How EPDs benefit concrete manufacturers

How EPDs benefit concrete manufacturers

Concrete, image by Pexels

Why EPDs are the future of low-carbon concrete

What is an environmental product declaration (EPD)

In the past few years, an increasing number of concrete manufacturers have been investing in environmental product declarations (EPDs) as part of a global effort for more low-carbon concrete. 

EPDs are documents that transparently communicate the environmental impact of any product or material throughout its life cycle. EPDs are a vital tool in the race to reach Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 because they offer a standardized way to compare products based on their carbon footprint.  

An EPD is usually valid for five years, and is generated according to relevant local and global standards. Construction EPDs in particular, are based on the ISO 14040/14044, ISO 14025, EN 15804, or ISO 21930 standards.

Why do concrete manufacturers need to invest in EPDs? 

The construction industry is responsible for 50% of all carbon emissions from raw material extraction. Buildings in particular, are responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions, with 11% coming from materials and construction.

Concrete is the most used material on the planet. It causes 4 gigatons of carbon emissions a year. Cement specifically, which is the binding agent of concrete, is responsible for 8% of the world’s total carbon emissions according to the IFC. For this reason, efforts to halve carbon emissions in the construction industry have intensified over the past few years, with strict regulations over carbon-intensive materials like concrete, paving the way. 

An increasing number of countries are including whole-life carbon assessments in their planning and building regulations. Whole life carbon includes the embodied carbon impacts arising from the extraction, manufacture, and transportation of building materials. In addition, many of the new laws include phased carbon reduction targets. EPDs enable manufacturers to benchmark and then reduce their impacts to ensure that they remain competitive as these limits come into force. Consequently, the EU has created a set of rules which create demand and then requirement for EPD-aligned data. 

These regulatory requirements affect concrete manufacturers inside and outside of Europe:

For the moment, EPDs in manufacturing are voluntary. However, they are expected to become a mandatory requirement in many countries in the coming years, and carbon-intensive materials like concrete are at the heart of this change.

Learn more about global regulatory EPD requirements.


Benefits of concrete EPDs 

Environmental product declarations are valuable for creating low-carbon concrete products. With EPDs, specifiers and buyers are able to compare the impact of the same products or materials, helping them make informed decisions about the products they will choose. 

The adoption of concrete EPDs helps manufacturers:
  • Boost transparency: enabling comparability of different products helps manufacturers benchmark their products and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Ensure global compliance: creating EPDs helps manufacturers comply with increasing embodied carbon regulations.
  • Gain accreditation for certifications and schemes: buildings that use construction products with EPDs are awarded credits under several green building programs such as BREEAM and LEED. 
  • Facilitate the creation of LCAs: EPDs are product-specific performance data that can be used in the creation of required building-level LCAs. 
  • Meet their clients’ needs: EPDs provide data that can used to support your clients’ carbon commitments.

Why invest in EPDs — benefits of environmental product declarations

How can manufacturers create concrete EPDs

In the next five years, a large number of environmental regulations come into force, making the adoption of concrete EPDs mandatory across many markets. France, Germany, and the UK have already introduced life-cycle carbon limits, while EPDs are considered business-critical in many countries. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CRSD) is a good example of this trend. It is an EU directive that increases the sustainability reporting requirements for all larger and SME companies. It was adopted in 2022 and will roll out in waves from 2024 through 2028. 

By investing in concrete EPDs manufacturers will be able to stay ahead of the curve. Since EPDs are  independently verified documents, companies will be able to rely on them when the time of  mandatory regulations comes. By implementing sustainable practices at the beginning of the concrete value chain, manufacturers can set the scene for the next step in the chain: construction.  

How can One Click LCA help you decarbonize your product?

With One Click LCA’s EPD Generator for concrete, manufacturers can create environmental product declarations (EPDs) that fulfill global regulatory requirements, including the Swedish Klimatdeklaration, Danish BR18, GLA’s London Plan, and Norwegian TEK 21. Get in touch with our EPD experts to learn more about creating concrete EPDs. 

Create & publish concrete EPDs

For concrete manufacturers to create and publish reliable, third-party verified concrete EPDs — fully compliant with global EPD standards.

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