30 Apr 2019

Development of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standard for growing media sector in Europe

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. They provide a rooting environment for plants and are used in horticulture. Growing media are essentials in today’s society, as they form the basis of most of our food and plants for greener cities. GME is committed to the highest environmental standards and is therefore developing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standard for the growing media sector in Europe.
In the coming months we will work with GME to develop a standardized sector LCA toolbox, in line with the European Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) guideline.

Development of standardized sector LCA toolbox

Over the last years the European Commission worked on a European standard to measure environmental performance of products (and organizations), called Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). For GME we will develop a standardized sector LCA toolbox, in line with the starting points of the PEF.
Eventually, the standardized sector LCA toolbox will consist of three main elements:

  1. Development of an LCA calculation standard for the growing media industry (in line with Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)).
  2. Compiling and elaborating the background data LCA database necessary for members to perform calculations based on the developed standard.
  3. Online application (sector LCA tool), allowing members to make LCA calculations following the developed standard.

GME has put together a “task force”, that will be the expert industry advisers in the development of the LCA standard. Together with the GME task force we have set up a work plan and defined the main opportunities and challenges in the development for the sector LCA standard.

First step: screening studies

After a kick-off meeting in March, the first step towards the development of a sector standard is the performance of so called “screening studies”. Screening studies allow to define environmental hotspots in growing media life cycle, relevant impact categories, and possible methodological hurdles. This will allow to “match effort to impact” in the development of the standard. Representative products of GME’s portfolio are selected by the GME task force. These products will be used to perform the screening studies. In the coming months we will perform in parallel four screening studies and develop the first draft sector LCA standard for GME.

In September 2019, the GME task force will reconvene to evaluate the first draft of the sector standard and hopefully to give a green light in the continuation of the project.

More information

If you have questions about this project or are interested to develop an LCA standard for your sector, please contact Paulina Gual or call +31 (0)182 579970.

Paulina Gual
Senior Consultant | Blonk Consultants