PROFILE: Jeff Vickers - Latest Approved EPD Verifier
Jeff Vickers from thinkstep in New Zealand is the latest to become an approved EPD verifier. Jeff started working in Life Cycle Assessment a decade ago, and first became involved with EPDs about 6 years ago while working in the water industry with thinkstep UK. Since his return to Australasia he has increasingly specialised in EPDs.
We spoke to Jeff about the importance of EPDs and the experience of becoming an approved verifier.
What is the value of EPDs to the LCA community?
I like the fact that EPDs communicate LCA thinking in a relatively digestible way. I won’t say it’s quite “easy reading” but the standardized format makes an EPD much easier for readers to review.
The other great value of EPDs is they are moving LCA reports off dusty shelves and out into the community. In the past LCAs were conducted privately and the results were hardly ever published and shared. EPDs take all that detailed LCA data and put it into a standardized format that can be used to support better decision-making more broadly.
What prompted you to become an approved verifier?
It seemed a natural step for me. I have been closely involved with EPDs for 3 or 4 years, and I manage the quality assurance side for thinkstep. It just made sense for me to be in a position to verify other people’s EPDs.
How did you find the approval process?
I thought it was a fair check of my work and skills and there were some good questions to come out of the process.
Do you think it’s important to have this verification process?
Yes, overall setting up a verification process is a good step. EPDs are all about transparency and credibility. It really improves the credibility of the whole program and each individual EPD to have third party verification.
Let’s face it every EPD is complex and involves a lot of numbers. It’s pretty easy for something to go wrong. The verification process can’t guarantee perfection, but the checks and balances involved increase the robustness of the EPD.