The European Commission – within the scope of the initiative for the SINGLE MARKET FOR GREEN PRODUCTS - is proposing EU-wide methods to measure the environmental performance of products and organisations, and encouraging Member States and the private sector to take these up. Today, companies that wish to highlight the environmental performance of their products have to choose between different methods promoted by governments and/or private initiatives. Providing environmental information often comes with high costs of mapping environmental performance and developing communication means to use such data. In addition, one has to be aware of the distrust of consumers, who are confused by too many labels with information that makes products difficult to compare.
The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is used to measure environmental performance throughout the product’s lifecycle. A 3-year testing period is in place so as to develop product- and sector-specific rules through a multi-stakeholder process. An open call for volunteers was published by the Commission, inviting companies, industrial and stakeholder organisations in the EU and beyond to participate in the development of product-group specific and sector-specific rules.
PEF methodology has been drafted by the EC Joint Research Centre and is based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), covering environmental impacts and pointing to improvement opportunities from the extraction of raw materials to the disposal of a product. PEF Category Rules (PEFCR) complement this methodological guidance for environmental footprinting by providing further specifications at the product level, increasing reproducibility and consistency of PEF studies.
The end goal of this exercise is to be able to provide a measured PEF for consumer goods, food and drink products, giving a certified position for individual companies and products. The full list of Pilot phases can be seen at PEF pilots
For aquaculture, work was initiated by the livestock feed sector, coordinated by FEFAC – the European Federation of Feed Manufacturers, which invited FEAP to participate for the part relative to fish feeds. This effort became the FEED Pilot Phase.
FHL, the Norwegian Seafood Federation, took the initiative to promote a FISH Pilot, covering fish farming (marine and freshwater) and fishing – since it represents both activities in Norway. FEAP was invited and accepted to participate in this, chairing the Technical Secretariat, which includes SINTEF as the technical adviser on LCA methodologies.