Digital Product Passports Are Looming Large – Here’s What Exporters Need To Know

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What’s in a product label? Now, more than ever, labels will carry a significant weight in customer purchasing decisions.

By 2030, all textile products, including footwear, sold in the European Union will need to contain a Digital Product Passport (DPP), a tool for collecting and sharing product data throughout its entire lifecycle. Crucially, the DPP will be used to illustrate a product’s sustainability and environmental attributes, as well as information for recycling and re-use.

This new regulation isn’t just limited to textiles sold in the EU – batteries & vehicles, electronics & ICT, furniture, plastics and chemicals are also priority industries required to carry a DPP.

“A common misconception is that since the DPP requirement has been introduced by the European Union, it only applies to European-based companies,” shares Melinda Tually, Director of Ndless: The New Normal, a Strategic Human Rights & Sustainability Consultancy. “In fact, any product that enters the European market will need to comply with the legislation and carry a DPP, even if the company is registered outside of the EU.”

“This profound shift in product traceability demands that all brands, especially those engaged in international wholesale, swiftly align and prepare as soon as they can. Textiles have been designated a priority category so we are seeing brands in Europe already involved in pilots with their suppliers as they gear up for implementation from 2025 onwards. ”

To help brands get up to speed, Melinda will be leading a Digital Product Passport panel at the upcoming Global Sourcing Expo in Sydney and co-located Sourcing Seminar Series, which runs from 12-14 June 2024 at the International Convention Centre. She’ll be joined by Neha Nagpal, Social and Environment Manager at APG & Co (Sportscraft, SABA and JAG), Dharshi Hasthanayake, Manager – Sustainability and Circularity, GS1 Australia and Graham Ross, Co-Founder, Blocktexx.

“Dharshi’s perspective will provide a lot of practical insight on the technical considerations and data standardisation required under the DPP. GS1 standards are open and global, supporting stakeholders to uniquely identify products and share data along the supply chain – critical elements of the DPP architecture,” Melinda adds. The session will take place on Day 2 of the Sydney Global Sourcing Expo, an event which brings together hundreds of manufacturers from around the world in the fields of textiles, apparel and homeware products.

Why the Digital Product Passport was introduced

The DPP requirement for textile products forms part of the EU’s Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, a series of regulations focused on improving the longevity and durability of textiles and making the recycling and repairing of these items easier.

“Through the DPP, shoppers will be able to assess the sustainability claims of the companies they are purchasing from, by retrieving product data from across the supply chain,” Melinda shares. “This data includes material origin, manufacturing processes and locations as well as environmental footprint data, requiring complete traceability from suppliers.”

While this sweeping change will require an unprecedented amount of data from textile manufacturers, the DPP was introduced as a practical way of ensuring the following crucial, sustainability-aligned outcomes:

1) Enhancing sustainable production.
2) Extending product lifetimes by optimising use.
3) Providing new business opportunities through circular value retention.
4) Supporting consumers in making sustainable choices.
5) Enabling the transition to the circular economy by boosting materials and energy efficiency.
6) Allowing regulators to verify sustainability compliance.

The DPP further allows for seamless data sharing among key stakeholders and workers across the production ecosystem.

How it will work

“A DPP can take the form of a QR code or barcode that can easily be scanned by any smartphone,” says Melinda. “By creating a ‘digital record’ of a product, it uses blockchain to record traceability and sustainability data across the full lifecycle of a product from origin through to the end-of-life phase.”

She shares that in the context of textiles, a shopper could simply use their phone to scan the QR code embedded in a pair of jeans or shirt’s clothing label and immediately view its DPP. “Shoppers can then use this data to inform their purchasing decision and importantly learn about options like repair or recycling.”

Ahead of the panel discussion, which will detail the regulatory compliance requirements, Melinda briefly outlines the different kinds of data that the DPP may be required to hold:

  • Unique product identifier: information that remains with the product for its full life cycle such as a GTIN accessible via data carriers like QR codes, RFID tags or threads.
  • Composition data: including material type, components and the amount of recycled content.
  • Environmental footprint data: Carbon footprint, energy and water use data as well as the presence of harmful substances and microplastics.
  • Compliance information: including product certifications and declarations of conformity with chemical regulations.
  • Traceability data: supplier and manufacturer details including unique facility identifiers.
  • Circularity information for consumers: Information and instructions to enable repair, reuse, disassembly and take back as well as care instructions and user manuals.

“It’s important that brands remember the purpose of the DPP – to drive sustainable product design and promote a circular economy. While the steps required to be compliant may
seem daunting, a circular economy holds immense benefits by reducing wastage and extending product lifespan,” says Melinda.

“The Digital Product Passport panel discussion at the Sydney Global Sourcing Expo will give brands the tools they need to pinpoint and address data gaps, as well as how to identify
strategic partnerships with service providers to guarantee supply chain traceability and data delivery to their customers. Those that start preparing now will have a smoother transition to compliance and be able to unlock opportunities much sooner.”

The ‘Digital Product Passport’ panel discussion will take place from 11.30am-12.30pm on Thursday, 13 June at the International Convention Centre in Sydney as part of the Sydney Global Sourcing Expo.

About the Global Sourcing Expo Sydney 2024

Global Sourcing Expos Sydney and Melbourne provide a dedicated show platform to connect global manufacturers, producers, service providers and fashion labels with trade buyers and industry professionals from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

The Show will feature 500+ world-class exhibitors in the categories of apparel, accessories,
homeware and textiles. As one of the only shows in Australia to directly target wholesale and retail buying groups, this is an ideal opportunity to enter the Australian market.

“The Global Sourcing Expo connects the world!”

When and Where for Sydney Show: Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 June 2024, International Convention Centre (ICC), Sydney, Australia.

When and Where for Melbourne Show: 19-21 November 2024, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCC), Melbourne, Australia.

About IEC Group Pty Ltd

International Expo Group Pty Ltd (IE Group Pty Ltd) is a privately owned Australian company of key personnel with combined exhibition industry experience of over 70 years.

Bhargav Pathak
Bhargav Pathakhttps://textilesresources.com
With a passion for the textile, apparel, and fashion industry, I embarked on a journey fueled by education from NIFT Gandhinagar and affiliation with NDBI at NID Ahmedabad. Since 2006, I've contributed to various corporate ventures, specializing in B2B, B2C, SaaS, and AI products within the textile domain. In July 2023, I launched TextilesResources.com, a knowledge hub offering the latest news, articles, and soon-to-come features like interviews and a trade fair calendar. Grateful for the growing community, we've recently introduced a Business Directory for enhanced visibility. Join us on LinkedIn and stay connected with the ever-evolving textile landscape!

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