Global EPD requirements by country
EPD requirements vary by country. which can be a major headache for international manufacturers and exporters. This guide helps you navigate these differing needs.
What’s involved in creating an EPD?
- EPD Program Operator: An EPD program sets requirements for verifiers, writes up more detailed rules for creating EPDs (called Product Category Rules) and accepts and publishes the EPDs submitted by the manufacturers after their verification.Some EPD programs charge annual fees to maintain the published EPDs, others only charge a lifetime fee to publish. There are dozens of EPD programs worldwide. The globally operating ones include The International EPD System and EPD Hub.
- Manufacturer: an EPD is always published by the manufacturer (or manufacturer association) whose goods it covers. Even if made by a consultant, the manufacturer is responsible for its accuracy.
- Product Category Rules (PCR): these are rules going into more detail than the underlying standards. PCRs may be either product category specific or generic for all construction products. For EPDs following the European standards, these are often relatively narrow in scope as standards set a lot of detail.
- Software: You’ll create your EPD either by using classical LCA software and then creating the supporting documentation manually, or by using a made-for-purpose EPD generator that does all that in one go. One Click LCA provides such EPD generators with solutions for different product categories.
- Standards: The main standard families are EN 15804, and ISO 21930. Construction product EPDs are mostly made with the one or the other – these standards provide a basis of comparability. Electronic and building system EPDs may also use the EN 50693. EPDs following other standards are still published, but due to great potential for variance, they are becoming less common.
- Verifier: the verifier must be independent from the manufacturer. This is a qualified third party entity. In addition, the verifier must always be approved by the EPD Program Operator to be eligible for doing verifications.
- Upstream database: EPDs are created using an upstream/background database for generic data. These databases describe and provide environmental impacts for general industrial processes used in making, shipping and disposing of the product and its components. The main databases are Ecoinvent (which we use) and Gabi (not available for sublicensing). Complementary sectoral databases exist as well, but those do not generally enable the creation of a full EPD.
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What to expect generally
A third-party verified, published, EN 15804 +A2 / ISO 21930-compliant EPD gets you a long way. At the same time, many customers and calculation methodologies are still using EN 15804 +A1-based data. This is why One Click LCA EPDs include both A1 and A2 based data.
- Standards: All European markets and many other markets accept EPDs created with EN 15804+A2; they often also accept EPDs created with the ISO 21930. US and Canada pursue ISO 21930 for domestic EPDs, and in some cases also just apply ISO 14040/44, which is the underlying standard for both the EN and ISO EPD standards.
- Upstream database: Most markets accept EPDs created using an upstream database, but exceptions apply. Some limited cases specify which inventory data can be used. These are discussed below.
- Cost: The cost of your EPD creation varies greatly based on your EPD strategy.An international study found that the total costs can be broken down as follows:51% – LCA & EPD preparation
29% – verification (paid to the verifier)
20% – EPD publishing and registration fees (paid to the EPD program operator).
If you do a great deal of national variants for your EPDs, your costs will go markedly upwards. Our Pre-verified EPD generators reduce these costs by a significant factor, and the end to end verified EPD generators reduce it to below one tenth. If you want to find out how to optimize the value and cost of your EPDs, we can help design your EPD strategy.
- Verification: All markets require compliance with ISO 14025 for independent verification of EPDs. However, in some markets this is interpreted more loosely as a tool verification.
- Publishing: Most markets accept EPDs from any EPD program operator, but exceptions apply.
- Language: Most markets accept EPDs in English or the regional language, but exceptions apply.
What to expect in selected countries
The below table summarizes the main requirements that you can expect to face in different markets. In the following section, we explain how the more complex cases can be tackled. Markets not separately mentioned are considered to be open – they will accept the regionally typical data.
