What is a Product Category Rule (PCR)?


Introduction


Product Category Rules (PCRs) are sets of rules and requirements that guide how to measure and report the life cycle impact of a specific type of product when conducting an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). PCRs are specific to each product category and are always based on the ISO 14025 standard for Type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). PCRs establish explicit scopes, assumptions, boundaries, data quality, and reporting requirements for EPDs. Manufacturers use PCRs in combination with the ISO 21930 standard to create EPDs.


A Product Category Rule (PCR) is a set of rules and requirements that guide how to measure and report the life cycle impact of a particular type of product when conducting an EPD.

This is done by guiding in four areas:

  • Scope of application (product type)

  • Scope of analysis (products and services)

  • Methodology, i.e., what methods can be used?

  • Reporting requirements, i.e., how to calculate and report results

PCRs are specific to each product category and are always based on the ISO 14025 standard for Type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

The ISO 14025 standard for Type III Environmental Product Declarations is a set of rules and requirements that govern how EPDs must be prepared, submitted, and verified.


PCRs are often developed by industry groups or experts and then approved by third-party certification bodies.

PCRs are based on the ISO 14025 standard for Type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and establish clear scopes, assumptions, boundaries, data quality, and reporting requirements. PCRs can be used to:

  • Establish benchmarks for performance in a product category (Buy Clean California Act)

  • Create transparency around PCR data sources, assumptions, and methodologies within an individual PCR

PCRs establish clear scopes, assumptions, boundaries, data quality, and reporting requirements for EPDs.

This is important because:

  • A PCR's scope should be defined clearly.

  • Second, assumptions must be documented in a PCR.

  • Third, boundaries should be specified in a PCR.

  • Finally, data quality requirements must be clearly identified in a PCR.

  • Finally, reporting requirements should be outlined clearly in the PCR.


Manufacturers use PCRs in combination with the ISO 21930 standard to create EPDs.

Industry groups or experts must develop all PCRs to ensure their validity and applicability.

PCRs establish clear scopes, assumptions, boundaries, data quality, and reporting requirements for EPDs. They also specify how environmental information is collected from different sources (e.g., field studies) and how it's combined into a single document or dataset.


Conclusion


PCRs are vital to the ISO 14025 standard and the EPD life cycle assessment methodology. By establishing explicit scopes, assumptions, boundaries, data quality, and reporting requirements, they ensure that manufacturers can measure and report the environmental footprint of their products based on consistent LCA methodologies.


Presented by

Denice Viktoria Staaf

LEED AP BD+C, Fitwel Ambassador, EPD & HPD Approved Preparer

ESG Consultant and Circularity Expert

E: dstaaf@labelingsustainability.com



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