Eco-profiles Programme

PlasticsEurope was the first industry organisation to assemble and publish detailed environmental data on the processes operated by its member companies. The first Eco-profile reports were published in 1993. Since then, more reports have been added and continuously updated, so that there are now more than 70 Eco-profile reports freely available. In 2006, a complementary Environmental Product Declaration programme was begun. Eco-profiles and EPDs cover the high volume, bulk polymers, some of the more widely used engineering plastics and several common plastics conversion processes. Widely acknowledged among life cycle practitioners and other stakeholders worldwide as representative datasets, they have been included in various commercial life cycle databases as well as in the publicly available European Life Cycle Database (ELCD).

Objectives of Eco-profiles

PlasticsEurope has clear objectives when compiling the Eco-profile reports, representing European production averages:

  • One, is to place scientifically sound data in the public domain for use in product life-cycle studies, without compromising the confidentiality of detailed process data of the individual companies.
  • The second is to encourage environmental improvements in production processes through benchmarking against a European industry average.
  • The third key factor is that, given the large contribution of upstream effects to the Eco-profile of a polymer and in view of the distribution of input materials, such as ethylene or naphtha via the European pipeline network, industry averages are the most robust representation of polymer production systems.

Future of Eco-profiles

Since the first Eco-profile reports were published, the Life cycle assessment methodology, standardisation and practice has undergone substantial changes. New concepts, such as Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and Carbon Footprint have emerged. Downstream industries like the building and construction sector have their own standards and data needs. Hence, Eco-profiles need to change in response to best practices and stakeholder needs. To this end, PlasticsEurope periodically seeks stakeholder input on the Eco-profile methodology. Furthermore, in view of the need for globally harmonised practices and comparable results, PlasticsEurope welcomes and actively invites liaison with other regional federations. As a contribution towards shared best practices, the Eco-profile methodology aligns with other material- or sector-specific standards.

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