||EN & ISO||–|
|EN and national complement||For sustainability marketing claims, EPDs to be published in the B-EPD program following national standard extension.|
||EN & ISO||–|
||EN and national complement||For use in regulatory LCA method and limits, EPDs to be published in an approved national program: currently INIES and PEP Ecopassport. Furthermore, the EPD must be in French language for the INIES program.|
||European||For federal projects LCA studies using BNB certification, the OKOBAUDAT database is used, which has a preference for data calculated with Gabi. IBU program is the most common choice for EPD publishing. IBU accepts both upstream databases.|
||EN & ISO||While not a formal requirement, the Japanese language is a significant barrier for most of the local businesses|
||EN & ISO||–|
||EN and national complement||For use in regulatory LCA and associated national low-carbon incentives, EPDS to be published in the national database. This requires using the Ecoinvent LCA database and requires calculating specific Dutch shadow price & other LCA data.|
||European||Providing an additional digital data format aligned to EN 22057 is preferred, but this is not a requirement. Also, EPD Norge program is the most common choice.|
|EN & ISO||–|
||ISO and national||The U.S. market expects to have EPDs with TRACI 2.1 characterisations. Also, state-level Buy Clean regulations and the Inflation Reduction Act apply rules for specific product categories. These vary case by case.|
How to address the national requirements for EPDs
As a manufacturer, you’ll probably be happy to have EPDs ready for your products. But due to the varying, and in many cases, contradictory requirements applied by countries, unless you pursued the right strategy for your EPDs, you may be far from done. These barriers of trade can hurt your business. Our guide and our team of EPD experts can help you navigate and address the market.
Below is our summary of how to go about it.
|Country||Local complexity||Solution with One Click LCA|
||For sustainability marketing claims, EPDs to be published in the B-EPD program. This program has its own rules and no mutual recognition.||Our Flexible EPD Tool generates data & reports that you can adapt. Arrange publishing yourself.|
||For use in regulatory LCA method and limits, EPDs to be published in an approved national program: currently INIES and PEP Ecopassport. Furthermore, the EPD must be in French language for the INIES program.||
One Click LCA Expert generates ready to go INIES formatted reports in French. You then arrange publishing yourself.
||For federal projects LCA studies using BNB certification, the OKOBAUDAT database is used, which has a preference for data calculated with Gabi. IBU program is the most common choice for EPD publishing. IBU accepts both upstream databases.||
Our Pre-verified EPD Generator approved by EPD International can be used directly used for IBU and a mutual recognition is in place.
You arrange publishing yourself. Ecoinvent-based data can then be published in OKOBAUDAT by applying for an exception.
|While not a formal requirement, the Japanese language is a significant barrier for most of the local businesses||One Click LCA’s EPD template for EPD Hub has a bilingual Japanese version available.|
||For use in regulatory LCA and associated national low-carbon incentives, EPDs to be published in the national NMD database or MRPI EPD program. This requires calculating specific Dutch shadow price & other LCA data and requires the Ecoinvent database to be used.||One Click LCA Expert generates all Dutch additional environmental impact categories automatically; One Click LCA uses the Ecoinvent database.|
||Providing an additional digital data format aligned to EN 22057 is preferred. Also, EPD Norge program is the most common choice.||
One Click LCA exports data currently in ILCD+EPD format. EN 22057 will be supported later.
Example EPD: NEPD Flugger Wall-Primer Pro EPD
||The U.S. market expects to have EPDs with TRACI 2.1 characterisations. Also, state-level Buy Clean regulations & Inflation Reduction Act apply rules for specific product categories. These vary case by case.||
One Click LCA Expert generates all TRACI 2.1 and ISO 21930 environmental impact categories automatically. Specific needs can be addressed with the One Click LCA Flexible EPD Tool.
Example EPD: UL USG Louna EPD
Dominant EPD programs for selected countries
At One Click LCA, we performed an unscientific review of new EPDs we’ve reviewed and added to our database in 2022. We excluded from the figures multi-country EPDs to avoid duplicating figures and all generic EPDs. This is what the review found.
- Australia: over 95 % of the EPDs were published in the Australasian EPD System.
- Austria: no single EPD program has half of the market.
- Belgium: in spite of the regulatory edge, B-EPD program only came third by number of EPDs published. INIES accounted for exactly half of publishing volume.
- Denmark: EPD Denmark accounted for about 80 % of publishing volume.
- Finland: no single EPD program has half of the market.
- France: circa 90 % of the market uses INIES.
- Germany: no single EPD program has half of the market.
- Italy: no single EPD program has half of the market.
- Ireland: circa 90 % of the market uses EPD Ireland.
- Norway: circa 90 % of the market uses EPD Norge
- Spain: two thirds of the market uses the International EPD System.
- Sweden: two thirds of the market uses the International EPD System.
- UK: half of the market uses the International EPD System.
Going forward in your EPD journey
Delivering an effective and cost-efficient EPD strategy for an international business can be daunting. Our team of experts has in-depth knowledge of the different markets and can help you devise a strategy to succeed, all the while ensuring the EPDs remain a source of competitiveness and not a drain on your business.