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Environmental Product Declarations – transparent information on products’ lifecycle impacts

June 21, 2017

Satu Kaivonen, Environmental Specialist, contributes to continuous development in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) at Konecranes by driving strategic priorities in corporate responsibility through practical actions. She is responsible for managing the implementation of the ISO 14001 environmental management system in all the company’s production units worldwide.

What is an Environmental Product Declaration, and what kind of information does it contain?

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a standardized way of quantifying a product’s environmental impact. It is an independently verified and registered document that aims to transparently communicate information about the impact of the product’s entire lifecycle. So far, Konecranes has five separate EPDs for different products. These are for the SMARTON bridge crane, the CXT wire rope hoist, and for our Ports products such as the Rubber-Tired Gantry crane (RTG), and now also for the Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry cranes (ARMG), and our Rail-Mounted Gantry (RMG) cranes.

In creating Konecranes’ EPDs, we used the general requirements stated in the standards for Environmental Product Declarations, ISO 14020 and 14021. We evaluate the lifecycle environmental impacts of our products covering the production of raw materials and components, manufacturing, use and maintenance, all the way to the disposal of the product, as well as deliveries between each stage. We also account for products’ energy efficiency as well as carbon emissions during the operating cycle.

We are committed to reporting transparently, and therefore have a third party verifying all the EPD material.

EPDs give a quick overview about the relevant eco-efficient features of a product. While they highlight our technological expertise, they also point out the main impact during the lifecycle that we aim to influence. Konecranes’ ideology about all types of environmental information or marketing is to always base them on facts. We are committed to reporting transparently, and therefore have a third party verifying all the EPD material. In these recent cases, we have employed the auditing and advisory firm, KPMG.

Why are EPDs relevant to customers?

In today's market, manufacturers need to back up their eco-efficiency claims. Our customers need relevant, credible and transparent information about our products’ environmental impacts, their energy intensity as well as information on how to operate them more safely and efficiently. We believe that this is provided most effectively by EPDs that are made according to clear standards and verified by external experts. Outside experts’ verification enhances the transparency of our claims as well as customers’ trust.

Some of our customers ask us to report carbon emission data anyway, so the EPD calculations support this effort.  We see EPDs as one way of addressing customer needs and communicating about the environmental aspects of our products. We are determined to continue making EPDs for relevant existing products as well as new ones. 

Why is Konecranes placing an emphasis on EPDs, and how do they fit into the company’s strategy?

We place lot of emphasis on the R&D stage, as almost 80% of our products’ environmental impacts are determined in the design phase. As a result, our products’ and services’ environmental performance, particularly regarding low emissions and high efficiency levels, support our wish to be the market leader in eco-efficiency in material handling. Konecranes is committed to the Design for Environment (DfE) approach in product development and the EPDs are just one deliverable that comes out of that process – the main result is a high-quality, eco-efficient product.


Text: Patricia Ongpin Steffa
Photo: Niklas Sandström