Environmental Footprint in Swedish Industry – increased understanding and implementation

Report no 2023:04
Monday, 15 January, 2024

The project Environmental Footprint in Swedish Industry – increased understanding and implementation started in November 2022. The aim of the project has been to enhance awareness among businesses, authorities, and the public sector in Sweden regarding product-related policy development based on the Environmental Footprint framework at the EU level. The project aimed also at elucidating and highlight the ramifications of various methodological choices in the assessment of Product Environmental Footprints (PEF), thereby fostering a deeper comprehension of the potential impacts on the Swedish industry.

To highlight effects and to test parts of the Environmental Footprint methodologies, two case studies have been executed within the project. One case study focused on modelling impact on climate change with focus on biogenic carbon in an interlinked product systems and in long living products. The other case study focused on better understanding the consequences of implementing the Circular Footprint Formula (CFF), which is part of the PEF framework, within the automotive industry and with focus on materials used in batteries. Results from the case studies revealed challenges with the Circular Footprint Formula. Mostly due to CFFs complexity, lack of clear guidance, and ambiguity in its application. A specific concern is raised within one case study about the effective use of CFF to differentiate between post-consumer and pre- consumer materials, as the pre-consumer materials often come from manufacturing inefficiencies or manufacturing losses, and therefore in many cases should not give the same credit as post-consumer materials. The lack of specific guidance on biogenic carbon content modelling was also identified and a lack of harmonization between the PEF guidance and the EN 15804 standard, leading to varied results across different modelling approaches. The case studies also emphasized data availability and interpretation challenges, with inconsistent usage and interpretation of data leading to non-comparable results.

Besides the case studies, communication regarding upcoming regulations within the EU that refer to Environmental Footprint has been conducted to increase understanding and further prepared the Swedish industry. Expert groups and other dialogue meetings have expanded the network of people that have knowledge about the Environmental Footprint. The project has increased collaboration between Swedish actors to both exchange knowledge and to manage Environmental Footprint.

Read more about the project

Maria Rydberg, Anna Wikström and Yulia Liu, Swedish Life Cycle Center, Erika Kloow and Josefin Neuwirth, IVL, Jonas Larsson, SSAB, Torun Hammar and Mats Zackrisson, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Jennifer Davis, Felipe Oliveria, Morgana Santos de Lima and Ben Whitaker, Volvo Car Corporation, Babak Kianian and Sofia Poulikidou, Höganäs AB, Lionel Belzons and Lisa Åkerlund, CEVT.