What are EPD's?
The short answer is "Environmental Product Declarations". The longer version is that they are emerging as potentially the best opportunity the international wood sector has to prove its true environmental credentials and level the playing field.
EPD's assess the total environmental impact of a product or material and they are being developed across many industries under a framework of international standards. If they are reviewed and verified then they become transparent communication tools for comparing environmental performance of competing products. Led by AHEC, the American hardwood industry has just commissioned an extensive LCA programme, as a follow on to the Seneca Creek legality study. Developing a range of EPD's for relevant species and products will form a key part of the LCA work. The next challenge will be to get more "green" building codes and rating systems to recognise EPDs and follow the example of Germany.