Mar 19, 2013

Environmental Footprint

One of the potential hot topics for the near future is the Environmental Footprint. Do you think that this is becoming a game changer in sustainability? How are companies preparing for this?

Ramon Arratia, Sustainability Director EMEAI, Interface.
“As written in my book Full Product Transparency, I think environmental product declarations are the biggest changer in sustainability because they link the entire value chain. You can influence demand, you can redesign products, you can transmit priorities through your supply chain, and legislators can reward sustainable products or punish products with higher environmental impact. At Interface, we produce EPDs for all of our products and are heavily redesigning each one so that the embodied impacts are reduced.”

Michael Spielmann, Principal Consultant, PE INTERNATIONAL
“In my view, it may tackle one critical issue: Green Washing. By developing sector and product group specific guidelines that should guarantee the improvements claimed by producers are consistent, solid, and reproducible. This will avoid the risk of green washing which could jeopardize the entire sustainability issue. I think having a set of product category rules will be a critical component to the impact of this initiative in the future.”

Michele Galatola, Policy Officer, EU Commission DG Environment.
“Absolutely. There is growing pressure on companies to show they produce in an environmentally friendly way – both at the level of individual products and as organizations. Information on environmental performance can be used in the management of supply chains as an efficient indicator of how resource- efficient a company is. At the same time, it serves to show how green a product or organization is, because consumers increasingly want to better understand the environmental impacts of their consumption. The commission will soon adopt and publish consistent methodologies for the calculation of the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations. Named PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and OEF (Organization Environmental Footprint), we believe these will become more and more used in public and private initiatives, providing a more consistent and reliable way to communicate environmental information both in B2B and B2C contexts.”

“The Environmental Footprint Initiative as driven by the EU Commission might indeed become a game changer. Irrespective of that, sooner or later corporate and product footprints, declarations or LCAs will definitively become mainstream. Our key clients prepare for that by bringing manual and not integrated approaches to the next level. Our role is to help them automate and rationalize sustainability and compliance data collection, transfer, decision making and communication. In this context, LCA data collection and transfer in supply chains will achieve the critical importance it deserves.”


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