2022 ACLCA PCR Guidance

Creating Standardized, Consistent, and Reliable PCRs & EPDs for Transparency, Procurement, and Supply Chain Data

Process and Methods Toolkit

With the increasing demand for using ISO Type III environmental declarations (EPDs) to communicate the potential environmental impacts of products and processes, EPDs are also being used to inform design and procurement decisions (The White House 2021, Buy Clean California 2021, Buy Clean Colorado 2021).

This presents the critical need to create EPDs that are ISO standards-conformant, consistent with life cycle assessment (LCA) best practices and that enable digital communication with construction, accounting, and other reporting tools.

Copy of Copy of Call for Abstract (3)

To that end, there is an urgency to create technical frameworks that support industry wide protocols for developing high quality product category rules (PCRs). Assuring the quality of PCRs will ensure that EPD results can reliably inform decision-making.

Published in 2013, the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) PCR Guidance Development document (Ingwersen and Subramanian, 2013) has been the leading reference for program operators’ PCR development process in North America.

This 2022 version reflects the progress in the use of EPDs and program operators’ experience over the past 9 years. The work to develop this update has been in process since 2018 including outcome of many stakeholder workshops and formal reviews including the ACLCA PCR committee reviews in 2020-21, and a formal public review in 2022.

2-Part Tool: Process (checklists) + Methods & Methodologies (Addenda)


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Methods & Methodology Addenda

Following is the list of currently identified topics. Working groups have been created to complete these  and others as future requirements are identified.

  • Industry-wide EPD Benchmarking
  • Circular Scenarios (Module D)
  • Biogenic Carbon Accounting
  • Renewable Energy Accounting
  • EPD Comparability and Digital EPDs / Open EPD
  • EPD Comparability Disclaimer Text
  • Buy Clean Legislation
  • Types of EPDs

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2013 ACLCA PCR Guidance

PCR Guidance Development Expand

PCR Guidance Development 

The Guidance Product Category Rule Development (PCR Guidance) is a global guidance document that extends upon existing standards to provide more guidance for developing the rules upon which product claims are based. Version 1.0 was developed by an international initiative, ‘Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative’ and published in August 2013. See the ‘History’ for more background information.

The ACLCA PCR committee is entrusted with the stewardship and further development of the PCR Guidance.

Download PCR Guidance Document Expand

Download PCR Guidance Document

Click Here to request a copy of the PCR guidance document. We promise to keep it private and only use it to update you on the Guidance.

Product Claims Standards Expand

Product Claims Standards

The Guidance is intended to supplement and/or align with the following standards and guidance documents:

 I. ISO 14025 and other Type III Standards, including:

  • ISO 14025: 2006 – Environmental labels and declarations – Type III environmental declarations – Principles and procedures (ISO)
  • BP X30-323-0: 2011 – Principes généraux pour l’affichage environnemental des produits de grande consummation (AFNOR, France)
  • CEN 15804: 2008 – Sustainability of construction works – Environmental product declarations – Product category rules (CEN, Europe)
  • ISO 21930 Sustainability in building construction – Environmental declaration of building products
  • Product Environmental Footprint Guide (European Commission Joint Research Centre, 2013)

III. Product Carbon Footprint Standards and other Single-Criteria LCA-based standards, such as:

  • Greenhouse Gas Product Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol, 2011)
  • PAS 2050 – Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services (BSI, 2011)
  • TS Q 0010 – General Principles for the Assessment and Labeling of Carbon Footprint of Products (JEMAI, Japan, 2009)
  • ISO 14020: 2000 Environmental labels and declarations – General principles
  • ISO 14021: 1999 Environmental labels and declarations – Self-declared environmental claims (Type II environmental labeling)
  • ISO 14040: 2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework
  • ISO 14044: 2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines
  • ISO 14050: 2006 Environmental management – Vocabulary
  • ISO 17024: 2003 Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons

Participating Organizations Expand

There are 55 participants from 44 organizations in this collaborative group effort. The participating organizations are listed below:

  • American Center for Life Cycle Assessment/US
  • Association of LCA in Latin America
  • Athena Sustainable Materials Institute/CA
  • Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association International/US
  • Canadian Standards Association/CA
  • Chilean Network of LCA/CL
  • Dow Chemical Company/US
  • EcoGlobal/CR
  • European Commission Directorate General for Environment/EU
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre/EU
  • Five Winds International
  • FP Innovations/CA
  • French Ministry of Sustainable Development/FR
  • Georgia-Pacific/US
  • GreenDelta/DE
  • Harvard University/US
  • Herman Miller/US
  • Ibero-American Network of LCA
  • Industrial Ecology Consultants/US
  • Interface/US
  • Japanese Environmental Management Association for Industry/JP
  • Kimball International/US
  • New Earth/US
  • NSF International/US
  • PE International
  • PRé Sustainability
  • Quantis/US
  • Scientific Certification Systems/US
  • SGS North America/US
  • Sustainable Solutions Corporation/US
  • Swedish Environmental Management Council/SE
  • Swiss Federal Office for the Environment/FOEN
  • The Carbon Trust/GB
  • The International EPD System/SE
  • UL Environment/US
  • UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative
  • Unilever/GB
  • University of Calgary/CA
  • University of Washington/US
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • World Resources Institute/US
  • World Wildlife Fund/US
  • Xerox/US

Program Operators Expand

Program Operators

This page provides a list of ISO 14025 program operators and other programs for LCA-based environmental claims. This is an unofficial list based on our best attempt to identify all relevant programs. The list is alphabetical with no priority given to any program. If you are a program operator, please contact us at info@aclca.org to append, remove, or edit the listing for your program.


