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Digital product passports in a nutshell – the intention by the EU

If you're new to the idea of digital product passports, this is the post to read first.

This is from the EU call for proposals dated 2 May 2023,, supplemented with our comments (in italics).

The objective of digital product passports

Easy access to information

  • To enable sharing of key product related information that are essential for products' sustainability and circularity [..]. Consequently, to accelerate the transition to circular economy, boosting material and energy efficiency, extending product lifetimes and optimizing products design, manufacturing, use and end of life handling.

  • This is an environmental initiative, an attempt to change commercial "game rules" to favour responsible use of resources and manufacturing practices to reduce the toll on environment by our consumption habits. It's notable that the document was issued by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency as part of the Digital Europe Programme. It is part of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR).

Boosting circular industry

  • To provide new business opportunities to economic actors through circular value retention and optimisation (for example product-as-a-service activities, improved repair, servicing, remanufacturing, and recycling) based on improved access to data.

  • There's also an element of encouraging circular industry development, extending the lifetime of products, encouraging repairing rather than replacing, and recycling initiatives.

Help consumers make wise choices

  • To help consumers in making sustainable choices; and

  • Leveraging the purchasing power and the preferences of consumers to make businesses prioritise circularity and environmental responsibility may be more powerful and dynamic than regulation on manufacturing playing cat and mouse with manufacturers' attempts at circumventing them.

Verifiable compliance

  • To allow authorities to verify compliance with legal obligations

  • Naturally, such a system needs to include possibilities for validation. "If you can't enforce it, you can just as well leave it" when you talk legislation, right?

Pointing your phone at a product doesn't make much of a difference today, does it? But in a few years..... When the digital product passports are in place you will be able to make wiser purchasing decisions, at least from the environmental perspective.
Pointing your phone at a product doesn't make much of a difference today, does it? But in a few years.....

Credits: FG Trade on iStock

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