To address this challenge, the European Commission created an initiative to build the Single Market for Green Products. This will standardize the rules and measurement criteria for the environmental footprint of products throughout the full lifecycle.
In the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Pilot, the SAC working group collaborates with Europe’s leading footwear brands, retailers and expert stakeholders to to develop the methodology for evaluating the environmental impacts produced over the footwear life cycle.
To date, this has involved achieving consensus around the lifecycle of a pair of shoes; prioritizing the environmental impact of all phases from production to transportation, and establishing a method for capturing that impact. Befitting the SAC’S commitment to transparency, each participating brand was required to share their internal research about their products’ footprints. Then, working closely with the SAC facilitators and sustainability communications consultants Salterbaxter, the participating brands developed and are currently testing a label and supporting consumer communication. The final results of this pilot will be shared publically in December 2016, and will guide the industry in its next steps toward transparency.