Politics & Economy

Products with footprints

In our high-waste society supermarkets are flooded with products, each claiming to be better than the other ones. In such a brand jungle it is almost impossible to decide which product is not only the best solution for us but also for planet Earth. For citizens of the European Union this decision might soon be a lot easier. The EU starts the pilot phase of a new project this July.

Ecological footprint

Ecological footprint (Photo credit: .scribe)

Consumer goods might soon become greener! The European Union is working on a method to measure the environmental footprints of products and services: the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). The aim is to have comparable values about the environmental performances of goods  as well as to “display and benchmark the environmental performance of products and services”. The PEF shall increase the faith of consumers, partners and investors. The measurements will not only include the impacts of producing and transporting goods, but will assess the performance during the whole life cycle.

When establishing the PEF the EU expects companies to optimise their processes and to minimise the environmental impacts. If the standards are fulfilled companies can market their goods as green products.

Today, many citizens are unsure how to make right decisions. As the EU states on their website, “48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive.” When introducing the PEF, it will be a lot easier for consumers to make a bigger impact on reducing waste and energy.

The PEF was developed as a part of Europe’s 2020 Strategy: “A Resource-Efficient Europe”. The European Commision now invites companies and industrial organisations to particpate in the three-years trial period. During this time the experts will develop and analyse fair methods to asses the PEF. Companies and industrial organisations are welcome to apply for this programme until July 26.

What do you think about the PEF: is it overdue or useless?


More information:
The Official Journal of the European Union, Vol. 56
The call for participants


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