(complementary) Product Category Rules (PCR)

Product Category Rules are rules that provide further instructions for a specific product group on how to complete the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Established methodologies, programs and international standards provide general guidance that promote consistent assessments.

PCRs are necessary to define rules and requirements for creating Product Category*-specific life cycle assessment studies and summarizing the results in Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and/or product carbon footprint communications. PCRs for an industry ensure a harmonized sector approach to life cycle assessments. They provide a level playing field, a fair and consistent comparison.
*A Product Category is a group of products that can fulfill equivalent functions.

The process of creating a PCR  
The rules to develop and verify cPCR are set out in ISO 14025 (based on the ISO 21930, the core PCR document for construction products, construction elements and integrated technical systems).

Lack of global harmonization between PCRs or sector guidance documents has led to the development of duplicate PCRs for same products. Differences in the general requirements (e.g. product category definition, reporting format) and LCA methodology (e.g. system boundaries, inventory analysis, allocation rules, etc.) diminish the comparability of product claims.

Interested parties and stakeholders can participate in an open and collaborative process to develop PCRs (based on EN 15804). Stakeholders may include material suppliers, manufacturers, trade associations, purchasers, users, consumers, non-governmental organizations, public agencies, life cycle assessment practitioners, and certification bodies.

In addition to national rules and regulations determination of:

  • fixed (default) transportation distances;

  • cutoff values and validity period of data;

  • allocation of environmental costs by life stages;

  • valuation of reuse benefits

are also possible topics that can be addressed in a specific PCR.
Note that in order to prepare a PCR for the European market parties are bound by the EN 15804 for constructions products. 

For the Netherlands, the Working Group Technisch Inhoudelijke Commissie | TIC (Technical Content Committee) of the Foundation Nationale Milieudatabase reviews and approves the NL-PCRs.
The TIC consists of representatives of key stakeholders, including (large and small) industry producers, clients, LCA experts, knowledge institutes, industry associations.

Valid Product Category Rules
European PCR’s established under CEN
Active NL PCRs