thinkstep, being the globally leading provider of software tools, data and services for life cycle assessment (LCA) and related topics, has closely followed the EU’s Environmental Footprint initiative to ensure we can always provide the best available offerings to our clients. thinkstep’s engagement started well before the Environmental Footprint initiative was launched; since 2005, working in close cooperation with leading industry associations, we have provided the European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) to the Commission. In 2010, the Environmental Footprint initiative was established, with a first pilot phase in 2011-2012. During the past four years, during the ongoing second and main pilot phase from 2013-2017, thinkstep has been part of official developments in several roles:

thinkstep is member and implementing consultant in four of the Technical Secretariats (three on products, one on organisations): batteries and accumulators, footwear, metal sheets, and copper production companies. thinkstep has supported these so-called “pilots” and a number of companies also in other pilots by bringing our in-depth knowledge on LCA application in industry, our methodological know-how, and the convenience and efficiency of using thinkstep’s professional GaBi Software. Please contact us if you are interested in these pilots, or want to learn more, how thinkstep can support also your industry with so-called “shadow pilots” on other product groups.

thinkstep is delivering the main, official life cycle data basis for the PEF/OEF to all industry users: to ensure comparability within products groups, the PEF/OEF initiative is facilitating the use of life cycle inventory data. The European Commission has selected thinkstep to provide the mandatory-to-be used PEF/OEF datasets - thousands of high quality datasets in the domains of energy and transport, metals and minerals, electrical and electronic equipment, plastics non-packaging, plastics, end of life and recycling, and waste incineration. These datasets are being developed by thinkstep jointly with several EU-level or global industry associations, including:

• ACE – The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment

• CDI – Cobalt Development Institute

• CEWEP – Confederation of the European Waste-to-Energy Plants

• EAFA – European Aluminium Foil Association

• ECI – European Copper Institute

• ELSIA – European Lead Sheet Industry Association




• EUROSAC – European multiwall paper sack federation

• FEFCO – European Corrugated Packaging Association

• FEVE – European Container Glass Association

• ILA – International Lead Association

• IZA – International Zinc Association

• NI – Nickel Institute

• PlasticsEurope – Association of Plastics Manufacturers Europe

• Pro Carton – Association of European Cartonboard and Carton Manufacturers

These core datasets are provided in the ILCD data format for easy and consistent data exchange and interoperability with different software systems, and underwent an external panel review for independent quality assurance. The last of the data packages are scheduled to be released in the coming months. 

All 15 environmental footprint impact methods are covered by the datasets. The datasets not only represent production/consumption in Europe, but also include specific countries in other continents and global-level data, as needed. These datasets are/will be available for download by industry via thinkstep’s LCDN data node website, upon registration ( Any company with products that fit into the 22 established product category rules and two organisational sector rules that want to perform Environmental Footprint studies under the respective PEFSRs/OEFSRs will have free access to the datasets until the end of 2020. For users of our GaBi Software, thinkstep is preparing a special Environmental Footprint dataset package that is aimed at including all official PEF/OEF datasets.

thinkstep is a consortium partner in the benchmark remodelling project: in 2016, thinkstep, in collaboration with other consultants, was awarded the European Commission’s “remodelling project” that will run until late autumn 2017. thinkstep will remodel 22 of the total 66 representative products / organisations, under seven of the Technical Secretariats: batteries and accumulators, copper production, decorative paints, footwear, IT equipment (storage), metal sheets, and wine. Another key role of thinkstep in this project is to deliver the models for all 22 PEFCRs/OEFSRs in a common exchange format using its GaBi software as the central model handling software. To facilitate this remodelling and provide even better support to our clients in the subsequent implementation of PEF and OEF studies, thinkstep has invested in further development of its market-leading GaBi software for LCA.

Beyond these roles, thinkstep has served many of its clients with particular projects, ranging from specific advice to the already mentioned full “shadow pilot” PEFCR developments. Contact thinkstep's PEF experts to find out how your company’s specific needs can best be served.