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The European Commission plans to present a proposal on 30 March that will require companies to back up their sustainability claims, building on the EU Product Environmental Footprint methodology (PEF). The goal is to make the sustainability claims made by companies verifiable, comparable and reliable and thereby tackle greenwashing.
The scope of application is not yet clear. The big question leading up to the Commission’s proposal is whether PEF assessments will be mandatory or voluntary requirements for companies. However, we expect that PEF-aligned assessments will become mandatory for large companies and potentially be voluntary only for SMEs and smaller companies, for whom the effort could be disproportionate.
All companies making any green claims will have to substantiate them using the PEF methodology. The PEF is a method to measure the environmental performance of a product or an organisation throughout the value chain, from the source to the end of life. Specifically, it is based on Life-Cycle Assessments and looks at 16 environmental impact categories. By making the PEF the standard methodology for Life-Cycle Assessments in the European Union, the European Commission for the first time creates a legislative standard for all companies. It has not yet been decided whether businesses will have to add a label indicating whether or not their product is certified as PEF-compliant.
Life-Cycle Assessments are extremely complex undertakings because they require a very detailed look at every step of a product’s journey. This means you will have to understand not only the environmental performance of all of your products' parts that you purchase from suppliers, but also the environmental impact of your products after they were sold and until they are disposed off. In addition, PEF assessments can become quite expensive because of the comprehensive processes required to conduct them.
Together with experts from large, medium-sized and small companies with experience in sustainability reporting, we provide software solutions that makes it easier for you to operationalise the legislative requirements.