Feature Short

The DNA of EPDs: The Making of Product Category Rules

PCRs are the instruction manuals behind EPDs. They’re supposed to provide foolproof rules for conducting LCAs, but they can also be the system’s fatal flaw.

Product category rules (PCRs) are meant to be objective, defining documents that serve as the guidelines for life-cycle assessments (LCAs), which in turn inform environmental product declarations (EPDs). They help promote fairness by ensuring that all the products of the same type are measured with the same yardstick.

If an LCA is going to be used for an EPD, the corresponding PCR has to follow ISO 14025, which defines and helps standardize PCRs. In theory, PCRs should be “reproducible, with all value judgments taken away,” according to Rita Schenck, executive director of the Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE), a not-for-profit LCA provider and program operator. “The PCR is the pivot. Having the PCR right is essential.”

Published August 3, 2015