Science Inventory

Guidance for Product Category Rule Development, Version 1.0


Ingwersen, W., V. Subramanian, C. Scarinci, A. Mlsna, C. Koffler, G. Assefa Wondimagegnehu, H. Imbeault-tetreault, L. Mahalle, M. Sertich, M. Costello, P. Firth, S. Fallaha, AND T. Owen. Guidance for Product Category Rule Development, Version 1.0 . Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative, Cincinnati, OH, 2013.


This guidance document is a response to an internationally recognized need for additional instruction on the development of rules specific to a category of products for making claims based on a life cycle assessment (LCA). The purpose is to supplement existing standards for LCA-based claims that require the development of product category rules (PCRs) or their equivalents. The aim is that PCRs can be developed in a consistent manner and used to support claims based on multiple standards. The scope of this guidance is global. This document embodies the efforts of individuals with expertise in LCA and LCA-based product claims from more over 40 organizations in 13 countries and regions under the name of The Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative. EPA co-led this Initiative.


Environmental claims based on life cycle assessment (LCA) can provide quantitative, full life cycle information on products in a format that can permit comparisons and thereby inform purchasing decisions. In recent years, a number of standards and guides have emerged for making both multi-attribute (e.g. ISO 14025) and single-attribute (e.g. GHG Protocol Product Accounting and Reporting Standard) claims. Given the complexities (boundaries, data, assumptions, uncertainty, etc.) associated with LCA modeling, additional guidance is necessary to ensure that the claims are comparable. These aforementioned standards and guides have necessitated that additional rules be defined for the LCA results and other types of environmental information for each product category, referred to as Product Category Rules. The existence of a number of programs to develop PCRs in many countries that cover a wide array of product categories in conjunction with the existence of multiple LCA-based product claim standards, have resulted in little cooperation on the development of PCRs. This not only results in inefficiencies in the creation of PCRs, but also leaves the environmental claims incomparable and reduces the overall credibility of the LCA-based product claims for decision making. In order to address this problem, the Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative ( was born and has developed a guidance document that provides recommendations on developing PCRs in a harmonized manner. Participants from more than 40 organizations in 13 countries and regions contributed to this Initiative. This guidance document contains recommendations on the following: (1) steps to be taken before PCR creation, (2) required elements of PCR, (3) PCR review, publication and use, and (3) best practices for PCR development. It provides a template for PCR creation as well as a comparison of LCA rules in various standards.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 08/29/2013
Record Last Revised: 04/08/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 259406