When is an EPD not an EPD?


Signify and Philips (its lighting brand) are talking a good talk about EPD on their website. The article is is called, “How Environmental Product Declarations are helping green the lighting industry“.

They talk about why people might want EPD, for example:

“One way companies can affirm their sustainability efforts is by issuing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for the items they manufactureor, on the procurement side, requesting them from manufacturers.” 

 “Indeed, the EPD has become an internationally accepted way of assessing and communicating environmental impact in B2B interactions.”

“A growing trend is evident in the lighting business: End-users, like municipalities launching public street-lighting projects and private real estate companies installing lighting in their buildings, have increasingly started requesting Life-Cycle Assessment Studies and EPDs.”

And they recognise what an EPD is, a VERIFIED declaration, as they say,

“An EPD is essentially a verified version of what’s known as a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the product—a document that analyzes the product’s lifetime environmental impacts.”

And they recognise that there are EPD programmes, like the EcoPassport programme in France,

“National and international associations and programs, like France’s EcoPassport system for related technologies like heating, electricity, and lighting, are also boosting awareness of EPDs.”

And they tell us that they have published some EPD,

“To provide information on material compositions and environmental impact, we at Signify have published a number of EPDs for different LED luminaires in our professional indoor and outdoor portfolios. Please read the EPDs for our Maxos fusion trunking system and feel free to reach out to us with questions.”

The only problem, they don’t have an EPD. You can check it at Click to access 142476_BROCHURE_Maxos-fusion_EPD_A4_LR_3Dec.pdf

The actual document says “Environmental Product Declaration of the Maxos fusion
Circular Economy Ready luminaire (ISO 14021, based on ISO 14040/14044, EN 15804)

So it says it’s an EPD, but ISO 14021 is the standard for self-declared claims. It also says,

“The CEN Norm EN 15804 serves as the core PCR”

but if so, you’d expect to see some environmental indicator results for the product – but this document only shows you a graph showing the breakdown of impacts over the life cycle, with each impact adding up to 100%. So no information on the actual impacts. The declaration has also not been verified by an independent expert as is required for an EPD to ISO 14025 or EN 15804.

In my view, this is purposely trying to mislead people by suggesting Signify and Philips have EPD when they most definitely don’t.

About constructionlca

Co-author Green Guide to Specification, expert in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), EPDs and sustainability for the construction materials sector Researching Building LCA and how we can increase uptake at the Open University. Tweets as @constructionlca
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