Product Sustainability Information

State of Play and Way Forward

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This report analyses information and communication about PSI. It provides an overview of the current state in the area of PSI, analyses the key trends, drivers and challenges in this field, and draws policy recommendations on how to facilitate better decision-making on the sustainability aspects of products.



The complexities of product sustainability information

The sustainability attributes of a product are often invisible. If this report is printed, the reader would not see any environmental impact while reading it. Only upon reflecting on the life cycle of the report would she or he realise that the authors used computers, the Internet and electricity, that paper was needed, that a printer used ink and energy, and that there are impacts from recycling the report. Given this, the need to determine the impact of the millions of different products demonstrates that the ambitions of any sustainability metric or tool are high. Namely, we try to define a way to understand the emissions and resource use, and sometimes the social impacts along the life cycle of everything we make and do; and we try to understand the impact on everything we care about: for example, the impact on our health and ecosystems, and the availability of resources for future generations. This means that we are dealing with a complex problem. How do we objectively understand each and every supply, use and end-of-life chain? How do we understand the environmental mechanisms that can explain how an emission impacts on the things about which we care?


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