A bottom-up approach for implementation of Environmental Product Declarations in Mexico’s housing sector
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After analyzing in previous papers the potential of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) as a sustainability tool in Mexico’s building sector and studying its implementation mainly from government housing programs and normative instruments (a top-down approach), this work seeks to complement a holistic approach about its implementation in an emerging country like Mexico. So, the main objective of this paper is to analyze the possibilities of EPDs implementation in Mexico’s housing sector from the business sector (a bottom-up approach), determining the possible challenges this approach would have.
The experience, vision, and perspective about EPDs from the main potential users of this ecolabel in Mexico have been considered. For this, a questionnaire to housing developers and Mexican companies implementing EPDs has been applied. Similar studies from developed countries have been used as a reference to establish a possible path for the EPD development in a business sector of a country like Mexico. Based on this analysis, an outlook and challenges for a bottom-up EPD implementation in Mexico’s housing sector has been made.
Results and discussion
Reduce the environmental impact and increase the commercial competitiveness are two of the main reasons for companies to implement sustainability strategies. Although EPDs serve these objectives, and there are Mexican standards, normative instruments, and housing design guides recommending the use of this ecolabel, there are few housing developers knowing EPDs, and there are also few Mexican companies implementing this ecolabel. Moreover, there is limited knowledge about EPDs in Mexico, both by final consumers and professional buyers. On the other hand, the European benchmark has served to detect common aspects about the EPD implementation, as well as to establish a possible development path that can be used to accelerate its implementation by Mexican companies.
In Mexico, there is a solid legislative and regulatory framework that can be used as a starting point to promote the EPDs in housing sector. There is also a widespread interest from companies in using ecolabels as part of its sustainability strategies. However, there is still not enough supply–demand for this kind of information, nor the technical and personnel capacity supporting the EPD implementation. Consolidate the human resources formation in life cycle assessment (LCA), inform about the EPD’s usefulness, and facilitate the understanding of such information to consumers and professional buyers would be the main challenges to promote this ecolabel in Mexico.
KeywordsBuilding environmental assessment Emerging economy countries EPD Housing sector LCA Mexico SMEs
The authors would like to express their widest and sincere gratitude to all persons and companies that have collaborated in various phases of this research, mainly to the following organizations: to the Center for Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Design (CADIS), to the National Housing and Sustainable Communities Laboratory, to the INFONAVIT Evaluation and Analysis area, and finally to the housing companies and the companies implementing EPDs, for their support responding the questionnaires. We also thank the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT) for funding this research.
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