Product Category Rules (PCR)

For Environmental Product Declarations

What are Product Category Rules (PCR)?

PCRs are the product category-specific requirements for conducting life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and reporting their findings through Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), consistent with international standards ISO 14025 and ISO 14044.  EPDs are recognized by a growing number of green rating systems, such as LEED v4 and Green Globes. Build greater environmental transparency into your product sector and earn the respect of your stakeholders and customers by establishing carefully crafted Product Category Rules (PCRs).  

Why Choose SCS?

SCS is uniquely qualified to guide you through the exacting, multi-stakeholder PCR development process. Our broad industry expertise stems from 40 years as a pioneer in environmental claims certification, and as a leading LCA practitioner and developer of advanced LCA methods. Clients include producers of building and construction products, furnishings, food and agriculture, paper, chemicals, electric power generation, and more. SCS is among the first organizations recognized by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) as an eligible Program Operator and accredited independent EPD Verifier.

  • Service Details
  • Process
  • FAQs
  • Benefits
  • Program Documents

PCR Sponsorship

Product Category Rule (PCR) development is typically sponsored by a group of stakeholders, including industry associations, groups of manufacturers, or other interested parties. Individual manufacturers may contact SCS for PCR development services, but the process must include a stakeholder group involving multiple parties.

Relevant Standards

PCRs must be prepared in accordance with the requirements set forth in ISO 14025. PCRs of construction products must additionally comply with ISO 21930. Copies of these ISO standards can be downloaded from ANSI:

SCS' Role

Our job is guide your PCR development process to assure that it fully complies with the requirements of international standards, and that it achieves the transparency, scientific grounding, and comprehensive coverage needed to guarantee credibility in the marketplace. We will assist with organization of the stakeholder group, manage the peer review process, provide expert input based on extensive experience with LCA, and oversee the PCR development.

Related Services

Ask us for additional support in the following areas:

  • Conduct LCA studies, based on conventional framework or advanced, comprehensive LCA metrics.
  • Perform a third-party critical review of your LCA.
  • Provide verification of your EPD, evaluated against PCRs developed by SCS or by other EPD program operators.
  • Receive turn-key LCA EPD service where we handle the entire process from beginning to your EPD verification by a 3rd party.

The PCR development process involves a series of discrete steps:

  1. Review existing applicable Product Category Rules, if any
  2. Discuss scope of product category to be covered and the LCA framework
  3. Assemble a group of stakeholders
  4. Start work with a PCR template provided by SCS
  5. Convene stakeholder group to draft the PCR
  6. Review public comments and revise the draft PCR
  7. Send revised draft to a qualified peer review panel
  8. Make further revisions, then return to panel for final peer review
  9. Post the draft PCR for public comment
  10. Publish the final PCR

SCS can also provide client marketing support

  1. What is the purpose of a Product Category Rule (PCR)?

    PCRs are intended to level the playing field when comparing the life cycle assessment (LCA) results or Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) of similar products. Specifically, their purpose is to provide a consistent set of rules and ensure that the LCA adequately addresses issues relevant to a particular product category.

  2. What is driving the development of PCRs?

    Stakeholders are now demanding more transparency and disclosure of the impacts for products. Green rating systems such as LEED v4 and Green Globes now give credit to products for which EPDs have been prepared.

  3. Who are the stakeholders in a PCR development process?

    The stakeholders for any given PCR may include material suppliers, manufacturers, purchasers, users, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics and scientists, public agencies, LCA Practitioners, and certification bodies.

  4. Who can peer review a PCR?

    The peer review team consists of individuals with sufficient knowledge of life cycle assessment, the relevant ISO standards, and the product category to be able to fairly critique the work and lend credibility to the process. The peer review panel will consist of a minimum of 3 individuals.

  5. What is the connection between PCRs and international standards?

    PCRs are described in ISO 14025, the international standard for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). That standard, in turn, refers back to ISO 14044, the standard for life cycle assessment (LCA). (PCRs of construction products must additionally comply with ISO 21930.) As these standards are updated through the normal ISO process, it will be important to assure that the PCRs continue to comply with such standards. SCS can help you set your PCR up to comply with the most stringent LCA reforms.

  • Engage in a process that promotes highly credible, scientifically-supported declarations and claims.
  • Support the environmental transparency expectations of customers.
  • Build consensus among diverse stakeholders to establish common expectations and promote a roadmap for improvement.
  • Establish the basis for products in a category to earn credit under green rating schemes.
File Name Document
Addendum for IBU PCR Part B for Mineral Panels English
Addendum for IBU PCR Part B for System Floors English
Addendum for IBU PCR Part B for Wall Coverings English
Addendum for iEPD System PCR for Construction Products English
Advanced Program Operator Manual Visit Site
EPD Overview English
ISO 14044 Visit Site
ISO 21930 Visit Site
LCIA Methodology for PCR Modules for Roundwood and Pulp/Paper English
PCR Addendum for Corrugated Steel Pipe English
PCR Final LCIA Methodology English
PCR Final Pulp Paper English
PCR Final Wood Products English
PCR for Designated North American Steel Construction Products English
PCR Module for Market Pulp and Paper Products English
PCR Module for Roundwood Products English
Procedure for Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Verification English
Product Category Rule English
Program Operator Manual Visit Site
SCS Advanced EPD Program Operator Manual Visit Site
SCS Program Operator Manual Visit Site

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Keith Killpack