Product Category Rule (PCR)

  • Overview
  • What is a PCR?
  • Benefits
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Development Process
  • PCR / EPD Documents

In a marketplace wary of green product hype, NSF Sustainability provides independent, science-based verification of environmental claims that achieve the highest levels of transparency. We can help your organization develop product category rules (PCRs) for your industry and provide environmental product declaration (EPD) verification across multiple product groups and industries. PCRs define the parameters for conducting a life cycle assessment for a product group and include requirements for the resulting report, the EPD. EPDs offer an international standard of communication to provide transparency about a product’s environmental impact throughout its entire life cycle.

To get started on development of a PCR for your particular product category, or find out more about PCRs, call +1 734.827.6835 or contact ncss@nsf.org.

What is a PCR?

Product category rules are defined in ISO 14025 (Environmental Labels and Declarations – Type III Environmental Declarations) as a set of specific rules, requirements and guidelines for developing Type III environmental declarations for one or more product categories. PCRs typically require data about the consumption of resources, including energy, water and renewable resources, and emissions to air, water and soil.

Benefits

Product category rules (PCRs) allow for review and comparison of different environmental product attributes among products in a defined category. PCRs and environmental product declarations (EPDs) help manufacturers differentiate their products in the marketplace and respond to increasing demands for more sustainable products and transparency of environmental claims.

As a program operator, NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards can guide industries, trade organizations or individual companies through an ISO 14025-compliant process to develop a PCR for their product categories. We also provide life cycle assessment (LCA) and EPD verification services.

Why Work With NSF?

The National Center for Sustainability Standards has developed product category rules (PCRs) and American National Standards for a wide range of product categories, including chemicals, commercial furnishings, flooring, building products and materials, and water treatment and distribution systems. We partner with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, industry representatives, academics and public health and environmental professionals to develop transparent and consensus-based standards, protocols and PCRs.

We offer third-party verification services for PCRs and can also help you develop life cycle assessments and environmental product declarations (EPDs) ,as well as provide education on the overall process and role of EPDs in your business and markets.

Development Process

As a program operator, NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards develops product category rules (PCRs) in accordance with international environmental labeling guidelines (ISO 14025). We use an open consultative process to develop PCRs with participation from expert stakeholders in product manufacturing, supply chain management, regulatory, environmental consulting, life cycle assessment and other interested parties.

Steps in Developing a PCR

NSF’s National Center for Sustainability Standards follow these steps to develop a product category rule (PCR):

  1. Take Action
    • Organize a group of interested parties
    • Define a product platform
  2. Develop
    • Evaluate available PCR documents
    • Create the PCR content/harmonize
  3. Publicize
    • Arrange a PCR review by a third-party panel
    • Publically post the PCR

PCR / EPD Documents

The National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS) has developed PCRs and American National standards for a wide range of product categories, including chemicals, commercial furnishings, flooring, building products and materials, and water treatment and distribution systems. Please select a link below to view or download the Product Category Rules that have been developed for the following products categories:

View the Program operator/PCR instructions.

You may also download a sample Environmental Product Declaration Template with Instructions Guide:

View NSF Sustainability third-party verified EPD documents.

We can assist with the development of PCRs and LCAs to help you along the path of completing an EPD for your industry.

  • BIFMA is pleased to partner with NSF. We’ve developed PCRs for commercial seating and office storage products to create rigorous and science-based PCRs to help the commercial furniture industry move toward a more sustainable future.Thomas Reardon, Executive Director, BIFMA

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