What Are Product Category Rules and Why Should You Care?

Laurel Brunner's picture
Laurel Brunner

Product Category Rules have limited profile within the graphics industry, but eventually that will have to change.

Environmental scientists are big on using weird language to explain basic things; it’s part of their verbal uniform. They speak of functional units and greenhouse gas emission factors, of sinks, system boundaries and co-products. For graphics professionals the language, and let alone the concepts, can be decidedly overwhelming. This is particularly true for businesses that want to make sure they tick all the environmental boxes their clients require, but cannot quite follow what the environmental details in the Request for Proposal (RFP) are on about.

There is no expression more confusing and likely to block progress for the graphics sector than Product Category Rules, or PCR. This is unfortunate because it is precisely this term that forms the foundation of carbon footprinting studies, and indeed any work relating to environmental accountability. A PCR specifies the data required to complete a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) so that an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) can be made.

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The Verdigris Project investigates the environmental impact of print media and provides information about sustainability initiatives for the international printing community. Keep up to date with the weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner.