PCF Roundtable | Why PCR Harmonization is Critical

On 29-30 April 2013 the PCF World Forum will host in Berlin the PEF Policy Conference and the PCF Rountdable, to discuss developments and perspectives around Product Footprinting. Mark Goedkoop gives a brief insight about the conference and tells why PCR harmonization is critical



The PCF Roundtable is a very well-organized, interactive meeting. I am looking forward to attending next month in Berlin. Good ideas always come from this event, and we are at a critical phase in footprinting analysis, where PCRs must become harmonized, or risk losing their credibility forever.


When I first attended the PCF Roundtable in 2009, I came back with a new initiative to build a collaborative network of PCR producing organizations; so called “programme” operators. Along with Rasmus Pries, this year’s conference organizer, we worked to bring some form of harmonization to this area. We gathered the 20 most important players, including Japan, Thailand, several European governments, and U.S. organizations, and met a few times. Unfortunately, we found the preparedness to align was not yet very big. This resulted in a very confusing landscape. There is now a big risk that consumers will soon discover that many of the same products have a slightly different footprint, because of a slightly different PCR. This threatens to spoil the credibility of footprinting forever.

So, while this initiative did not produce direct results, it helped inspire two new initiatives. In the U.S., a group guided by the EPA started to produce a global PCR guidance document. Although the work was done by Vee Subramanian and Wes Ingwersen, I will be presenting this story at the roundtable. The EU also realized the danger of inconsistent PCRs, and developed the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) as well as the Organizational Environmental Footprint (OEF). After an initial pilot phase last year, with PRé as the supporting consultant, a new version of the methodology and a three-year pilot are now being announced. This will be a major event in the footprinting landscape, and could well be the last opportunity to establish a streamlined, comprehensive approach.


This year, the PEF method is the central theme at the Berlin meeting.


source: Mark Goedkoop

Founder PRé


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Mark Goedkoop


When I established PRé in 1990 I ran a design consultancy, then I decided to do ecodesign. But, how do I tell the good from the bad? And how can I measure ‘eco’? So I started on a journey together with a few pioneers in the emerging LCA scene and gave up designing. I realized then that these same questions need to be answered by any company embarking on the route to more sustainable products and services, preferably in a scientific, honest, and businesslike way. Providing good transparent tools, data, and methodologies to empower organizations to make the transition to sustainability, that is my drive.

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