- What is the product carbon footprint (PCF)?
- What are greenhouse gases (GHG)?
- What is life cycle assessment (LCA)?
- What is the difference between corporate and product carbon footprint standards?
- What is the link between corporate and product carbon footprint?
- What are PEF and PEF CR methods?
- What are EPD and PCR?
- Which databases can be used for PCF calculation?
- Which are the existing Scope 3 accounting methods?
What is the product carbon footprint (PCF)?
Product carbon footprint (PCF) is a methodology that calculates the greenhouse gas emissions from products and services along their value chain, including material acquisition, preprocessing, production, distribution, storage, use and end of life.
What are greenhouse gases (GHG)?
Greenhouse gas is any gas that has the property of absorbing infrared radiation (net heat energy) emitted from the Earth’s surface and reradiating it back to the Earth’s surface, thus contributing to the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor are the most common greenhouse gasses.
What is life cycle assessment (LCA)?
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the systematic analysis of the potential environmental impacts of products, processes or services during their entire life cycle. Whereas PCF only accounts for greenhouse gasses (GHG), LCA studies consider other impact categories such as fossil resources depletion or water scarcity.
What is the difference between corporate and product carbon footprint standards?
The Corporate Standard enables a company to assess and identify the greatest GHG impact and reduction opportunities across the entire corporate value chain, while the Product Standard enables a company to study individual products with the greatest potential for reductions.
What is the link between corporate and product carbon footprint?
While each standard can be implemented independently, both standards can also be complementary:
- Apply the Corporate Standard (Scope 3) to identify products with the most significant emissions, then use the Product Standard to identify mitigation opportunities in the selected products’ life cycles.
- Use product-level GHG data based on the Product Standard as a source of data to calculate Scope 3 emissions associated with selected product types.
The sum of the life cycle emissions of each product, combined with additional Scope 3 categories (for example, employee commuting, business travel and investments), should provide an approximation of the company’s total corporate GHG emissions (i.e., Scope 1 + Scope 2 + Scope 3).
What are PEF and PEF CR methods?
Product Environmental Footprint (PEF): The European Commission’s PEF method is designed to help companies make substantiated claims about their product’s impacts, reduce assessment costs and improve product comparisons. They are based on life cycle assessment (LCA).
PEF category rules (PEF CR): The European Commission also established instructions to establish PEF CR, a ruleset describing how to calculate the environmental footprint of a specific product group (usually, they are sector-specific). The resulting rules are applicable in the entire EU market.
What are EPD and PCR?
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD): Environmental declarations (known as EPDs) provide quantified and independently verified environmental information over the life cycle of goods or services. EPDs are methodologically based on the life cycle assessment (LCA), standardized by ISO 14040-44 and developed according to a set of pre-defined product category rules (PCR).
Product Category Rules (PCR): A set of rules, requirements and guidelines for developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for one or more product categories.
Which databases can be used for PCF calculation?
The emission factors required for PCF calculations can be found in various databases.
- The most widely used database is Ecoinvent, a vast repository that covers a diverse range of sectors on global and regional levels.
- Other sector-specific databases used are: Agri-footprint, Plastics Europe, Defra, EPD (EPD definition).
- Find here other databases recommended by GHG protocol.
Which are the existing Scope 3 accounting methods?
The GHG protocol has defined 3 methods that can be used for Scope 3 calculation. These methods are classified according to their accuracy and requirement of resources (in time and effort):
- Spend-base method: Scope 3 is calculated by multiplying expenditures by a revenue intensity factor representing the Scope 1 and 2 emissions per dollar revenue for an activity or sector. This method has a low resource granularity and low resource requirement.
- Average-date method: This method combines physical metrics (primary activity data on material weight, fuel consumption, or distances traveled) with secondary data from life cycle inventory databases.
- Supplier-specific primary data method: This method combines primary activity data from the company with primary data from suppliers. This is the method with the highest accuracy, but also the one with the highest resource requirements.
Figure. Existing methods to calculate scope 3.
Source: GHG protocol