Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are eco-labels that list facts about the environmental impact of products. EPDs are like a nutrition label but instead of calories and grams of fat, they report data such as lifecycle carbon footprint, water consumption and recycled content. It has been suggested that EPDs may eventually be required for all products, so that consumers can choose products with less environmental impact. If they do eventually become common practice, EPDs will confirm what we already know: wood products almost always have fewer environmental impacts than alternative materials made from concrete, metals or plastics.
EPDs are intended to provide objective, comparable data for various products. EPDs do not claim that the product is environmentally preferable: it simply discloses what its environmental impacts are. EPDs are based on Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs). The determination of EPDs and LCAs are covered by internationally accepted (ISO) standard protocols. LCAs involve adding up all of the energy and material inputs and outputs from making, using and disposing of a product. These standards include requirements for independent evaluation of the claims made.