11 Jul 2022

Blonk is participating in the transition phase of the Environmental Footprint project 

Development of EF 3.0 datasets

Over the past years Blonk has been closely involved in the EU Environmental Footprint (PEF) initiative. Currently, we’re part of a consortium (together with ecoinvent and PRé sustainability) that provides Environmental Footprint 3.0 (EF 3.0) life cycle inventory datasets. These datasets contain official secondary data and are designed to support EF-compliant calculations according to the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) and Organizational Environmental Footprint Category Rules (OEFCRs). Together with the other consortium partners Blonk will provide various EF-compliant datasets for several sectors such as plastics, renewable materials, agro-food, textiles, chemicals. Blonk is mainly responsible for the datasets concerning renewable materials and agri-food processes. The complete EF3.0 datasets are expected to be released before the end of 2022 and will be available through the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment.

Development of the EF 3.0 datasets

The consortium is working together with other experts in the creation, management, and provision of the datasets. We are responsible for the collection and creation of the datasets related to renewable materials and agri-food. The existing datasets (EF 2.0) will be updated and additional datasets will be created. In this process primary industry data is preferably used and, if required, modelling and estimates will be used. This means there is close cooperation with industry partners, such as European industry associations, to fill in any data gaps. Furthermore, Blonk will rely on the Agri-footprint database and methodology, a Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) database focused on the agri-food sector. Besides that, the latest data on energy, transport, packaging, and end-of-life will be included in the final datasets. This data was previously developed by Sphera. Blonk was also key in the development of the EF 2.0 database, mainly through the provision of agri-food and feed data.

Challenges in data development

To fill the databases with accurate agri-food and renewables data, Blonk combined inputs from an enormous industry organizations and sources. It is a complicated process in terms of the size, complexity, and stage of the datasets and the number of organizations involved.
Blonk is responsible for managing around 550 datasets (in a project with about 1,500 datasets) and manages contact with multiple subcontractors and associations. The data sometimes had to be built from scratch and, in some instances, there were definition issues that needed to be solved (for example, defining consistent and clear naming). To make the process easier Blonk created templates to gather the data in a consistent format, although further alignment and refinement was necessary. APS-footprint, Agri-footprint, ecoinvent, World Food Database and primary industry data were some of the main sources used.

Dairy datasets

The dairy datasets were specifically developed in cooperation with the European Dairy Association. This approach was recently highlighted by the European Commission, and might be applied to future dataset developments for other sectors. In this process a group of dairy experts per country were asked to review the developed datasets, resulting in higher quality datasets and increased ownership by the sector.

Why are these datasets important?

The EF 3.0 datasets play an important role in providing companies with background datasets when developing their company or product PEFs. Furthermore, it will be one of the most comprehensive LCI databases in the world, developed with harmonized and state-of-the-art data and methodology.

Get the datasets

The EF 3.0 database will be available for free and can be downloaded from the EF node of the European Commission. The database will also be available in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software SimaPro and openLCA. The datasets in ILCD format will be available in the EF node of the European Commission in 2022.

About the Environmental Footprint Initiative

The Environmental Footprint (EF) is an initiative of the European Commission, establishing a common methodological approach for quantifying the environmental performance of any good throughout its lifecycle. The EF development started in 2013 and is part of the European Commission’s Single Market for Green Products Initiative. The EF builds on existing approaches and international standards related to the calculation of environmental impacts, such as ISO 14040 series and the European International Life Cycle Data system (ILCD) guidelines. The purpose of the EF initiative is to provide information that can enable the reduction of environmental impacts of goods, services, and organizations while considering all value chain activities. The EF initiative consists of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organization Environmental Footprint (OEF), both LCA-based methods. Currently the EF project is in the transition phase, which aims to provide a framework for monitoring the implementation of existing PEFCRs and OEFCRs, development of new PEFCRs and OEFCRs and new methodological developments.

Blonk’s involvement in the EF initiative over the years

Over the past years Blonk has been closely involved in the EU EF initiative. We were involved in the development of the Feed PEFCR, which was the first PEFCR to be officially approved, and Beer PEFCR. Besides that, Blonk has sprovided various PEF-compliant datasets and was member of the Technical Advisory Board (in both pilot as transition phase) and several PEF working groups. Currently, next to the development of the EF3.0 datasets, Blonk is also involved in the development of the Flower PEFCR.

More about the PEF

Product Environmental Footprint

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. Over the last years the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method has been developed. Since 2015 Blonk has been involved intensively in the EU PEF developments:

MORE ABOUT THE PEFCR FEED

Feed PEFCR first to be approved by the European Commission

We are happy and very proud to announce that the PEFCR ‘Feed for Food Producing Animals’ was approved by a large majority at the Environmental Footprint Steering Group meeting in Brussels on 15 February 2018. The feed PEFCR (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules) is the first PEFCR to be officially approved by the European Commission. This is an important step forward for the environmental footprinting of feed production.

MORE ABOUT THE PEFCR BEER

Beer PEFCR approved by the European Commission

Earlier we announced that the Feed PEFCR (the first PEFCR) has been approved by the European Commission. On 20 April 2018 the Beer PEFCR was also given the green light, following four years hard work by all the partners to develop a single European standard for the beer sector. It makes it possible to calculate the environmental footprint of beer in a clear and consistent way.

Related database

Agri-footprint

Advancing sustainability in the agri-food sector requires accurate and precise information. Blonk developed the Agri-footprint database to provide a thorough and consistent life cycle inventory (LCI) database for the agriculture and food sector. The database is widely used and implemented by the food industry, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) community, the scientific community, and governments worldwide.

More information

Get in touch

Marcelo Tyszler
Business Unit Manager | Blonk Sustainability Tools

Do you have questions about the EF 3.0 datasets, or are you interested in the development of EF-compliant environmental datasets and databases, please get in touch with Marcelo