Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)

European framework to measure the environmental impact of products and services

Measuring environmental sustainability of products is a big challenge. There exist many labels, which currently confuses consumers en producers. Therefore, the European Commission proposed to develop a standard method for measuring and communicating environmental performance throughout the life cycle.

In April 2013 the European Commission published a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council called ‘Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations’. It introduces a method for measuring and communicating environmental performance of products and services throughout the life cycle. This method is called Product Environmental Footprint (PEF).

Framework of standardized LCAs

The proposed PEF method is a framework of general requirements and principles to measure the environmental impact of products and services. Besides that, there exist more specific technical guidance for different product groups (‘category rules’). This means the main methodological choices in LCA studies can be standardized. It will then in principle does not make any difference who carries out these studies; if all the methodological rules are followed and all requirements met, the results will be virtually the same. This will result in transparency for producers and consumers.

The following things are standardized:

  • Use of primary data and background data – missing data are drawn from the same background database.
  • Harmonization of system boundaries, allocation rules and method for calculating environmental impacts.

Involvement of Blonk in the PEF developments

Since 2015 Blonk has been involved intensively in the European PEF developments:

  • Completion of PEFCRs beer and feed
  • Feed PEFCR was the first PEFCR to be officially approved by the European Commission.
  • Currently supporting with partial revision of various agri-food related PEFCRs 
  • Involved in the development of the Flori-PEFCR
  • Supported other agri-food sectors with their sector PEFCRs, e.g. Growing Media Europe
  • Be part of the Technical Advisory Board and the Agricultural Working Group of the European Commission advising on methodologies and calculation rules

Related projects


LCA standard for Growing Media Europe

Growing Media Europe (GME) is an international non-profit organization representing the producers of growing media and soil improvers at European level. Growing media are materials other than soil in situ in which plants and mushrooms are grown. For GME Blonk developed an uniform LCA Toolbox, in line with the European PEF method. A ‘task force’ of expert industry advisers were involved the development of the LCA standard.

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Jasper Scholten
Business Unit Manager | Blonk Consultants