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ACLCA Launches 2022 ACLCA PCR Guidance

By: Sustainable Minds • Aug 18, 2022

ACLCA Launches 2022 ACLCA PCR Guidance – Process and Methods Toolkit: Creating standardized, consistent, and reliable PCRs & EPDs for transparency, procurement, and supply chain data.

Washington, DC (June 14, 2022) - New PCR Guidance – Process and Methods Toolkit was launched today by the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), The toolkit provides process checklists for each of the roles in the product category rule creation process and methods & methodologies addenda to ensure the quality of PCRs, thereby ensuring that EPD results can reliably inform decision-making.

With the increasing demand for using ISO Type III environmental declarations (EPDs) to communicate the potential environmental impacts of products and processes, EPDs are also being used to inform design and public procurement decisions (The White House 2021, Buy Clean California 2021, Buy Clean Colorado 2021). This presents the critical need to create EPDs that are ISO standards-conformant, consistent with life cycle assessment (LCA) best practices and that enable digital communication with construction, financial, and other reporting tools. To that end, there is an urgency to create technical frameworks that support industry wide protocols for developing high quality product category rules (PCRs).

A cornerstone of using EPDs successfully in procurement is the quality of the underlying PCR, and conformance to the processes established by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Published in 2013, the ACLCA PCR Guidance has been the leading reference for program operators’ PCR development process in North America. This 2022 version reflects the progress in the use of EPDs and program operators’ experience creating them over the past 9 years. Key to this new version was incorporating results from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded research to assess the quality of PCRs. The toolkit is intended to be used for the creation of new PCRs and to determine if updates are needed to existing PCRs for materials impacted by state and federal procurement legislations.

Increasingly, private and public agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are enacting Buy Clean policies that identify the use of EPDs for reporting environmental impacts of products and processes. The goal is to promote the use of construction materials with lower embodied carbon emissions and inform decision-making processes with life cycle thinking. This will further efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in alignment with the federal government's goal of attaining Net Zero by 2050.

“This new demand required taking a systems approach, beginning with how environmental data is created specifically for the intended reporting use, through how to deliver it in tools that help make better decisions,” said Terry Swack, a managing editor of the PCR Guidance & EPD Comparability working group (creators of the toolkit), and Founder & CEO of Sustainable Minds, a program operator and product transparency solutions provider. “It also required a user-centered approach as there are many people involved in developing a PCR. For each role, we created a detailed checklist of tasks with the corresponding ISO standard and deliverable to make it easy to confirm each has been completed. Effectively, this is a data quality assurance program. Program operators using this guidance to create PCRs will be assuring the creation of consistent and quality data. Quality data in, means reliable results out.”

“As EPDs start being used in procurement, it is critical for the LCA profession that practitioners use a consensus based approach to standards of practice that ensure reliable, high quality EPDs. ISO standards provide the conformance requirements. This toolkit supports practitioners in delivering conformant results,” said Debbie Steckel, ACLCA Executive Director. “The ACLCA’s goal is for all North American program operators to update their programs by adopting this toolkit. To that end, we are creating the Program Operators’ User Group to participate in the evolution of this work.”

ACLCA will host a webinar with the authors of the 2022 ACLCA PCR Guidance and special guest Migdalia Carrion, Sustainable Pavements Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration, June 28, 2022 at 12pm (ET). Register here.

The 2022 ACLCA PCR Guidance – Process and Methods Toolkit is available on the ACLCA website.

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About the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment
The American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) is a non-profit membership organization that brings together diverse organizations with a stake in the implementation and application of LCA. The mission of ACLCA is to build capacity and knowledge of environmental life cycle assessment
and life cycle thinking through collaboration, education, innovation, research, and advocacy. ACLCA members include industry, academia, consulting, government, NGOs and students. For more
information, visit aclca.org

Media Contact: Debbie Steckel, (253) 693-0206, [email protected]

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