Key Green Purchasing Terms and Acronyms
Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) – Frequently resembling a product nutrition-label, an EPD is a third-party-verified, internationally recognized, single comprehensive disclosure of a product’s environmental impacts throughout its entire life cycle. ISO 14025 defines the requirements for an EPD.
Hybrid Label – An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) label that only appears on products or services meeting an environmental leadership standard. A hybrid label combines the ease-of-use of a traditional environmental leadership label, which only appears on environmental leadership products, with the additional detailed product information found on an EPD. Purchasers looking for greener products can look for the hybrid label. More sophisticated green purchasers can use the EPD information to determine which of the products meeting the hybrid label’s environmental standard is actually the greenest for their needs.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – A comprehensive report documenting every impact of a product through every phase of the product’s life cycle, including the impacts of mining, harvesting and transporting the raw materials; the manufacturing process, packaging and shipping; the impacts of using the product; and the ultimate impacts of recycling or otherwise disposing of the product at the end of its useful life. ISO standards 14040 and 14044 define the requirements for creating an LCA.
ISO – ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. It is a network with representatives from 162 countries who work to define common standards to facilitate international commerce and the international compatibility of products and services.
Product Category Rules (PCRS) – An agreed-upon set of requirements used to measure the environmental impacts of a product or service when creating a life cycle assessment (LCA). The PCR addresses items such as the functional unit (what the product or service is designed to do), the boundary conditions (how far down the supply chain the assessment will consider) and life cycle phases.