EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)

European framework to measure the environmental impact of products and services

Measuring environmental sustainability of products is a big challenge. There exist many labels, which currently confuses consumers en producers. Therefore, the European Commission proposed to develop a standard method for measuring and communicating environmental performance throughout the life cycle.

In April 2013 the European Commission published a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council called ‘Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations’. It introduces a method for measuring and communicating environmental performance of products and services throughout the life cycle. This method is called Product Environmental Footprint (PEF).

Framework of standardized LCAs

The proposed PEF method is a framework of general requirements and principles to measure the environmental impact of products and services. Besides that, there exist more specific technical guidance for different product groups (‘category rules’). This means the main methodological choices in LCA studies can be standardized. It will then in principle does not make any difference who carries out these studies; if all the methodological rules are followed and all requirements met, the results will be virtually the same. This will result in transparency for producers and consumers.

The following things are standardized:

  • Use of primary data and background data – missing data are drawn from the same background database.
  • Harmonization of system boundaries, allocation rules and method for calculating environmental impacts.

Involvement of Mérieux NutriSciences | Blonk in the PEF developments

Since 2014 Blonk has been involved intensively in the European PEF developments. We serve on the Technical Advisory Board and the Agricultural Working Group of the European Commission, advising on methodologies and calculation rules. Our work also includes:

  • 2018 - Beer: Full development of PEFCRs (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules)
  • 2018 - Feed: Full development of PEFCR (which was the first PEFCR to be officially approved by the European Commission)
  • 2021 - Growing media: Full development of sectoral shadow PEFCR for Growing Media Europe (GME)
  • 2023 - Fruit and vegetable shadow PEFCR: methodology and data creation
  • 2024 - Flori-PEFCR: methodology and data creation for the floriculture sector
  • 2024 - Partial update of the beer, feed, diary, and pet food PEFCRs
  • EF 3.1 (2023) and 4.0 Databases (ongoing): developed data on food, feed and bio-based materials.

Related projects

related to PEF

LCA standard for Growing Media Europe

Growing Media Europe (GME) is an international non-profit organization representing the producers of growing media and soil improvers at European level. Growing media are materials other than soil in situ in which plants and mushrooms are grown. For GME Blonk developed an uniform LCA Toolbox, in line with the European PEF method. A ‘task force’ of expert industry advisers were involved the development of the LCA standard.

Related to Pef

The development of the EU Environmental Footprint datasets

For more than 10 years Blonk has been closely involved in the EU Environmental Footprint (PEF) initiative. Currently, we’re part of a consortium that is working on the Environmental Footprint 4.0 (EF 4.0) life cycle inventory datasets. These datasets contain official secondary data and are designed to support EF-compliant calculations according to the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) and Organizational Environmental Footprint Category Rules (OEFCRs). 
Together with the other consortium partners Blonk will provide various EF-compliant core datasets on energy, transport, packaging, end of life, metals and minerals, chemicals, food/feed products and bio-based materials.

related to pef

Feed PEFCR first to be approved by the European Commission

We are happy and very proud to announce that the PEFCR ‘Feed for Food Producing Animals’ was approved by a large majority at the Environmental Footprint Steering Group meeting in Brussels on 15 February 2018. The feed PEFCR (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) is the first PEFCR to be officially approved by the European Commission. This is an important step forward for the environmental footprinting of feed production.

related to pef

Beer PEFCR approved by the European Commission

Earlier we announced that the Feed PEFCR (the first PEFCR) has been approved by the European Commission. On 20 April 2018 the Beer PEFCR was also given the green light, following four years hard work by all the partners to develop a single European standard for the beer sector. It makes it possible to calculate the environmental footprint of beer in a clear and consistent way.

More information

Get in touch

Jasper Scholten
Director Consultancy

Get in touch with Jasper if you want to want to know more about standards development.