Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

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What is an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration)?

EPD stands for Environmental Product Declaration. EPDs are standardized, verified reports on the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle, from extraction of raw materials to disposal or recycling. EPDs provide transparent and comparable information on a product's environmental performance, including factors such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste generation.
These declarations are based on data from life cycle assessment (LCA), which assesses the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product's life cycle. 
At Saint-Gobain, we use EPDs to communicate the environmental credentials of our products to our customers or other stakeholders. They can help decision-makers make more informed choices by considering environmental factors alongside traditional considerations such as cost and performance.

 

Core content of an EPD

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) includes several main sections: 

  • The General Information section includes the product's name and description, manufacturer details, EPD program operator information, publication date, and validity period.
  • The Product Description section provides a detailed functional and technical description of the product, its intended use, and its material composition.
  • The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Calculation Information section outlines the objectives and scope, the life cycle stages covered, cut-off criteria, and any assumptions and limitations of the LCA study.
  • The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Results section includes data on raw material supply (A1), transport to the manufacturing site (A2), manufacturing processes (A3), construction processes (A4-A5), use stage (B1-B7), end-of-life stage (C1-C4), and benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (D).
  • The Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) Results section presents the results for various environmental impact categories such as global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and resource depletion, using European assessment methodologies.
  • The Interpretation of Results section summarizes the key findings from the LCA, highlighting significant environmental impacts.

 

Foundations / Basics of EPD

The foundations of EPDs are rooted in several key standards, principles, and practices:

European and International Standards: ISO 14025 outlines principles and procedures for developing Type III environmental declarations, while ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 offer LCA guidelines, serving as the methodological foundation for quantifying environmental impacts.

Product Category Rules (PCR): PCRs provide detailed guidelines for developing EPDs within specific product categories, ensuring consistency and comparability across EPDs in the same category. For example, EN 15804+A2 provides rules for the construction products sector.

EPD: EPDs require transparency and verified data, through independent third-party verification to ensure credibility. This process assesses LCA adherence to PCRs and overall data quality. EPDs aim to offer accessible information for stakeholders like consumers, businesses, and policymakers, helping informed decision-making. They typically use standardized formats for easy product comparison.

 

Why do we produce EPDs at Saint-Gobain?

At Saint-Gobain, we want to be the worldwide leader in lightweight and sustainable construction and have set ourselves ambitious goals for 2030 and 2050. 

Communication and transparency: With EPDs, we provide a clear and standardized way to disclose the environmental impacts of our products. This transparency enhances our credibility and builds trust with our customers, stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

Market requirements: In a market where environmental awareness is increasingly important, EPDs allow us to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable development, and to environmentally conscious customers.

Regulatory compliance: Producing EPDs helps us stay ahead of regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance. Additionally, EPDs can qualify us for various green building certifications and incentives, such as LEED.

Continuous improvement: Understanding the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of our products also allows us to identify areas for improvement in our supply chain, or to identify and mitigate environmental risks associated with our products.

Innovation: Finally, the EPD development process pushes us to innovate. It highlights areas where we can improve our environmental performance, leading to the creation of more sustainable products and processes.

By producing EPDs, we reaffirm our commitment to sustainable practices, transparency and continuous improvement, ensuring that we not only meet, but exceed the expectations of our customers and stakeholders.
 

Did you know? 

To date, ~1800 EPDs are available from Saint-Gobain, including more than 700 for Isover which in turn include almost 100 for the scope of Technical Insulation.

We are constantly working to cover a greater number of products with EPDs. Saint-Gobain has notably committed to ensuring that 100% of its product ranges are covered by Environmental Product Declarations by 2030.

 The different stages of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)

In an EPD, the life cycle stages of a product are identified with codes (A1, A2… D). These stages provide a comprehensive framework for assessing and reporting the environmental impacts of products throughout their entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal and beyond. This structured approach ensures consistency and comparability in EPDs across different products and industries.

