In its conclusions on the Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan the Council invited the Commission "taking into account Member States' experience, to start working as soon as possible on common voluntary methodologies facilitating the future establishment of carbon audits for organisations and the calculation of the carbon footprint of products".
As a follow-up to the Council conclusions, the European Commission conducted two studies
On this basis, a Product Environmental Footprint and Organisation Environmental Footprint projects were initiated with the aim of developing a harmonized environmental footprinting methodology that can accommodate a broader suite of relevant environmental performance criteria.
The Communication on Single Market Act also included a specific objective on environmental footprint:
Proposal No 10: Before 2012, the Commission will look into the feasibility of an initiative on the Ecological Footprint of Products to address the issue of the environmental impact of products, including carbon emissions. The initiative will explore possibilities for establishing a common European methodology to assess and label them.
In its conclusion on the "Sustainable materials management and sustainable production and consumption" (December 2010), the European Council invited the Commission to "develop a common methodology on the quantitative assessment of environmental impacts of products, throughout their life-cycle, in order to support the assessment and labelling of products".
The publication of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap strengthened further and defined the future role of the environmental footprint methodology by explaining that the Commission will:
The European Commission gathered views and additional information on the potential measures related to Sustainable Consumption and Production through a public consultation. As part of this, we were consulting on options for policies implementing the Product Environmental Footprint and Organisation Environmental Footprint. The consultation also looked at Green Public Procurement [make sure that this link opens in a new page]. The summary report of the consultation is available.
These actions were implemented through the adoption of the Communication Building the Single Market for Green Products and of the Commission Recommendation on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations. The package
To prepare further work regarding communication, a study was carried out on Different options for communicating environmental information for products (2012) (study Annexes).
Read further on the 2013-16 Environmental Footprint pilot phase.