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UK Assessment of the current practice and application of footprinting methodologies - EV0552

The study, which concluded in March 2015, provides an insight into the motivations of companies who are footprinting (measuring the life-cycle environmental impacts of their products), in the context of the European Commission (EC) trialling a common footprinting approach across the EU.

The research survey results show a majority of companies (nearly 60%) using footprinting methods, and some using multiple methods. The most common motivation is to gain a better understanding of the environmental hotspots in a supply chain, enabling targeted action to realise efficiency benefits which are usually also cost-saving. Other intangible benefits identified include benefits to brand image and reputation, and company prestige.

However, the study finds limited evidence for the benefits of harmonisation and whether a single method would lead to additional resource efficiency savings.

UK businesses did though recognise some benefits that might arise from harmonised footprinting methods, such as increased coverage and uptake, improvements to consumer and business-to-business choice, and the driving down of costs if the EC scheme provides free access to secondary datasets.
This project has 3 main objectives:

1. To get an overall picture of current practice in the UK. This includes understanding what UK businesses are doing currently to understand the life cycle performance of their products and organisations and the range of methodologies they are using for this purpose – both domestically and in other countries (where applicable).
2. To identify where current practice is most effective and understand the impacts (positive and negative including actual costs of applying these approaches, where available) of the current system.
3. Building on the findings from the first two objectives, develop an assessment of the potential costs and benefits of the EU proposals for UK businesses and to the wider UK economy. Various scenarios can be analysed through econometric modelling identifying which footprinting methodologies are most cost effective, feasible and applicable to UK business. The model will take into account a wide range of businesses representative of the UK economy.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Policy Report Ev0552   (863k)
• TRP - Technical Report : Technical Report EV0552   (2628k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2014

Cost: £49,600
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Oakdene Hollins
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Fields of Study
Sustainable Consumption and Production