EPD stands for Environmental Product Declaration. This term might not speak volumes, but it does consist of two, for us, important parts: Environment and product.
Environmental product declarations provide information on the impact a product has on the environment over its entire product life cycle.
The products are described on the basis of life cycle assessments in accordance with the international standards ISO 14040, ISO 14025 and EN 15804.
What is described?
In detail, environmental impacts of a product are described over its entire life cycle. The life cycle of a product includes the following stages:
For each stage of the life cycle, material and energy flows from the processes are collected. In the next step, their environmental impacts are assigned to them: For example, the CO2 equivalents of materials or required electrical power. The required data is extracted from an external database. The entries for this are compiled from various sources and are based on data from industry and sciences. Adding it all up results in the ecological footprint of a product.
EPDs are created for individual article numbers. Different sizes or performances result in different environmental impacts.
What are EPDs needed for?
This elaborate process raises the question what EPDs can be used for. Environmental product declarations are particularly valuable for customers. On one hand, it allows them to compare equivalent products and choose the more sustainable option. On the other hand, it helps customers to have their projects certified. For example, independent sustainability assessment methods such as BREEAM or LEED can be used to certify buildings as sustainable or “green”.
EPDs at the Zumtobel Group
The Zumtobel Group first issued environmental product declarations in 2009. At that time, EPDs were created in collaboration with an external software and database company together with the programme holder "Institut Bauen und Umwelt" (BMU). This rather complex and costly process, as well as the great demand due to the constantly growing product portfolio, highlighted the need for an independent system.
In 2012, a process structure was developed for this purpose that takes into account the ISO 14040, ISO 14025 and EN 15804 standards and is verified annually by an external programme holder. This allows us to generate EPDs automatically for our Zumtobel, Thorn and Tridonic brands.
This transition from individual studies to an automated creation of EPDs is unique so far and drastically reduces the costs for individual EPDs. This allows us to offer our customers environmental product data on many different products.