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Product Stage

 

  • A1 – Raw Materials: Extraction and processing of raw materials, including mining, harvesting, and processing of materials used in the product.
  • A2 – Transport: Transportation of raw materials to the manufacturing site. This includes the impacts associated with fuel use and emissions from transport vehicles.
  • A3 – Manufacturing: Manufacturing processes that convert raw materials into finished products, including packaging. This includes energy use, water use, emissions, and waste generated during production.

 

Construction Stage

 

  • A4 – Logistics: Logistics and transportation of the finished product from the manufacturing site to the construction or installation site.
  • A5 – Installation: Processes involved in installing the product, including any on-site assembly, installation machinery, and waste management.

 

Use Stage

 

  • B1 – Use: Direct emissions or environmental impacts during the use phase of the product.
  • B2 – Maintenance: Activities required to maintain the product's functionality, including cleaning, repairing, and replacing parts.
  • B3 – Repair: Specific activities related to fixing any defects or damage that occurs during the product's use phase.
  • B4 – Replacement: Replacement of parts or the whole product during its lifetime.
  • B5 – Refurbishment: Major refurbishment activities that extend the product's life or improve its performance.
  • B6 – Operational Energy Use: Energy consumed by the product during its use phase (applicable to products requiring energy to function).
  • B7 – Operational Water Use: Water consumed by the product during its use phase (applicable to products that use water).

 

End-of-Life Stage

 

  • C1 – Deconstruction and Demolition: Processes involved in dismantling or demolishing the product at the end of its life.
  • C2 – Transport: Transportation of the product after its use phase to recycling, recovery, or disposal sites.
  • C3 – Waste Processing: Treatment processes such as sorting, shredding, or compacting that prepare the product for recycling or disposal.
  • C4 – Disposal: Final disposal of the product, including landfill, incineration, or other disposal methods.

 

Recycling/Reuse/Recovery

  • Potential benefits and loads from recycling, reuse, or recovery of materials after the end-of-life stage. This includes the environmental impacts avoided by diverting waste from disposal and reusing materials in new products.

Did you know? 

Every improvement at the factory level generates an improvement at the product level.

What is an impact indicator?

Impact indicators in EPDs quantify and assess a product's environmental impacts across its life cycle. They represent different environmental aspects, organized into categories, selected based on the EPD's goals, scope, and relevance to the product's life cycle stages. In total there are 30 indicators according to EN 15804:2012+A2.

 

  • 13 Environmental Impact Indicators

    • Climate change - total
    • Climate change - fossil
    • Climate change - biogenic
    • Climate change - land use and land use change
    • Ozone depletion
    • Acidification
    • Eutrophication - freshwater
    • Eutrophication - marine
    • Eutrophication - terrestrial
    • Photochemical ozone formation
    • Resource use - mineral and metals
    • Resource use - fossils
    • Water use

 

  • 8 Resource Use Indicators

    • Use of renewable primary energy (PERE)
    • Primary energy resources used as raw materials (PERM)
    • Total use of renewable primary energy resources (PERT)
    • Use of non-renewable primary energy (PENRE)
    • Non-renewable primary energy resources used as raw materials (PENRM)
    • Total use of non-renewable primary energy resources (PENRT)
    • Input of secondary material (SM)
    • Use of renewable secondary fuels (RSF)
    • Use of non-renewable secondary fuels (NRSF)
    • Use of net fresh water (FW)

 

  • 3 Waste Indicators

    • Hazardous waste disposed (HWD)
    • Non-hazardous waste disposed (NHWD)
    • Radioactive waste disposed (RWD)

 

  • 4 Output Flows Indicators

    • Components for re-use (CRU)
    • Materials for recycling (MFR)
    • Material for energy recovery (MER)
    • Exported electrical energy (EEE)
    • Exported thermal energy (EET)

 

  • 2 Biogenic Carbon Content

    • Biogenic carbon content in product

    • Biogenic carbon content in packaging

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