Ecodesign & Product Environmental Footprinting initiative
The Ecodesign directive imposes requirements on the ecological design of energy-consuming or energy-related products such as consumer electronics and insulation materials but also industrial equipment like transformers, ventilation units and pumps. The EU Package on Circular Economy announced that the scope of the Ecodesign directive will be extended from energy performance to the reparability, lifetime and recyclability of products. LCA can be a very useful tool to assess tipping points in design for circular economy: e.g. lifetime versus recycled content.
The EU PEF project aims at developing a harmonized LCA methodology to assess the environmental impacts of products. In short, it means that different LCA studies on, for example, TV monitors will be done in the same way to prevent the current situation of comparing ‘apples with pears’.
It is not clear yet how PEF will be implemented in legislation. In the Circular Economy Package, it is mentioned as an option for consumer communication. In addition, PEF could be a basis for the EU Ecolabel, Green Public Procurement or become the standard method to compare the environmental performance of products and services.