A bottom-up approach for implementation of Environmental Product Declarations in Mexico’s housing sector



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.

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  1. 1.

    The Unique Housing Registry “is a technological platform storing all nationwide housing information, in order to make more efficient and transparent the building processes and quality of housing and provide critical information for decision making.” (INFONAVIT et al. 2016).

  2. 2.

    Information provided by RUV staff via email on December 21, 2016.

  3. 3.

    These are strategies looking for the building sustainability through mechanical and/or technological elements, such as solar water heating panels, energy-saving lamps, water-saving valves, and photovoltaic panels, among others.

  4. 4.

    The “ecological materials” concept has been left to the interpretation of the person who answers the questionnaire. This in order to know, through subsequent questions, what are the conditions or characteristics the company considers for this type of materials.

  5. 5.

    Credit scheme for social housing in Mexico, through which various active strategies are implemented to get the housing sustainability (INFONAVIT 2015).

  6. 6.

    Is an online platform that brings together information about the providers of services, materials, and equipment for the housing construction in Mexico (INFONAVIT 2016c).

  7. 7.

    These are mandatory standards in Mexico.

  8. 8.

    This collaboration has been carried out through the EPD Latin America Hub, which is operated jointly by the CADIS and the ADDERE center (in Chile). This EPD Program operates under the standards of The International EPD System, from Sweden (CADIS and ADDERE 2015).

  9. 9.

    Other companies that have eventually obtained their respective EPD through a Program in another country are not considered, as is the case of the CEMEX cement company.

  10. 10.

    Since 2015, this standard requests to include a life cycle approach.

  11. 11.

    Public and official registry from governmental platforms.


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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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Correspondence to Victor Alberto Arvizu-Piña.

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Arvizu-Piña, V.A., Cuchí-Burgos, A. & Chargoy Amador, J.P. A bottom-up approach for implementation of Environmental Product Declarations in Mexico’s housing sector. Int J Life Cycle Assess 24, 1553–1572 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-019-01587-w

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  • Building environmental assessment
  • Emerging economy countries
  • EPD
  • Housing sector
  • LCA
  • Mexico
  • SMEs