Paving the way for sustainability: The Digital Product Passport

Have you ever wondered what information lies behind the products that shape our daily lives? From smartphones to food packaging, the Digital Product Passport (DPP) aims to show at first glance where a product comes from, how it was manufactured, whether and how it can be repaired. Therefore, the DPP has the potential to positively influence our consumption habits and will continue to be relevant for companies in the future.

Behind the scenes: The Digital Product Passport explained

The concept of the DPP was developed as part of the European Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. While it may sound abstract at first, it is already becoming a central element of sustainable consumption. Similar to a “passport”, it records all significant stages in a product’s lifecycle, offering detailed insights into production, repair, and disposal.

Why is this important?

Imagine being able to trace whether a product was produced sustainably and how environmentally friendly it is at the end of its life when making a purchase—the DPP provides these insights. It is no longer just a concept: the European Union has mandated its implementation, with all industries expected to comply by 2030. The ESG reporting obligation and supply chain law already require companies with more than 500 employees to collect their data. In Germany, the passport will first affect resource-intensive industries such as electronics, electric vehicles, industrial batteries, textiles, construction, packaging, and plastics.

What does the Digital Product Passport entail?

The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies (DKE) have set up a committee for the Digital Product Passport, aiming to define the technical design requirements for the DPP. This encompasses, for example, information carriers with standardized identifiers for the product, information on environmental impacts, durability, materials, suppliers, and more. To enable the adaption to different product groups and industries with a wide variety of data, the DPP requires a corresponding modular architecture.

How the Digital Product Passport will influence consumer behavior

The DPP offers consumers a clear view of a product’s entire journey, from creation to disposal or recycling. Its contribution to transparency could impact our consumption habits significantly. For example, by providing easy insight into environmental impacts, it encourages consumers to choose long-lasting products. Various levels of detail enable tailoring information to different target groups.

The DPP as a driver of sustainable circular economy

The DPP is more than just a passport for products: it drives sustainable growth in the circular economy. The Product Passport optimizes the product lifecycle, promotes standardization and sustainable design, improves resource and recycling efficiency, and helps with environmentally friendly procurement.

The DPP in business

For companies, it is important to prepare for the introduction of the DPP at an early stage. PLM systems like CIM Database PLM and advanced IT solutions alleviate much of the work. For instance, they can calculate LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) data directly from bills of materials and work plans and use material compliance methods to ensure safe material selection. IoT systems like CONTACT Elements for IoT provide additional production data, contributing to effective energy management.

A strategic step for a sustainable future?

The Digital Product Passport is not just a source of information but provides consumers with solid information to make responsible purchasing decisions. Companies can successfully prepare for DPP standards by expanding their PLM systems and IT solutions. Therefore, the Digital Product Passport is a strategic step and a guiding necessity for a sustainable future.

You can find a more in-depth take on the Digital Product Passport right here on the CONTACT Research Blog.

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