EU proposes methods to ensure goods are resource efficient


The European Commission has proposed European Union-wide measures to measure the environmental performance of products and organisations including those with recycled content.

According to the European Commission, 48 per cent of Europeans are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive.


The European Commission has also received representation from several industrial federations for a pan-European approach built on EU-wide science-based assessments and life cycle analysis.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “To boost sustainable growth, we need to make sure that the most resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly products on the market are known and recognisable.

“By giving people reliable and comparable information about the environmental impacts and credentials of products and organisations, we enable them to choose. And by helping companies to align their methods we cut their costs and administrative burdens.”

The proposal, A Communication on Building the Single Market for Green Products and a Recommendation on the use of the methods, suggests:

  • Two methods to measure environmental performance throughout the lifecycle – the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF)
  • The voluntary use of these methods to Member States, companies, private organisations and the financial community
  • A three-year testing period to develop product- and sector-specific rules through a multi-stakeholder process, including provision for organisations with other methods to have them assessed as well
  • It provides principles for communicating environmental performance, such as transparency, reliability, completeness, comparability and clarity
  • It supports internal efforts towards more coordination in methodological development and data availability.

A three-year testing period will soon be launched for this. After this, a second phase will build an in-depth evaluation of the results of the three-year testing and additional actions carried out under the communication and recommendation of this by the European Commission.

Based on this, the European Commission will decide on further policy applications arising from the measurement methods.