Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

It’s ready! Announcing new guidance for creating product group benchmarks to make EPDs comparable.

By Sustainable Minds on December 1, 2017

Finally, a standardized way to make EPDs comparable. This guidance for creating product group benchmarks represents the completion of the draft benchmarking guidance introduced in July’s webinar.

This new document provides detailed guidelines, process examples, and tools for creating a Benchmarking Addendum to a PCR, which includes the additional rules needed to create an industry-wide EPD for use as a credible product group benchmark; AND how manufacturers can use it to make comparative claims.

For optimal adoption, it is recommended that completing the Benchmarking Addendum become part of any PCR Part B creation process; however, the guidance provides for creating an addendum to any valid PCR.

This benchmarking guidance has been designed to standardize the creation of industry-wide EPDs to:

  • Create product group benchmarks to which manufacturers’ product-specific EPDs can be compared; these EPDs can then be used to demonstrate business advantage and differentiation
  • Encourage more manufacturers to do LCAs of their products by providing for continual participation; not limiting the ability to compare to only manufacturers who participated in the initial industry-wide EPD
  • Set goals for improvement over time by reducing the greatest impacts across all impact categories by life cycle stage
  • Make it possible to achieve the LEED v4 MR credit: “Building product disclosure and optimization – environmental product declarations: option 2” by comparing product-specific EPDs to the industry-wide EPDs

All industry associations and their members, or self-organizing industry group representatives, are invited to create Benchmarking Addenda to establish a point of reference against which LCA results can be compared.

The reason to establish these benchmarks comes directly from ISO 14025, which says: “Type III environmental declarations present quantified environmental information on the life cycle of a product to enable comparisons between products fulfilling the same function.” With a credible product group benchmark established, we are able to deliver on the intent of ISO 14025 to assist decision-makers to make informed comparisons, ultimately encouraging the demand for, and supply of, those products that cause less stress on the environment.

This guidance was made available for public comment and reviewed by the Technical Advisory Board (TAB), the group who oversee the harmonized implementation of the SM Transparency Report™ / EPD Framework. The guidance is a component of the Sustainable Minds Transparency Report™ / EPD Framework, a 2-part PCR program, and can also be used in conjunction with an existing or new PCR from other programs. Visit the Program Operator Consortium website to learn more about PCR Alignment and Creating PCRs.

Program Operator Consortium members are actively seeking industry groups to create pilot Benchmarking Addenda for priority product groups (i.e. those for which building professionals are actively looking to compare results); results to be shared with USGBC representatives. Contact us to learn more.

Join us to learn more during our webinar on Dec 19th | Tuesday, 11am PDT / 2pm EDT Register now >


Download: Guidance for Creating Product Group Benchmarks | Version 1 | November 2017
To create comparative ISO 14025 Type III environmental declarations and set performance improvement goals

Guidance for Creating Product Group Benchmarks V1 Nov 2017 Img