The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre actively supports businesses and public administration in tackling the challenge of sustainable development. We encourage the use of approaches based on the Life Cycle Thinking.
Once a product is put on the market, there is relatively little than can be done to improve its environmental characteristics. The majority of all product-related environmental impacts are, in fact, determined during the design phase.
Ecodesign is therefore the process of integrating environmental considerations during all (as early as possible) stages of the design of products (or services). The aim is to identify possible design strategies and alternatives in order to reduce the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle.
Eco-labels are used to flag up the environmental credentials of a particular product or service. Key Environmental Performance Indicators (KEPIs) obtained through robust Life Cycle Assessments are being increasingly used to develop eco-labels.
Regulation on Eco-labeling: voluntary scheme of the European Eco-label
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a tool for identifying environmental problems and solutions. It provides organisations with a method to systematically manage their environmental activities, products and services, and helps to achieve their environmental obligations and performance goals.
To guide the use of Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment in Europe we are developing recommended international methods, indicators, reference data and pilot studies. We focus on increased awareness and use of Life Cycle Thinking through scientific robustness, quality-assurance and consensus building.