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How Should Businesses Prepare for the Digital Product Passport?

Apr 24, 2024

While the detailed requirements of the new digital product passport are still to be defined, there are ways to prepare for the new regulation. We sat down with Ulrik Lilius, Senior Business Advisor and data management expert at Avensia, to learn more.

In Short, What Is the Digital Product Passport?

The Digital Product Passport (DPP) is part of EU’s new Ecodesign Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) – a core component of the EU Green Deal initiative.

A digital product passport contains necessary information about a product throughout its lifecycle. That means data on where and how a product was produced, what material was used, what that material contains and how the product and/or its components should be repaired or recycled at the product’s end of life.

The aim is to achieve full traceability and transparency on things like the product’s origin, production methods, ingredients and carbon footprint. This way, the passport gives a complete picture of the product’s history. But it should also include plans for the future, such as instructions for recycling, to enable circular products and business models.

What Do We Know About the Upcoming DPP Requirements?

The framework and requirements are still very much in construction phase. What we do know so far is that the organization who puts the product on the European market, also referred to as the financial operator, will be responsible for establishing the DPP. Furthermore, some data requirements have been disclosed, such as:

  • The digital product passport will include information about the product, the financial operator (seller) and the production facility.
  • The data storage will be decentralized, so there will not be an EU operated database in the likes of EPREL. However, this model may be questioned since there are also requirements stating businesses should be able to provide DPP data for as long as 50 years. In practice, that would require some kind of central backup storage.
  • Product data will need to be machine-readable (e.g., open APIs) meaning you cannot refer to information stored in documents or on web pages.
  • It will be based on open standards that may include existing ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or IEC (International Electronics Commission) standards.
  • Though the product data will be open, there will be some degree of limited access to ensure sensitive information is not available to competitors for example.

How Should Organizations Prepare for the DPP?

Just because we don’t know all the details for the new regulation doesn’t mean we can sit down and wait. The digital product passport will be a major shift for many businesses so it’s time to get started with the preparations today. Here are six ways to get started:

Get involved

There are a lot of discussions taking place, on local as well as regional levels, to understand how the DPP should be implemented. Get involved in those discussions. Join forums, participate in webinars and reach out to your vendors. Make sure to stay up to date with the latest information and news.

Set objectives based on your situation

Research what the DPP will mean for your industry, segment and business. Depending on your role in the production and value chain the requirements will differ. Are you a reseller of products or do you produce components that are used in multiple product types? Also, evaluate the business objectives – are you aiming to just be compliant with the DPP regulation or can you grasp new business opportunities and create competitive advantages?

Understand your data footprint

It’s critical to understand what data you have today, it’s origins and how it is used across the organization. Map out data flows and touchpoints. Identify sources, ownership and interactions. This exercise will be crucial to identify gaps and needs once the DPP requirements are detailed and come into force. Not only will it help you be compliant to the new regulation. You will also gain better control of – and more value from – your product data.

Audit your technology

You won’t necessarily need a new system or tool to comply with the new digital product passport requirements. But you need to make sure your current solution is scalable and flexible enough to support your future data needs. Both PIM and MDM solutions may work, it all depends on your data situation and business objectives.

Research data carrier options

One thing that you can explore today is what kind of data carrier would be suitable for your products. A data carrier might be a QR code placed on your product containing information such as the article number, production series, batch number and production facility. Regardless of what the DPP data requirements will be, we know you will need to make this data available to re-sellers, customers and authorities. So, it’s a good idea to start looking for a suitable data carrier that will be able to hold many data points and allow you to add information throughout the product’s lifecycle.

Don’t be an island

The digital product passport initiative is all about sharing data. To enable efficient data sharing you need to establish real-time communication across teams within your organization, but also with your vendors and partners. The better collaboration structures you build for your data creators, owners and consumers, the more prepared you’ll be to add the DPP framework to your data feed matrix.

Do you need help preparing your business for the Digital Product Passport requirements? Contact us and we’ll be happy to set up a meeting with our information management experts.