Digital Product Passports:
The Future of Bioplastics

Originally published in the BioPlastics Magazine
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Much like your passport containing information about you and where you have been, digital product passports contain a range of information to track products throughout their entire lifecycle from production to end-of-life disposal. This offers a secure, transparent way to track and manage product information, allowing governments, regulating bodies, businesses and consumers to identify and verify the quality and origin of products.

As the global population increases and resources become scarcer, sustainability continues to become an increasingly important consideration for businesses that want to remain competitive. Digital product passports will become essential for companies to optimise their processes and take responsibility for their production. Increasing supply chain visibility could help reduce costs and inefficiencies, as well as increase ways of collaboration between the stakeholders. 

Some of the relevant regulations to be aware of are:

  • Construction Products Regulation: proposed in 2022
  • EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles: implemented in 2022
  • EU Ecodesign for Sustainable Products: first adoption in 2024
  • Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): to be implemented in 2024
  • New EU Battery Regulation: to be implemented in 2026
Figure 1: Information transfer alongside material flow in the supply chain, and some of the opportunities it unlocks.

Building digital passports on a public blockchain technology provide an immutable record of ownership, origin and usage. Due to the decentralised nature of public blockchains, unauthorised access and manipulation of the data is almost impossible, making it a highly reliable way to verify the authenticity and quality of a product. 

Information on digital product passports can be used in the following ways: 

  1. To ensure the proper sourcing and disposal of products (ie: that materials come from ethical sources that do not infringe upon human and environmental rights)
  2. To increase the efficiency of recycling materials and reduce waste
  3. To reward stakeholders and customers for sustainable practices and behaviour
  4. To help transition businesses towards a circular economy

However, creating a digital product passport is no simple task. It requires dedication, planning and analysis to ensure that all the relevant information is accurately captured and stored. Let us walk you through the process of creating a digital product passport from start to finish. 

Step 1: Identify and Collect Data 

The first step in creating a digital product passport is to identify and collect the relevant data that needs to be included. This data should cover the entire product life cycle, including raw materials, production processes, transportation, use, and disposal. Depending on the product, this may require a variety of data sources, such as suppliers, manufacturers, customers, and third-party data providers. When collecting data, it is essential to ensure that all sources are reliable and up-to-date. Often, this information needs to be audited. This is especially important as the data is to be used to make decisions about the product’s life cycle. 

Step 2: Analyse and Categorise the Data 

When the data has been collected, it needs to be analysed and categorised so that the digital product passport is accurate and comprehensive. For example, the raw materials used in production may need to be broken down into their individual components, while the transportation data may need to be categorised according to the mode of transport used. The data should be stored in an accessible yet secure format, ensuring that it can be easily and accurately updated.

Step 3: Create the Digital Product Passport 

After the data has been categorised, the digital product passport can be created. This can be done using various software tools, such as product lifecycle management software and blockchain applications. These tools are designed to store and organise the data, making it easier to access, analyse, and update as necessary. It should also be designed in such a way that it is easy to understand and navigate so that all the involved stakeholders can access the relevant information. 

Step 4: Implement the Digital Product Passport 

Once the digital product passport has been created, it needs to be implemented across the organisation. This involves integrating it into existing systems and processes. In order to ensure that the digital product passport is effective, it is important to provide training to all relevant stakeholders so that everyone knows how to use the system, and is aware of the importance of accurate data collection and analysis.

Step 5: Monitor and Analyse the Digital Product Passport 

The work does not end with the implementation of the digital product passport. It needs to be continuously monitored and analysed in order to identify any issues that need to be addressed, such as outdated or inaccurate data, and inefficient processes. The data collected can also be used to generate valuable insights that can help companies optimise their supply chain, as well as identify other areas where they can reduce their environmental impact.

Creating a digital product passport is a complex and time-consuming process. However, it will undoubtedly become the norm for businesses in the coming age of sustainability. By taking the effort to invest in setting up digital product passports, companies can take responsibility to drive the future of circularity, and tap into the growing demand for sustainable products.

Thankfully, you don’t have to figure out this daunting endeavour on your own. Circularise supports companies towards circularity with our innovative solutions, protecting your data privacy and giving your business a competitive advantage. Sustainability can be an attainable, yet profitable objective for your business. Contact us for our secure digital product passport solutions to help you scale sustainably.

Contact our sales team to find out how our secure digital product passport solutions can help you scale your business sustainably.

Tian Daphne produces content at Circularise, with a focus on the circular economy and sustainability, blockchain in supply chain traceability, and digital product passports.

About Circularise

Circularise provides cutting edge end-to-end traceability & transparency solution for complex industrial supply chains.

We help companies to verify the origins, certificates, CO2 footprint and other material and product data on blockchain to improve their ESG performance, demonstrate responsible sourcing, and enable a circular economy at scale.