Tanso published PCF Guidelines for the Machinery and Plant Engineering sector, together with VDMA

Tanso · 12/23/2022
4 min read

Tanso published PCF Guidelines for the Machinery and Plant Engineering sector, together with VDMA

Companies in the machinery and plant engineering sector get clarity on the steps to PCF calculations, detailed in the PCF Guideline published by the VDMA, Tanso, and selected VDMA members.

Studies have shown that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of OECD and BRIC countries could be reduced by ~90%, if the machinery and plant engineering sector moved towards green products and systems (Green Technologies for Green Business, BCG & VDMA, 2020).

This transition requires the players of this sector to calculate the total GHG emissions caused by each of their products along their respective lifecycle - a calculation which is perceived as highly challenging, due for example to the lack of transparency of the typically complex and global value chains. Additionally, the existing general standards for Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) calculations fail to support machinery and plant engineering companies efficiently due to their lack of sector specificity.

To provide that missing solution, Tanso joined the largest association of machinery and plant engineering companies, the VDMA, as an active member of its Expert Group on PCF calculation, together with other notable companies from this sector in Germany. In the past months, they developed the standards for PCF calculations of complex mechanical engineering products: the “PCF Guideline”.

What is the PCF Guideline?

The VDMA PCF Guideline provides a clear and practical framework for companies in the machinery and plant manufacturing industry to start calculating the PCFs of their various products.

The Guideline illustrates the procedure to calculate a PCF, and explains the underlying calculation rules and requirements that companies must specify and transparently report.

It is based on the ISO 14067 and GHG Protocol accounting standards.

In addition, the PCF Guideline provides the basis for the PCF STARTER, a PCF calculation software solution developed by Tanso. To read more about PCF STARTER, click here.

Who is it for?

The VDMA PCF Guideline is aimed at companies in the machinery and plant engineering sector.

The Guideline is suited to companies which already have basic knowledge of PCF calculations, and want to standardize the calculation across their product portfolio, as well as to companies willing to learn about the topic and make their first PCF calculations.

What are the benefits of PCF calculations?

  • Meet the demand from your customers and regulatory requirements (CSRD, Digital Product Passport,…)
  • Identify emission hotspots and reduction potential more precisely, leading to optimized production, reduced costs, and increased sales
  • Create transparency and awareness of GHG emissions along your supply and value chain
  • Pro-actively prepare carbon-related data, which are becoming important KPIs for investors
  • Improve “Green Employer” branding, to attract and retain employees

What does the PCF-Guideline include?

Aim and Scope of the Guideline

  • System boundaries - Cradle-to-Gate
  • Definition of the Functional Unit

PCF Calculation Rules

  • Steps of PCF calculation
  • Temporal scope
  • Geographical scope
  • Cut-off criteria
  • Use of standards
  • Data types and data sources
  • Requirements for emission factors
  • Requirements for activity data
  • Allocation rules
  • Data quality

PCF Verification and Reporting

How can you access the PCF Guideline?

VDMA members can access the PCF Guideline under this link.

You can watch the recording of the presentation, and a demo of PCF STARTER in VDMA’s article here.

About VDMA

VDMA is the largest network non-profit organization for mechanical engineering companies, including over 3’500 members in Germany and Europe. It represents the common economic, technical and scientific interests of the industry in Germany and around the world.

About Tanso Technologies

Tanso Technologies GmbH (”Tanso”) is a software company based in Munich, developing solutions that support carbon accounting, target setting, and decarbonization for industrial companies, in sub-sectors including mechanical & plant engineering, automotive, or metal processing.

The Tanso software platform is an end-to-end CO2-Accounting and -Management software, creating the analytical basis for effective reductions. Tanso is an official VDMA member, and part of the Expert Group to set the standard for PCF calculations.

Contact us

Gyri Reiersen, Tanso Co-Founder & CPO


Hannah Lena Harlos, VDMA Policy Advisor, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability


Join us at Tanso

We are growing! Join us on our mission to reduce emissions by leveraging the power of data.

Open Positions

Stay up-to-date

Sign up to our newsletter and stay up to date with Tanso and the carbon accounting space.

Your privacy is important to us. Privacy Policy