The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a pilot program launched in 2013 by the European Commission to develop a unified program for communicating the life cycle assessment (LCA) information of products across the European Union. PEF seeks to establish a framework for all products that can be used to communicate to consumers an environmental rating that is comparable between products within a category. The pilot program is anticipated to conclude by the end of 2017.
The European Commission is on year four of a “three year pilot” of the PEF (anticipated to conclude by end of 2017). This pilot is intended as a trial period where the rules of PEF are tested, product category specific guidance is developed, and the criteria are evaluated through numerous pilot studies.
One of the goals of PEF is to communicate to consumers how a product compares environmentally against its peers within a category. This requires establishing rules for a Reference Product, as well as determining how to best communicate the information to consumers, such as a product ranking system (e.g., A, B, C, D, E, and F) and some sort of consumer facing communication (e.g., a label). Both of which are being developed during the pilot phase. The ranking is to be based on an aggregation of LCA results into a system of three categories—Climate, Water, and Resources—which is then rolled up into an overall ranking.
The list of product categories for PEF pilot include: