Monday, June 17, 2024

Digital Product Passports Promise Transparency for Europe’s Textile Industries

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TrusTrace has announced its participation in the Trace4Value project, which will see it create Digital Product Passports to foster a transition toward a circular economy, ahead of the 2030 E.U. deadline.

“Our goal is to effectively test how a DPP can function in practice — and prepare for future implementation,” TrusTrace CEO Shameek Ghosh said in a statement. According to Ghosh, TrusTrace is uniquely positioned to pioneer this practice based on its in-depth experience helping brands map and trace their supply chains.

The Stockholm-based TrusTrace is a market leader in helping platforms improve their supply chain traceability and compliance — two key factors in fostering more sustainable industries.

Digital Product Passports

Part of a larger strategy set by the European Commission, the Digital Product Passports (DPP) initiative seeks to infuse the European market with a greener, more circular economy, with a focused eye on sustainability woven into the textile sector. The development is aligned with the E.U. Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which mandates the implementation of DPPs on all textiles marketed in Europe by 2030.

“We are not creating a separate standard, but testing and learning, and the protocol will be continuously updated as the details on the E.U. regulation take shape. The protocol has been designed to be flexible to ensure we can adapt to all the changes coming in the future,” Ghosh said.

suits on display
Photo courtesy Alexander Naglestad

Working together with dozens of industry leaders, Ghosh says the Trace4Value project will allow TrusTrace to investigate the opportunities and challenges that the DPP will entail for textile and fashion companies, “ultimately helping the entire industry comply with this new directive before 2030.”

The Trace4Value project operates under the guidance of the RISE Research Institute of Sweden and is partially financed by Vinnova. It encompasses more than 65 partners from various industries, aiming to enhance traceability and foster data-sharing across different sectors. This collaborative effort includes organizations Marimekko, Kappahl, Elis, and the Swedish Institute for Standards, amongst others.

“Digital Product Passports aim to increase transparency and traceability of products to enable improved consumer communications,” said Marjut Lovio, Marimekko’s Sustainability Manager. Lovio says the pilot program will help the industry to “prepare for planned regulations that will move us one step closer to a circular economy.”

Forthcoming legislation

In this pilot stage, the project aims to implant ID carriers on select products from Kappahl and Marimekko, storing crucial supply chain data and transparency details. This information will be readily accessible through a QR code scanned with a mobile device, ensuring seamless integration and sharing of information with all value chain stakeholders.

“The Trace4Value project has visualized to us at Kappahl what a digital product passport is. It is an effective way for the organization to prepare for the coming legislation to collaborate hands-on in a pilot,” said Sandra Roos, Kappahl’s Vice President of Sustainability.

woman at market
Courtesy Milada Vigerova | Unsplash

Simultaneously, TrusTrace is spearheading the development of a consumer interface. Collaborating with partners, it has devised a data protocol that prioritizes information for the DPP, grounded on supply chain details and existing legislation.

Laura Linnala from the Swedish Institute of Standards says there’s a necessity for a plethora of standards amid new guidelines. “A wide range of standards are currently useful for implementing a DPP, and new standards will be developed and will be available when the regulation enters into force in Europe,” she said.

The DPP is also tied to the Circular Economy Action Plan, which aims to reduce waste and ensure material reuse. According to TrusTrace, the DPP provides information on the environmental impact and traceability of products, while the Ecodesign Regulation “sets minimum environmental requirements for products.”

These work in sync to encourage manufacturers to design “more sustainable and resource-efficient products,” which can help reduce the environmental footprint of products throughout their lifecycle.

Ghosh says with a global identification system for an item and its components, “we can connect it to multiple sources of data to enable accessible product traceability for consumers, brands, and authorities.”

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