An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a voluntary declaration that provides quantitative information about the environmental impact of a product, using life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and verified by an independent third party. It provides a clear, consistent, and transparent basis for reporting broad environmental performance for similar types of materials or products.
EPDs have to meet and comply with specific and strict methodological prerequisites, such as comparisons for different products, and the ability to aggregate these declarations for multiple materials in the supply chain. To achieve this goal, common calculation rules, known as Product Category Rules (PCRs), are established to ensure that standard procedures are used when creating EPDs for similar products.
EPDs are based on PCRs which are established to ensure that EPDs within a similar product type are constructed from comparable data and analysis methods. A product category is a group of products that can fulfill equivalent functions. Once the key attributes of a product’s manufacturing impacts are identified by the PCR, data collection and assessment through the life cycle assessment process becomes more efficient, consistent and cost effective. To ensure credibility, the rules are prepared with input from a wide range of stakeholders to achieve consensus.
EPD have been used for construction products since the first environmental assessment schemes were developed in the 1990s, and an ISO standard for EPD (ISO 14025:2006) sets out the standards they should meet.
Product Category Rules (PCR) for concrete (latest version published in March 2018)
The CSI developed Product Category Rules (PCR) for unreinforced concrete, the common methodology underlying the issuance of an EPD. The CSI PCR is registered under the International EPD System® for use by companies worldwide.
The CSI Sub-PCR complement the PCR 2012:01 Construction products and construction services version 2.2, available at www.environdec.com, with additional rules and methodological instructions by referring to the standard EN 16757:2017. Please note that this Sub-PCR cannot be used as a PCR on its own, but is intended to be a further specification of and to be used together with PCR 2012:01.
PCRs are vital to the concept and practice of EPDs. They establish the assumptions, scope and functional units (e.g. kg or m2), meaning that manufacturers cannot alter them in order to favor their products. EPD can only be compared when the same PCR have been used, ensuring the methodology, data quality and indicators are consistent, and that all the relevant life cycle stages have been included.
CSI EPD tool for cement and concrete
The CSI EPD Tool was developed to facilitate the generation of sector-specific EPDs for cement and concrete but also for clinker, lime and plaster. The cloud-based tool was designed to be easy-to-use, to facilitate the process overall, and to reduce the costs of preparing cement and concrete EPDs.
Joining hands with the Portland Cement Association (PCA), a customized version was developed to include reference PCRs for cement and concreate specific to the US.
CSI EPD tool flyer
|More consistency across industry reports||
|Reduced time and costs for EPDs||
By using the same set of underlying standard across its operations globally, companies demonstrate enhanced credibility on product information. At the same time, the flexibility of the tool allows local adaptation to applicable laws and industry practice in different regions (e.g. treatment for allocation of slag), thus enhancing the applicability of the tool under different context, without jeopardizing the overall consistency of its methodological basis.