Product Environmental Footprint: A level playing field

CEPE's Sector Group Decorative Coatings has been working on a pilot project on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF). We spoke to chair Thierry Destruhaut about the project and the potential of PEF to replace the current ecolabel.

CEPE's Sector Group Decorative Coatings has been working on a pilot project on the Product Environmental Footprint. Image source: Sergey Nivens - Fotolia -

What is currently on the agenda for the Sector Group Decorative Coatings?

Thierry Destruhaut: As you can imagine, the running TiO2 dossier is keeping the sector group and other groups of CEPE very busy. Advocating for our industry vis a vis regulatory dossiers is the first task of CEPE and its sector groups, and activities are also intense on the side of the harmonised EU poison centre declaration (in case people would ingest one of our product), CLP and the biocide product regulation. Regarding the latter we believe that there is a lack of coordination of the biocide approval dossiers at the EU level. Indeed, our industry is unable to predict what biocides will be approved and even kept approved under the BPR, this puts us in a highly uncertain situation. A consequence of this uncertainty may result in a threat for the waterborne products as a too limited number of in-can preservatives will remain. We would like to see better management of the approval dossiers at EU level. Besides regulations the Deco Group keeps on investing efforts in the EU Product Environmental Footprinting tool.

What is the current status of the Product Environmental footprint pilot for decorative coatings?

BB_CEPE Annual Report_2013_Destruhaut

Thierry Destruhaut

Chair Sector Group Decorative Coatings of CEPE

Destruhaut: We have now reached great results with the creation of PEF calculation rules for 4 product segments (Interior / Exterior wall paints and Interior / Exterior Wood). This puts the paint industry among the most advanced industries in Europe regarding product sustainability. We are all very excited at the prospect of using the PEF in the near future; however, we are also conscious that a phase of proper training / communication must take place, not only for the customers who will need to understand the PEF labels, but also for the deco paint manufacturers who will need calculate these PEF scores that go on the labels. We have designed the system to be a level playing field in the industry, so we need to ensure that the full deco industry is empowered for calculating PEF scores. That is the reason why CEPE is going to create an easy to use IT tool, for enabling its members.

What are the latest developments regarding the future of the Ecolabel after May 2018?

Destruhaut: A survey was launched by CEPE recently to get feedback from all its members regarding the best possible development. We have understood that the EU Commission is eager to start leveraging the PEF as a robust and holistic product sustainability system. We believe that the PEF could replace the current Ecolabel system and need to ensure that all stakeholders are ready for such a change. As stated above it is crucial that a proper training and tools are organised for all the Deco Industry to embrace the PEF.

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