In accordance with the findings of "Sustainable Consumption and Production” and the “Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan" adopted by the European Union, in 2013 product environmental footprints and organisation environmental footprint pilots were initiated by the European Commission with the aim of developing a harmonised environmental footprinting methodology that accommodates a broader suite of relevant environmental performance criteria.
The 2013-2016 Environmental Footprint pilot phase has three main objectives:
1. Test the process for developing products and sector-specific rules;
2. Test different approaches to verification;
3. Test communication vehicles for communicating life cycle environmental performance to business partners, consumers and other company stakeholders.
Twenty five product environmental footprint pilots (ranging from IT equipment, T-shirts, coffee, beer and pasta) and two organisation environmental footprint pilots (retail and copper production) were initiated to aid in the development of the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint Sector Rules (OEFSRs). All of the PEFCRs and OEFSRs completed a four-week public consultation to be approved and finalised by 31 December 2016. The PEFCRs and OEFSRs will be adopted as technical instruments to facilitate the implementation of an EU single market for green products initiative.