FEDIOL just released a study on Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) profiles of vegetable oil and protein meal products commissioned to the Belgian research institute VITO. The life cycle stages covered in the FEDIOL study include the industrial processing of commodities, such as oilseeds and crude vegetable oils, but also the up-stream stages of cultivation and transport and the downstream stages of transport of the processed products to the customer, who receives refined oil, meal, lecithin and other refining by-product.
PEF, product environmental footprint, is a method developed by the European Commission and based on Life Cycle Assessment. Its goal is to provide a common approach to measuring environmental performance of products. Following the PEF method, the sixteen environmental impacts have been assessed together with biodiversity. Next to these PEF profiles, VITO created category rules for our products, which provide specific guidance for estimating and reporting product life cycle environmental impacts.
Twenty-eight production sites from ten different FEDIOL companies participated in the study by collecting data and contributing to the design of the sector’s category rules.
The PEF method will help operators in our industry to better understand the environmental impact of their products, allowing them to address hotspots and to reduce impacts across the life cycle of their products. They can also use a footprint method that is harmonised across the industry to respond to customer requests on the environmental impacts of their products.
With the completion of the FEDIOL study following the PEF method, the sector should be better prepared for an upcoming EU legislative initiative which would involve the use of PEF methodologies as a basis for green claims or more generally sharing information on environmental performance. The PEF profiles and the category rules can be found on the FEDIOL website.