79. Environmental Product Labels at Scale
In a sustainable economy all products will have environmental labels so that customers can learn to make sustainable choices and manufacturers can design and build sustainable products. An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a standardized (ISO 14025/TR) environmental label designed to meet this need. EPDs mimic nutrition labels on food in that they provide the facts, but don’t offer any judgment as to the “greenness” of the product. The process for creating and verifying an EPD is manual, costly and not scalable. As a result industry leaders produce EPD’s at the product category level and not for individual products. This is like giving the same nutrition label to all soft drinks or all laptop computers produced by a manufacturer. Such labeling of product groups and not labeling individual products will ultimately render EPDs ineffective for driving consumer choice and ultimately killing a foundation of the sustainable economy.
Climate Earth is the first in the industry to produce product level EPDs at scale. The company combined its expertise in life cycle analysis and big data to successfully produce a label for every one of Central Concrete’s 4,738 concrete mixes and to make them available on line in real time. As a result Central Concrete is now the first company in the world to produce integrated EPD’s for every single product. One of Central Concrete’s EPDs can be seen at the URL below. The EPD’s are fully ISO 14025 compliant and they conform fully to the Product Category Rules (PCR) developed through an intense stakeholder process led by the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington. The PCR provides guidelines that ensure all labels for the product category in question are comparable. Central Concrete’s EPDs are fully integrated with company’s product performance information systems. The product labels will be available to architects, engineers and contractors on-line in real time. Working with Central Concrete sales consultants, the labels enable these key purchasers to select concrete based on both the product performance and the products environmental performance. Central Concrete can enter product performance needs (strength, dry time, slump, water content, and environmental impact parameters) and the Climate Earth EPD system will output mixes that meet all business requirements, and generate an integrated EPD specifying both environmental and traditional mix performance data for any one of the 4,738 mixes.
Why it should be recognized:
Climate Earth is the first in the world to produce EPDs at scale. Concrete’s carbon footprint is 5% of the US economy so that concrete labeling is a huge step forward for the construction industry and the economy as a whole. But more importantly the Climate Earth technological approach to EPDs can be applied to any product in any industry. Climate Earth has built and proven a key building block for the sustainable economy.
Submitted: Jan 31, 2013
Author: Chris Erickson
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