The European Commission adopted in January 2015 an Action Plan for the Circular Economy. The plan suggest measures for how the market may significantly contribute to a circular economy.
Now the methodological fundament needed has been finally established and it remain for the new Commission to demonstrate how the toolbox may be applied in a coherent and effective European product policy.
The toolbox is the result of nearly 15 years of work and comprises harmonized guidelines for lifecycle based assessment of environmental footprints within specific product categories (PEFCR) and organization sectors (OEFSR) and also guidelines for 3rd party verification, benchmarking and communication. The guidelines have been tested in more than 20 pilot projects representing more than 50% of the respective (European) supply chains regarding product categories like dairy, shoes and textiles. The guidelines build upon lifecycle based Product and Organizational Environmental Footprint (PEF and OEF) standards developed by the Commission and published in Off. Jour. in 2013.
By the use of the developed toolbox it is now for the first time possible uniquely at the European market to define and credible communicate what is “a green product” and what is not.
The paper discusses possible measures for how to apply the toolbox in establishing and implementing a coherent new European product policy with objectives to significantly reduce especially products environmental (and climate) footprints in the future.