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PRoduct Environmental Footprint Enhanced by Regions (Life PREFER)
Date du début: 1 oct. 2013, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Current production and consumption patterns are not sustainable and are contributing to climate change, the loss of natural resources, the extinction of species, and environmental damage caused by emissions. The Global Ecological Footprint tracks the area of biologically productive land and water required to provide the renewable resources that people use, including the space needed for infrastructure and vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). It shows that the global economy is having an increasingly greater impact on the environment. In 2007, this footprint exceeded the Earth’s biocapacity — the area actually available to produce renewable resources and absorb CO2 — by 50%, a doubling of the footprint in the last 50 years. At today’s level of consumption and production, we need 1.5 planets to be sustainable. The need for sustainable consumption and production policies has been demonstrated from various perspectives at EU level. The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) was initiated with the aim of developing a harmonised European methodology for environmental footprint studies that can accommodate a wide range of relevant environmental performance criteria using a life cycle approach. A life cycle approach takes into consideration the spectrum of resource flows and environmental interventions associated with a product from a supply chain perspective. It includes all stages of a product’s life, from raw material acquisition to processing, distribution, use and end-of-life processes, and all relevant related environmental impacts, health effects, resource-related threats and burdens to society. This approach is also essential for revealing any potential trade-offs between different types of environmental impacts associated with specific policy and management decisions. Objectives The LIFE PREFER project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of the European methodology for environmental footprint in different sectors using the cluster approach, in order to overcome the typical drawbacks affecting SMEs (lack of human and financial resources). It will develop and strengthen this approach based on shared resources. The project will provide an opportunity for innovative environmental governance on the possibility to facilitate knowledge-sharing and experience exchange among participants and encourage the application of the PEF methodology. At the cluster level, a set of instruments, tools and resources will be shared with local SMEs in order to support them in the application of the PEF methodology and to achieve improvements in environmental performance. The effectiveness and uniqueness of the project lies in using the clustering methodology in an innovative way – i.e. to define and implement a policy and governance approach aimed at increasing the uptake PEF among SMEs. Expected results: At least 18 PEF/LCA experiences analysed; Eight pilot groups with at least 25 organisation involved; At least seven products selected; At least eight PEF assessments performed, one for each cluster; At least eight PEF reports; At least eight drafts of PEF category rules; 80 SMEs interviewed; At least four different tools to develop PEF; 48 SME representatives trained; Three EU clusters involved; Involvement of at least 30 representatives of foreign clusters (10 for each cluster); At least three SMEs from each cluster that tests the PEF methodology; At least two SMEs from each cluster that implements improvement actions on environmental performance; At least one impact category in each SMEs registering an improvement of around 5% after the implementation of actions; Increase in environmental indicators (2-5%); Increase in investments by companies in socio-economic aspect such as training activities (2-3%); Increase in socio-economic indicators selected to assess the project impact (2-5%).


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