Product Digital Passport

digital product passport

As time passes, the urgency to reverse the environmental damage caused by multiple industries intensifies. The European Union (EU) has taken notable steps in the past year to combat ecological problems by outlining a set of rules to rectify the damage caused by previous transgressions. This demonstrates the EU's commitment to mitigating the consequences of past environmental negligence. One of these measures is the creation and incorporation of the digital product passport.

In this article we are going to tell you what the digital product passport is, its characteristics and the importance it has.

Environmental impacts in the industry

digital product passport cycle

The fashion industry has been at the forefront of current and future regulations due to its notorious environmentally harmful practices, ethical dilemmas, and poor accountability measures.

In an effort to mitigate the negative impact of microplastics and deforestation, the European Commission has put forward a proposal as part of its Ecodesign of Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). This proposal is seen as the basis of the Commission's strategy to create more environmentally friendly and sustainable products. The proposed regulations will apply to all products sold within the EU, regardless of their manufacturing origin.

The proposed legislation would implement a digital passport for a variety of products, including textiles, to strengthen compliance with ecodesign regulations.

What is the digital product passport?

ecodesign meeting

Digital Product Passport is a term used to describe a digital document that contains complete information about the entire life cycle of a product. This includes information about the design, materials, production processes, distribution, use and disposal of the product. It is a way to increase transparency and sustainability in the manufacturing industry by providing consumers with valuable information about the products they buy and how they impact the environment.

The newly created Digital Product Passport, or DPP, requires companies to collect and disclose data from every phase of a product's existence. This data collection will be available through a “digital twin,” an online model that reflects product features and attributes in real time.

While the concept and mechanics of the DPP are subject to change, Its original objective remains focused on sustainability and the ecological characteristics and origins of a product, along with the way it is manufactured. The DPP operates using blockchain technology, ensuring that this information is secure and available to the end user via a QR or barcode on the product label. This decentralized system ensures easy access to vital data.

Data and categories of the Digital Product Passport

blockchain technology

The Digital Product Passport will cover several categories of information. Firstly, it will incorporate general information about the product, including its identification, weight, reference numbers and place of manufacture. In addition, it will delve into the materials used in its creation, detailing its origin and the carbon footprint of the product. The DPP will also provide information on the past and current ownership of the product and offer full details about repairs, warranties and instructions for recycling, disassembly and other related processes.

The data accumulated from the DPP is intended to provide benefits to a variety of people, including brands, stakeholders and consumers. As for consumers, the tool would allow shoppers to make more informed decisions about their purchases, as well as select more sustainable options. Implementing the DPP will reduce the likelihood of misleading consumers and make it much harder for brands to make unsubstantiated sustainability claims.

Implementation difficulties

Integrating new technologies on a large scale presents novel obstacles. These challenges include connecting the Digital Product Passport (DPP) to a data carrier and a unique identifier that must be physically present on the product, as well as being accessible and interoperable online. The agent responsible for introducing the product to the EU market also is legally responsible for collecting, providing and periodically updating the necessary information. Taking these factors into account, brands must be equipped to collect, provide and update all the information required for the DPP.

Integrating DPP into established workflows may require significant adjustments and investments in technology infrastructure. Widespread adoption of DPP across industries is a gradual process that requires cooperative initiatives and establishing shared practices among stakeholders. It is crucial to recognize that certain segments of the supply chain may have limited infrastructure, underscoring the need for essential groundwork before the technology can be fully utilized and integrated.

Despite the aforementioned concerns, this modification will provide a more efficient method to manage and reduce carbon emissions throughout the value chain. Furthermore, adopting this initiative goes beyond mere compliance with regulations: serves as a foundation to maximize production efficiency and strengthen supply chain management, aligning with good business practices.

The incorporation of this technology has meant a significant postponement in the implementation of the DPP. The original plan was to publish the specifications of the regulation in 2024, but due to unclear procedures and factors that could cause uncertainty for those responsible for using the tool, this goal has not yet been met. The uncertainties surrounding the issue of social impact and the importance of establishing a uniform system have prolonged this delay. As a result, No fixed date has been set for the introduction of the DPP, with the regulations expected to come into force in 2026/27, and most products are expected to comply with these regulations by 2030.

While it is not yet mandatory for businesses to make certain modifications, it is advisable to start taking steps to prepare for future changes. Retailers and brands will need to take the time to familiarize themselves with DPP and its benefits, educating themselves on the technology and its implications.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the Digital Product Passport and its characteristics.

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