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Ask the Expert: What is a Digital Product Passport?

Oct 12, 2023

Ever heard about a passport for products? It will soon be a requirement for products made in or travelling to Europe. What does that mean for your business? We sat down with Ulrik Lilius, Senior Advisor and product information expert at Avensia, to learn more.

What is a Digital Product Passport (DPP)?

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.

Why is Everyone Talking About DPP Right Now?

As part of the EU Green Deal initiative aiming to meet Europe’s commitment to the Paris agreement, there’s a new EU regulation in the works – the Ecodesign Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). According to this regulation all products that are sold in Europe must have a digital product passport. It is still unclear exactly what data the passport will include and how data will be registered. Implementation is expected to start in 2024 with complete adoption by 2030.

Who Should Care About the DPP Regulation?

A few industries are excluded from the EU regulation, such as food and medicine, since these are already carefully regulated and controlled. All other manufacturers, brands and resellers will need to get their heads around what the regulation will mean for their business and how the Digital Product Passport will be managed for their products.

There will be a lot of new requirements for these businesses. Manufacturers will be responsible for providing all data that is required for the DPP including collecting and confirming data from their suppliers. Resellers will need to put processes in place to ensure the DPP data is registered correctly by vendors. Businesses that have not yet started working on traceability will have a challenging change management task in front of them.

What Will Businesses Need to Do?

It’s hard to start working on the details and processes since the requirements in the EU regulation are still unclear. But it is important to get the thought process started. If you already have a sustainability program in place, that’s great. But if that program is limited to using eco-friendly labels for marketing purposes only, then you’ve got a long way to go to be compliant with the new regulation.

Gather knowledge and stay updated on developments. Speak to your partner network to understand how they are preparing for the new requirements. You should also audit your product data to understand what information you already receive from your suppliers and where there might be gaps.

I’m closely following the developments of the Digital Product Passport and taking part in discussions with industry networks on how the new EU regulation will be implemented. If you have questions or thoughts on how this will affect your business, feel free to contact me and my colleagues at Avensia.