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Why EPD verification transparency matters

and how a Verification Statement helps

Practically all EPD-using systems require compliance with ISO 14025, which includes independent verification. However, on the market, EPDs that are not verified at all, or that are only reviewed by an interested party are published by the thousands and are passed off as ISO 14025 compliant. This exposes the market players relying on the EPD data for decision making to risks of error and abuse.

What does ISO 14025 actually require from EPDs?

ISO 14025 sets the following criteria for verification and the verifier:

  • “Verifier: person or body that carries out verification” – chapter 3.8.
  • “Independent verification of data from LCA, LCI and information modules” – chapter 8.1.3.
  • “Independent verifiers… shall not have conflicts of interests resulting from their position in the organization.” – chapter 8.2.1.

Detecting EPDs that are being passed off as independently verified EPDs, yet are not, can be very hard. Such EPDs are published in large quantities in NRMCA and EPD Norge, for example. This is not without risk; it has led to EPDs being published where the product’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) is off by a factor of one million, as the example below shows. While verification does not guarantee the full accuracy of results, it clearly improves quality. For more details on data quality and types of EPD verifications, read How we work with data.

Example of an EPD with inconsistent GWP data

Verification Statement introduced in

new EPDs created with One Click LCA

To bring clarity to the market we’re introducing a new Verification Statement in new One Click LCA generated EPDs from May 2021. The purpose of the Verification Statement is to capture key information about the verification and verifier and the verification process on the EPD itself, to make it fully clear what verification process has been followed. Self-declared documents would not have one. We invite other organisations to follow suit and incorporate such data on their EPDs.

We are introducing also the share of supply-chain specific data for the GWP-fossil for A1-A3 as part of the Verification Statement. This provides more transparency on the specificity of upstream data.

Example: Verification Statement in a new EPD created with One Click LCA

How can third-party verification be made affordable?

Key elements for this are: EPD software pre-verification; and, EPD verification support process, which we use for One Click LCA. Read more about EPD software pre-verification and process here.

Does every EPD really have to be independently verified by a qualified person or body?

For EPDs claiming compliance with ISO 14025, the answer is yes.

However, the ISO standards family also includes ISO 14021 Environmental labels and declarations. Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labelling), which is intended for making claims that are not verified. Such documents fit many purposes and needs, and have benefits in terms of time and money.

A further option is available with One Click LCA and partner EPD programs: project EPDs. These EPDs are variants of a published third-party verified EPD, for example for a specific delivery or bidding purposes. Such EPDs are not published, but benefit from the same compliance as third-party verified EPDs. EPDs deviating from the original EPD by a margin higher than the acceptable tolerance would not be eligible as project EPDs, but would require verification.

To discuss this matter further, contact our EPD experts at sales@oneclicklca.com.

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