EPD Australasia

Launch of the Australasian EPD Programme

Wellington – 2 September 2014: The Life Cycle Association of New Zealand (LCANZ) announced today that the Australasian Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Programme has been launched at the New Zealand Life Cycle Assessment Conference in Wellington – the first programme of its kind in Australasia.

EPDs are designed to meet the global market demand for science-based, transparent information about product environmental performance. “The Australasian EPD Programme is an important step towards making Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) mainstream in New Zealand and Australia”, says Barbara Nebel, President of LCANZ. Initiated by LCANZ, the Australasian EPD Programme was jointly developed with the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS) in alliance with the International EPD System, one of the world’s largest and most reputable EPD programme operators.

The Australasian EPD Programme has been set up as a separate company with funding from the Building Research Levy and the Sustainable Steel Council. “This trans-Tasman initiative builds on the International EPD System to ensure international recognition and compatibility as well as a cost effective way of leveraging off existing experience”, comments Bryan King, Director of the Australasian EPD Programme. Mr King emphasises further that “without the significant financial kick-start funding we would not be in a position to start this world-class EPD Programme today.”

More honesty in sustainability

EPDs are based on an LCA study that follows fixed rules – called Product Category Rules (PCR) – for a specific product or product group. “This creates a level playing field. All plasterboard or street lighting products will follow the same rules or PCR for the appropriate product group”, describes Barbara Nebel, “and in contrast to many self-declared ‘green’ labels an EPD does not claim whether a product is more sustainable or greener than another.” The verified declaration simply discloses environmental information. Comparisons or rankings need to be made by professionals, such as architects, specifiers or procurement managers.

Importance for EPDs increases

EPDs are common in Europe, the US and parts of Asia and are gaining importance in Australasia. “From 2014, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) provides credits for EPDs and building-level Life Cycle Assessment within Green Star”, explains Rob Rouwette, President of ALCAS. “In addition, all EPDs performed in Australasia will be compatible with those in the EU. This will facilitate the export of goods into the EU – the largest single marketplace in the world with a GDP of nearly US$18 trillion.”

LCANZ Website http://www.lcanz.org.nz
ALCAS Website http://www.alcas.asn.au

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