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.
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:
The three-year testing period was launched through an open call for volunteers. The call is now closed. Details are available on the Product Environmental Footprint and the Organisation Environmental Footprint sites.
Applications will be reviewed and the list of selected pilots will be available by the end of September 2013 at the latest. At that moment, stakeholders will 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.
The work for each pilot is expected to start in early November 2013.
Please note that a second call for volunteers addressed to the food/feed/drink products and sector will be published in 2014.