The Australasian EPD Programme
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Applications

Using EPDs

An EPD provides relevant and verified environmental information which is used to meet a variety of business needs.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B) Communication
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Communication
  • Green Building & Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Eco and Sustainable Design

Business-to-Business (B2B) Communication

Businesses use EPDs in marketing a product or services environmental performance. Government and business customers are increasingly asking for transparent and credible information on many environmental risk factors, covering all parts of the life cycle, for products they purchase.

An EPD contains the environmental information needed for a product, in one place, and in a meaningful and credible manner. EPDs give stakeholders the confidence that EPD holders are telling the truth about the impact of their manufacturing and supply processes.

EPDs summarise a products resource use and emissions to air, soil and water and the potential environmental impacts on climate change across the life cycle stages. The Australasian EPD Programme provides an internationally recognised standard, open to all types of products and services and verified by a credentialed and approved third-party. Business partners know the information in an EPD is credible and comparable.

As well, EPDs are modular, meaning that data in EPDs for raw materials or components can be used to develop EPDs for a product containing those materials or components.

Business-to-Consumer Communication

EPDs were originally designed with B2B communication in mind. However, companies at the forefront of supply chain transparency are starting to use EPDs, and the information they contain, to communicate directly to consumers (B2C).

In the age of consumer protection legislation, the key to making any environmental claims for B2C communication is to focus on being transparent and avoid making false or misleading statements. The environmental data in all Australasian EPDs is independently verified to comply with International Standard ISO 14025, a relevant Product Category Rule (PCR) and the General Programme Instructions. All additional environmental information also has to be substantiated and verified before the EPD is registered and published with the Australasian EPD Programme.

This level of verification of their EPD, and the credibility of the Australasian EPD Programme, give business the confidence to communicate with consumers about the environmental impacts and benefits of their products.

Green Building & Sustainable Infrastructure

For builders, developers and their corporate and government clients, the data and information in an EPD provide a framework for making informed product comparisons to help make buildings and infrastructure more sustainable.

For this reason, Australasian EPDs are recognised by the Green Building Councils of Australia and New Zealand as well as the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) recognises that Australasian EPDs may be used by project teams using the Design & As Built and Interiors rating tools to obtain Green Star points under the following credits:

  • Materials > Product Transparency and Sustainability.
  • Materials > Life Cycle Assessment: By providing data for an EN 15978 compliant whole-of-building whole-of-life assessment.
  • Innovation Challenge > Responsible Carbon Impact: By providing embodied carbon impacts (i.e. data on Global Warming Potential) which can be used in the calculation and reduction of the total embodied carbon impacts of a project.

More information here

Australasian EPDs are also recognised for credits under the Materials category in the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

More information here.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) has included EPD credits within its Innovation Challenges for project teams using any of the Green Star tools. All Australasian EPDs meet their requirements.

Australasian EPDs can also be used to help project teams achieve points for Material Life Cycle Material Life Cycle Impacts within its Innovation Challenges credit.

More information here.

Sustainable Procurement

Businesses, as well as governments of all types, are increasingly looking for ways to improve the sustainability outcomes of the business and projects. EPDs help these organisations quantify the full life cycle impacts of purchasing decisions.

The recently finalised international standard ISO 20400:2017 Sustainable procurement – guidance sets out key considerations for evaluating the sustainability objectives of government and business are met.

The independence and credibility of the Australasian EPD Programme is underscored by the fact that it is supported by the life cycle assessment professionals of Australia and New Zealand and is a partner of the International EPD® System.

EPDs can be used to provide environmental information on products and services and to verify that products or services meet environmental requirements in tender documents. For procurement agencies, EPDs offer a way to compare products within the same category from an environmental perspective.

Environmental Management Systems

With the recent update to ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems there is a requirement to consider a life cycle perspective when determining environmental aspects.

The underlying life cycle assessment (LCA) used to develop an EPD assists any ISO 14001 compliant business in this approach. The EPD itself is used to communicate the result to different stakeholders within and outside the business.

Eco & Sustainable Design

Increasingly companies are taking environmental issues into consideration when designing and developing new products or updating existing ones.

There are two main ways to use EPDs and the underlying LCA studies in eco and sustainable design:

1. A benchmarking and assessment tool
2. Communicating improvements externally.

For more detailed information on applications for EPDs please refer to the International EPD® System here.

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