Making environmental claims using PEF should remain voluntary. The process to develop a sector-specific PEF needs to be fully transparent and easily accessible to all key value/supply chain actors, no matter the size, EURATEX said in a position paper.
Europe’s EURATEX recently identified several key elements necessary to implement and recognise the full potential of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology and to break down the complexity of the term ‘sustainability’ into distinct, understandable and clear building blocks. These include optionality, accessibility, robustness and usability.
Legislation fostering PEF must ensure a level playing field, avoiding the proliferation of different methods in order to improve comparability and avoid unfair comparisons among materials/products.
For a robust environmental claim, the use of PEF needs to relay on high quality and verified data. This is a continuous process to update and enlarge the database of materials, processes and products, and to avoid misleading results.
SMEs shall be able to process the necessary data without additional burden and without having to overly depend on (non-EU) dataset owners.
PEF needs to be scientifically sound and provide for periodic scientific and independent review.
The PEFCRs development process shall be open to new industries and product groups. The development timeline shall be flexible, with a continuously open call for applications and a more adaptable schedule, the position paper said.
The PEF is an essential step forward for EU harmonised life cycle assessment (LCA calculation, which currently still has some methodological shortcomings. Existing limitations can cause misleading results and information can lead to incorrect purchase decisions and wrong environmental strategies.
The European Commission is preparing different policy measures, such as Ecodesign requirements for textiles (ESPR), mandatory green criteria for public procurement, EU Ecolabel scheme and measures to substantiate green claims.
The PEF is visioned to support setting these policies, to improve comparability and prevent from greenwashing.
However, EURATEX is concerned that the current single PEF score method is not able to make enough distinction and fulfill the requirements set in other EU policy measures.
To be effective and fit for purpose, the PEFCRs must be regularly reviewed and updated in line with the unfair commercial practices directive, where companies are obliged to underpin the benefits of their products with adequate evidence, the position paper said.
Therefore, the European Commission should not exclusively adopt the green claims system based on PEF, the uncertainties on the underlying PEF rules shall be first addressed, it noted.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)