EUROPE: Digital Product Passport is coming soon
Material passports finally seem ready for the big leap forward. The European Commission is planning to introduce a ‘digital product passport’ (DPP), in the coming months. The goals are to increase the chances of products being reused multiple times and properly recycled at the end of their life. In addition, the DPP is to give users more information about the supply chain of materials and products, which may come in handy at the time of their potential reuse, and about the proper routing to waste management facilities.
Yet, according to Pablo van den Bosch (Board Member Madaster), the way towards digital material passports is sometimes off the beaten track; the greatest barrier is still ‘the limited willingness to demand a first step towards transparency by making it mandatory, from all key players in the industry: suppliers, buyers, regulators, etc.’ Agreements between companies throughout the supply chain on data security, privacy and trade secrets are needed to address concerns about the passports possibly containing information that violates intellectual property rights. This will also help banks and investors who are increasingly aware of the potential of material passports. It not only makes product portfolios more sustainable but also prevents banks and investors from ending up with many stranded assets, products or materials that are not energy-efficient.
In short, there are enough incentives for government authorities, especially the European Commission, to set clear guidelines.