The Digital Product Passport (DPP) is gaining political traction as a pivotal instrument for cultivating a circular economy, essential for maximizing resource utilization and achieving climate neutrality. This initiative is not only a legislative matter but also reflects an emerging trend in consumer consciousness toward sustainability.
Though a standardized DPP framework across industries is still in development, isolated solutions for specific product categories have emerged, compiling critical product information. The envisioned DPP would make details such as manufacturing data, material composition, and end-of-life options digitally accessible, thus increasing product lifecycle transparency.
Transition to a Circular Economy
The integration of circular economy principles into mainstream business strategies is gradual. Innovators are exploring circular business models, focusing on product lifecycle extension, design improvement, and the development of new models in line with circular economy values. While some quality features—like longevity—are established, other crucial aspects such as reparability and maintenance require a broader industry focus to fully realize a circular economy.
Digital Preparedness and Data Management
Industries are at varying stages of readiness for DPP adoption, with significant disparities in digitalization and data management capabilities. Efficient data governance—crucial for data quality, integrity, and security—is lacking in many organizations, and analog data storage is still prevalent. Data sharing among companies remains limited, often hindered by legal and technical barriers.
Constructing a DPP System
A comprehensive DPP should include clear product identification, detailed descriptions, and environmental impact information, catering to producers, suppliers, and consumers. It must conform to legal and technical specifications and be adaptable to the unique requirements of different sectors. The goal is to establish a standardized, modular, and scalable information “container” that ensures consistent and accessible product information for all stakeholders. Adhering to standards for the identification, classification, and registration of environmental information is imperative. Beyond ECLASS, integrating GS1 standards and other product classification methods can offer numerous advantages, including wider interoperability and alignment with international standards.
As the concept of a DPP evolves, it will increasingly influence product transparency, industry collaboration, and sustainable practices. Stakeholders across all sectors should prepare for its impact on supply chains, consumer interactions, and environmental responsibilities.