What You Need To Know About Digital Product Passports

  • by Vivienne Austin

Last week, we spoke about Digital Product Passports, also called DPP, as one of the up-and-coming methods to track a physical product lifecycle, from materials to production, from recyclability to care tips. Basically, these digital tags, which are to be attached to the product via a QR code or other methods, are the future to ensure transparency within an industry’s supply chain and circularity.

Of course, being fashion lovers as we are, we can see the huge potential that these digital passports can have in the fashion industry. Imagine that for every t-shirt you buy, new or second-hand, you’d be able to track where it’s been made, by whom, who previously owned it, how they cared about it and how you should take care of it or dispose of it yourself. It sounds like the circular fashion business model we’ve all been waiting for!

As highlighted in our recent article “What Are Product Passports?”, the European Parliament approved the Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation (ESPR) on April 23, 2024. This regulation mandates that all textile products sold within European Union member countries must be 'Ecodesigned' and have a Digital Product Passport (DPP) by 2026-2030.

In light of this EU directive, TrusTrace, a platform focusing on supply chain traceability and compliance, has introduced a guide to assist brands in integrating this new technology into their supply chains. Titled "The Why, What & How of Digital Passports," the guide clarifies the purpose and implementation of the regulation, emphasising the importance of establishing a circular economy and its implications for brands selling textile products in Europe. The guide dispels common misconceptions about the DPP, such as viewing it solely as a QR code linked to an app. The DPP is more than just a QR code; it encompasses digital data, physical product identification, and a robust digital system capable of managing extensive data volumes and facilitating data access and input from various stakeholders. Furthermore, the DPP is not exclusive to textile products or fast fashion but extends to 19 product groups and 12 end-products like cosmetics, furniture, toys, and others as required by the EU.


Who’s Already Implemented DPPs?

Surprisingly, there may be a lot more brands than we though who are already implementing and testing this technologies across their collection in light of the new EU legislation. Surely these are the brands doing a smart move, as implementing this technology nice and early will allow them to perfect it by the time the have to implement it by law.

Nobody’s Child, a women's clothing brand, has introduced digital product passports, empowering customers to make conscious and well-informed choices already. The innovative technology, developed by Fabacus and launched last September, debuted with the Nobody’s Child x Happy Place Collection in collaboration with Fearne Cotton. Each garment showcased a unique QR code on the care label for customers to scan with their smartphones, revealing a detailed account of the product's journey from creation.

These digital product passports align with upcoming EU product transparency regulations, ensuring comprehensive product information is stored and managed using Xelacore technology. The brand’s goal is to implement digital product passports for all items by the end of 2024.


Another Tomorrow, a New York B Corp, utilises digital product IDs powered by Evrythng software.  Evrythng collaborates with Vestiaire Collective, Ralph Lauren, and the World Economic Forum to streamline industry digitisation. Luxury brands like LVMH, Kering, and Levi Strauss & Co. are partnering with Evrythng, Aura Blockchain Consortium, and Arianee. Prada is incorporating NFC and RFID technology into its products, while Hugo Boss announced RFID technology implementation with Nedap Retail. The Sustainable Markets Initiative Fashion Taskforce, which includes members like Eon, Selfridges, and Giorgio Armani, committed last October to using Digital IDs for product tagging and sustainability tracking. Notable brands like Gabriela Hearst, Zalando, and Mulberry have also adopted this approach. To achieve this, Another Tomorrow has partnered with the Internet of Things company, Evrythng, to create a unique digital identity for each of their pieces.


Tod’s, a luxury label, has joined the trend of integrating digital product passports into its customer experience. The Italian brand has introduced DPPs for its custom Di Bags, linking each bag digitally to a traceability token ensuring product authenticity. Customers can now access information on product certificates, origin, craftsmanship, and sustainability aspects, including details on raw materials, packaging, and sustainability practices. Although Tod’s has recently introduced DPPs, the brand plans to expand the consortium’s solutions to include more products in its collection.

It's interesting to observe that many of the brands adopting this new technology are luxury ones. This trend might be due to the significant costs and extensive testing involved. These luxury brands are proactively embracing the new legislation, implementing it early, and targeting customers who are both environmentally conscious and have substantial disposable income. It's a smart approach, particularly since this segment of the market has been relatively untapped since sustainability awareness began gaining traction among fashion enthusiasts.


Do you think we'll soon see non-EU brands adopting digital product passports?

[information sourced on fashiounited.co.uk, voguebusiness.com and drapersonline.com

Featured photo: Ari He on Unsplash

Image 1: Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Image 2: Ari He on Unsplash]


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