market. They may then need to undertake multiple EPDs as there are at least six competing EPD systems around the world with their own specificities, even if they are all based on ISO 14025.

Consumers are also confused by the stream of incomparable and diverse environmental information: according to a recent Eurobarometer, 48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive. This also affects their readiness to make green purchases.

The Single Market for Green Products initiative proposes a set of actions to overcome these problems:

  • it establishes two methods to measure environmental performance throughout the lifecycle, the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF);
  • it recommends the use of these methods to Member States, companies, private organisations and the financial community through a Commission Recommendation;
  • it announces a three-year testing period to develop product- and sector-specific rules through a multi-stakeholder process;
  • it provides principles for communicating environmental performance, such as transparency, reliability, completeness, comparability and clarity;
  • it supports international efforts towards more coordination in methodological development and data availability.

Commissioner Potočnik announced the adoption of the Communication on the 9th April during the Midday Report

Video

The three-year testing period was launched through an open call for volunteers. Details on the ongoing pilots are available on the Product Environmental Footprint and the Organisation Environmental Footprint sites.

Stakeholders have the possibility to sign up to follow the development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRS) and Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules (OEFSRs) that are relevant for them on the Environmental Footprint Wiki.

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