Volunteer-based product environmental footprint: French Secretary of Ecology Ségolène Royal gives her official go-ahead
Year 2017 happens to be a turning point for France’s volunteer-based product environmental footprinting, with the publication of the official announcement of its deployment (as early as March 2017) by the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development. The green light is thus given for the deployment of this initiative which aim is to meet « Article 90 on Energy Transition Law for Green Growth »’s requirements and which reflects Ségolène Royal’s will to « make available to both companies (manufacturers) and consumers a support tool in favour of the energy and ecological transition. »
Target products: this volunteer-based implementation of products’ environmental footprint currently embraces five product/service categories: a) electronic equipment b) food products c) furniture d) textile articles e) the hotel industry (e.g. impact attributable to one overnight stay) and has attracted two respectable French commerce protagonists which names are Casino and Fnac. An implementation which intends to be « strictly monitored » since it imposes a « multicriteria-only » communication to the public – so as avoid any partial allegations or false advertising.
Participating companies: any enterprise which becomes involved in the project, which adheres to the common rules defined by ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) and carries out the project in consultation with all stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors, environmental protection and consumer associations…) inside product-specific work groups.
Product’s environmental performance display: the product’s environmental performance will be expressed by means of a pictogram featuring an alphabetical rating ranging from A to E or a numerical rating ranging from 0 to 99.
Environmental impacts portrayed: they will be calculated throughout the product’s entire life cycle and will incorporate, amongst others, climate change, air pollution, water pollution and natural resources use. The environmental performance of a product being necessarily multi-criteria-based, it cannot be limited to one particular environmental viewpoint and will be displayed on the deemed appropriate medium (on the product itself, on the shelves, on the designated website…). This comparable and unbiased piece of information may have an effect on customers’ buying process. It does not in any way replace a company label or a quality trademark, and displays the product’s environmental impact as it is, high or low.
Key support tools: among the different product categories covered by the implementation of France’s volunteer-based product environmental footprint, the textile articles division brought together several garment industry key players such as Altertex, Decathlon, Happychic, Okaïdi, Picture Organic Clothing, Teintures and Apprêts Danjoux, Tissages of Charlieu, Voodoo/Gil’B and the French Textile Industry Union. Three main support tools were necessary to successfully carry out the modelling of the goods: that includes the IMPACTR database (inventory of mass market products), Spin it (LCA of textile products) and a sector-specific product environmental footprint system of reference validated jointly by all participants (as for the methodology). Once they are done with the environmental footprint of their products, companies who wish to do so have the possibility to liaise with European Union’s eco-label.
Contact: sandrine.pesnel (at) cycleco.eu.