EPD Australasia

Profile: Dr Joana Almeida, Approved EPD Verifier

Only approved verifiers, who have demonstrated expertise and met competency requirements in Life Cycle methodologies, may carry out Australasian EPD verification.

The most recent individual to meet these high standards is Dr Joana Almeida, Senior Sustainability Consultant with Edge Environment.

Joana has been intrigued by the way the natural world works since she was a child. This has driven her continued scientific education, earning a BSc at NOVA University in Lisbon, followed by an MSc in Energy and Bioenergy and most recently a PhD in Bioscience Engineering from KU Leuven University in Belgium.

She has been working in LCA and sustainability with Edge Environment for nearly 4 years and manages a portfolio of projects for clients across multiple sectors, from property to food to energy. We spoke to her about the role EPDs play in these projects and her decision to qualify as a verifier.

In your opinion, what is the value of EPDs to the business community?

EPDs are a tool for transparency of the environmental performance of products and services.

How and when does Edge Environment recommend its clients invest in EPDs?

Actually many clients who approach us to help them with their EPD already know what they want. Others ask us about the certification market, and we provide information on the scope and purpose of the different options.

Our clients go down the EPD path for several reasons, such as

  • perceiving the value in reporting their products life cycle impacts,
  • when there is an obvious advantage in terms of supplying for GreenStar and ISCA projects,
  • because their corporate approach to sustainability is based on evidence and transparency.

What prompted you to become an approved EPD verifier?

A few different reasons. For one, I’ve been working on LCA for 10 years and helping the industry developing EPDs for the past 4 years. I felt my experience would be good value for clients. Secondly, I enjoy working with other LCA practitioners on their studies. The verification process is quite systematic and not super exciting, but when I’m the one developing the EPD I’ve always appreciated the input of the verifiers and learned a lot from their experience and their approach. I’m keen to be on the other side too.

Why do you think it’s important to have a stringent verification process?

Sustainability claims can be a murky business. It’s a huge turn off when products are self-claimed “eco-friendly” or “green” based on high level assumptions. Ecolabels and declarations help bring credibility to such claims and the ecolabels that are third-party verified, like EPDs, offer additional reliability. A stringent verification process for EPDs means that the EPD owner can be assured that their claims are valid.

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