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: Spain


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: France


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: USA

Australasia EPD

Industry: Uses Environdec

Location: Australia/NZ


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: Austria


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: UK

Carbon Leadership Forum

Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: USA


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: USA

DAP Habitat

Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: Portugal


Industry: Building & Construction Materials

Location: Chili

EDF Taiwan

Industry: B&C, machinery & equipment, transport

Location: Taiwan


Industry: B&C, Food and beverage, Electricity, other

Location: Sweden

EDB Belge

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Belgium

EDB Denmark

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Denmark

EDB India

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: India

EDB Ireland

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Ireland

EDB Italy

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Italy

EDB Norge

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Norway


Industry: Multiple

Location: EU

FP Innovations

Industry: Wood Products

Location: USA


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Germany


Industry: Wood Products

Location: USA



Industry: Agriculture, Food, Asphalt, Apparel

Location: USA


Industry: Building and Constructions materials

Location: Poland

JEMAI – ecoleaf

Industry: Machinery & Equipment; Food & Agric.

Location: Japan

JEMAI – ecoleaf

Industry: Machinery & Equipment; Food & Agric.

Location: Japan


Industry: Food & Agric.; Machinery & Equip.; Packaging

Location: Japan


Industry: Machinery & Equip., transport, chemical

Location: Korea


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Netherlands


Industry: Asphalt Mixtures

Location: USA


Industry: Concrete

Location: USA


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: USA

PEP ecopassport

Industry: Electronics, HVAC

Location: EU/France


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: USA

Sustainable Minds

Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: USA


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: USA


Industry: Building and Construction materials

Location: Slovenia

History Expand

PCR Guidance Development Initiative History

The increasing demand for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based product declarations, such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Product Environmental Footprints, have generated a corresponding need for rules for making comparable declarations of products within the same category. These rules are defined as Product Category Rules (PCRs) in ISO 14025, Product Rules in the GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard, Supplementary Requirements in PAS 2050, and Product Footprint Category Rules in the DRAFT European Commission Product Carbon Footprint Standard. Other standards such as BP X30 (France), SMRS (Sustainability Consortium), TS 0100 (Japan), and the forthcoming ISO 14067 also require the use of PCRs for making comparative product declarations. Thus far, the development of PCRs has taken place independently by various programs using one of the above-mentioned standards. As a result, there is no strong consensus on how to develop sound and consistent PCRs, nor is there a productive cross-recognition of PCRs between various programs. People working in the arena of LCA-based product comparisons have long realized the need to advance these standards to maintain a certain level of consistency.

By providing additional instructions, the Guidance

  • Purports that a single PCR can be used by various ISO 14044-compliant standards for product claims
  • Establishes a consistent document structure for PCRs that are required by various product claim standards
  • Provides consistency in the content that is included in PCRs
  • Fills gaps in guidance on PCRs by conforming with ISO 14040/44 and is based on other standards, peer-reviewed journal articles, guides, or program rules
  • Provides clarity in the level of detail of the content included in PCRs
  • Reduces cost and time required to develop a PCR, often by supporting the adaption of an existing PCR
  • Reduces confusion and frustration when creating PCRs that are based on standards and/or programs that are lacking in sufficient guidance
  • Improves the chances of comparability of claims across programs using the same product claim standard
  • Introduces visionary thinking by pushing the boundaries for improving PCR creation and use
  • Suggests means of improving the visibility of PCRs and program operators which will help reduce PCR duplicity

In seeking to fulfill its purpose, the Guidance

  • Uses ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 as the basis for alignment
  • Treats all product claim standards equally, while adopting the terminology and principles of ISO 14025 – the first and most thorough product claim standard that defines PCRs
  • Does not intend to supersede the instructions provided in any product claim standard or program instructions
  • Is setting the stage for the use of LCA-based product claims in decision making
  • Directly uses, paraphrases, or modifies some content from some standards for the sake of addressing insufficiency in other product claim standards

The Guidance IS NOT INTENDED TO do the following:

  • Pre-empt the development of ISO 14025 or other LCA-based product claim standards
  • Act as a standard by itself
  • Preclude application to any LCA-based standards and programs
  • Promote or advantage any particular program or program operator


For more information, see the following publications:

Ingwersen W, Subramanian V (2013) Guidance for product category rule development: process, outcome, and next steps. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. [LINK]

Subramanian, V., Ingwersen, W., Collie, H., Hensler, C. (2012) Comparison of Product Category Rules: Learned Outcomes Towards Global Alignment. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17: 892-903 [LINK].

Ingwersen, W., Subramanian, V., Schenck, R., Costello, A., Thoma, G., Lahd, H., Bushi, L., Ryding, S-O., Tam, L., East, C. (2011) Product category rules alignment workshop, October 4, 2011 ,in Chicago, IL, USA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17 (2):258-263. [LINK]

Ingwersen, W. W., and Stevenson, M. (2012) Can we compare the environmental performance of this product to that one? An update on the development of product category rules and future challenges toward alignment, Journal of Cleaner Production, 24: 102-108. [LINK]