What is an EPD?
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an independently verified report on the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. The impact of the product is calculated via a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) which conforms to the requirements of the relevant Product Category Rules (PCR).
An official EPD typically consists of two documents: the public EPD document summarising the environmental impact of the product (LCA results) and the private background report. The finished document is verified by an approved Program Operator and published on one of the publicly available online platforms.
EPDs provide objective, transparent and comparable information about a product and serve as an environmental label or declaration. An EPD will usually remain valid for five years – unless there are major changes to production practices.
GCCA EPD tool
The Industry GCCA EPD Tool is designed to facilitate the cement and concrete sector’s ongoing efforts to reduce its environmental impact and support global sustainability goals.
It is a web-based calculation tool for EPDs of clinker, cement, aggregates, concrete, and precast elements and is available in two versions, the International and North American. Both versions comply with the respective EPD standards and PCRs. The GCCA EPD tool can provide a “cradle-to-gate” (A1-A3) environmental impact assessment for clinker, cement and aggregates, and a “cradle-to-grave” (A1-D) assessment for concrete and precast products.
The two major outputs of the GCCA EPD tool are:
• A self-declaration (not a validated official EPD), containing the main general/background information and the environmental performance (LCA results) of the specific product for all indicators;
• A background report with the complete set of input data and results of the specific product required to produce an EPD and allow a third-party verification.
What’s new? – GCCA EPD Tool Version 4.0
The fully verified Version 4.0 was released in May 2023. Changes from v3.2 to v4.0 include the following:
- Application Program Interface (API)
- Possibility to create EPDs for aggregates
- Possibility to import third party EPDs and associate them to a specific category
- New KPIs for GHG emissions in the manufacturing section
- Detail breakdown of indicators for materials
- Alignment with EPD international’s GPI 4.0
- Detailed documentation covering LCA model and underlying data available
- Inventory data drawn from EcoInvent database and industry
- Complies with the latest standards
- Digital EPD export (ILCD+EPD format)
- Import and share EPDs within your organisation
- Provides a full “cradle-to-grave” (A1 to D) life cycle assessment for concrete and precast products including recarbonation*
- The GCCA EPD tool is independently verified, consolidated and user friendly; it does not require LCA expertise
- Application Program Interface (API) available. It can assist in automating the EPD production and publication process
* Recarbonation refers to the process where part of the CO2 emitted during cement production is re-absorbed by concrete in use through carbonation.
The GCCA EPD tool has been developed by Quantis since 2014 and is available in two versions:
- The International version
The International Version was verified by Studio Fieschi. The International EPD® System which provides the framework to develop and publish EPDs based on ISO 14025 and EN 15804, gives the final approval of the tool’s compliance with the rules and is a recognised pre-verified EPD tool on its website.
The underpinning database for the GCCA EPD tool is the latest version of the Ecoinvent database and cement manufacturing data obtained through the GNR process.
- The North American Version
A specific version of the tool has been developed for the North American market in conjunction with GCCA affiliates with Athena Sustainable Materials Institute acting as the development collaborator and verifier of the North American Version.
Past Webinars available to watch on-demand:
- Introduction to EPDs and the GCCA Tool: Why EPDs matter and how to act, 4th November 2020, 13:00 CET: Click here to watch
- Using the GCCA EPD Tool: Understanding how it works, 2nd December 2020, 13:00 CET: Click here to watch
- GCCA Environmental Product Declaration Tool, 12th July 2022, 14:30 CET: Click here to watch & access the slides here.
Why GCCA EPD tool?
The GCCA EPD tool is a cost effective and efficient means for companies to meet the growing demand for EPDs. The benefits of the tool are:
- Created by the industry to serve and represent the best interests of producers and ensure consistency
- Includes the GCCA GNR database – key data collected according to the CO₂ and Energy Accounting and Reporting Standard for the Cement Industry
- The first one to consider whole life recarbonation to benefit the industry
- The pre-verification of the tool reduces the time and cost of verification of each EPD by as much as 50% and ensures that the generated EPDs are robust for product comparison and development
- Primary data collection/input is through a user-friendly cloud-based platform
- Exports digital EPDs
Why are EPDs important?
- EPDs are fundamental to low carbon procurement and are increasingly requested in public and private procurement such as the UN sponsored Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI) low carbon procurement initiative
- EPDs support the embodied carbon challenge by making the environmental impact of products and materials more visible hence allowing steps to be taken to reduce the impact
- Most clients want manufacturers to provide them with sustainable building products and increasingly request EPDs
- EPDs help designers develop lower carbon solutions as they enable the embodied carbon calculation that, together with operational carbon calculations, support whole life whole project carbon analysis
- EPDs help manufacturers measure and reduce their environmental impact and benchmark their performance
- EPDs are an open and objective way to demonstrate the manufacturer’s commitment to environmental impact transparency
For any queries, please contact Emily Andersen or Nicolas Antoniou.