Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Methodological challenges posed by the environmental product declaration for agricultural products

The European Union (EU) intends to introduce an environmental product declaration for agricultural products. This raises the question of the extent to which the various methodological guidelines are suitable for this purpose from the Swiss perspective. Together with Koch Consulting and on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Agroscope has therefore made a comparison of the relevant guidelines. On this basis, the most important effects of the various methodological recommendations on the environmental product declarations for agricultural products were analysed. The study concludes that the existing PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and ENVIFOOD (Environmental Assessment of Food and Drink) document make a valuable contribution to the harmonisation of the environmental product declaration for agricultural products; however, the documents examined do not yet ensure that comparable results are achieved when different users (e.g. Food producer A and Food producer B) avail themselves of the methodological guidelines in order to illustrate the environmental impacts for an identical product. What’s more, the two categories of biodiversity and soil quality are not dealt with in a satisfactory manner.

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