Legislation

Digital Product Passport (DPP) for Textiles & Apparel

May 28, 2024

How fashion companies can prepare for DPP Regulation

The fashion and textile industry faces pressure to enhance transparency and accountability. One of the biggest drivers is the Digital Product Passport (DPP). This tool holds the potential to revolutionize the way fashion brands and manufacturers manage and communicate the lifecycle of their products.

Here’s what sustainability managers and industry professionals need to know about DPPs, their compliance requirements, and what to expect moving forward.

What is a Digital Product Passport (DPP)?

A Digital Product Passport (DPP) is a comprehensive digital record that accompanies a product throughout its lifecycle. It contains critical information about the product’s origin, materials, manufacturing processes, and sustainability credentials.

Essentially, a DPP is a digital twin of a physical product, providing a transparent and accessible repository of data for stakeholders across the supply chain.

The principal objective of the DPP is to enable and simplify digital access to product-specific information related to sustainability, circularity, and legal compliance. Frequently this information is already known by the businesses who place products onto the market but they have little incentive or obligation to make that information public and available.

The DPP puts in place a system to enable such data-sharing and sets mandatory data requirements for products complementing the physical Ecodesign requirements. It’s not a track-and-trace tool itself but will allow traceability information when appropriate, for example for higher value or complex products.

Why Digital Product Passports Matter

According to the EU Commission, the DPP should offer benefits to all actors in the value chain, including producers, supply chain tiers, regulatory authorities, sorters, recyclers, and consumers:

1. Enhanced Transparency and Traceability: DPPs enable brands to offer complete transparency about their products. From raw material sourcing to production methods and end-of-life disposal options, every detail can be documented and made accessible. This transparency helps in building consumer trust and meeting regulatory requirements.

2. Compliance with Regulations: The European Union is at the forefront of promoting DPPs as part of its Circular Economy Action Plan. Regulations are being developed to mandate the use of DPPs for certain categories of products, including textiles. Staying ahead of these regulations is crucial for brands operating in or exporting to the EU.

3. Facilitating Circular Economy: By providing detailed information on materials and recyclability, DPPs support circular economy initiatives. They make it easier for products to be reused, refurbished, or recycled, thereby extending their lifecycle and reducing environmental impact.

4. Improving Supply Chain Efficiency: For manufacturers, DPPs streamline supply chain management by ensuring all parties have access to consistent and accurate product information. This can lead to improved quality control, reduced waste, and better resource management.

Key Elements of a Digital Product Passport

The DPP system builds on technology that’s already available and proven at an international level, while also allowing the possibility of using new technologies and approaches.

The Digital Product Passport should be connected through a data carrier (i.e. QR code) to a unique identifier, and the data carrier should be physically present on the product (i.e. hangtag).

For a DPP to be effective, it should include the following elements:

  • Product Identification: Unique identifiers such as QR codes that link to the digital passport.
  • Material Composition: Detailed information on all materials used, including their sources, composition and certifications.
  • Manufacturing Data: Information on where and how the product was manufactured, including labor practices and environmental impact.
  • Sustainability Credentials: Certifications and compliance with sustainability standards (i.e. GOTS).
  • Care and Repair Information: Guidelines for product care, repair, and maintenance to extend its life.
  • End-of-Life Options: Instructions for recycling or disposing of the product responsibly. This information can be directed to end-consumers or recycling facilities.

Which data to display will be determined by the EU based on what information is most critical to enable sustainability and circularity for that particular product group.

The information of the DPP must be highly accessible, free of charge, and available as long as the product's expected lifetime.

How to Legally Comply with the DPP Regulation

To comply with the DPP regulation, companies including fashion brands and textile manufacturers, must equip products placed on the EU market with a DPP. The DPPs must be accurate, complete, and up-to-date and include all the mandatory information listed in the corresponding product delegation act.

Companies also need to ensure backup copies of the DPP are stored by a certified third party and make a copy of the data carrier or unique product identifier available to dealers and online marketplaces selling the product.

The DPP is part of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) and follows its objectives and procedures. It shares the same entry-into-force timeline as the ESPR with the adoption of the first working plan in early 2025 for priority sectors such as apparel, footwear and textiles.

Technical standards for the DPP are foreseen to be finalized end of December 2025 with a transition period for the industry to adapt until 2027.

Important: The DPP can also be used outside the ESPR. Other regulations can make use of the system that is put in place for the DPP when they need assistance with information linked to products.

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Steps to Implementing Digital Product Passports

To prepare for the introduction of the DPP, companies can already undergo 5 essential steps to implement the DPP into their current business practice:

1. Assessment and Planning: Conduct a thorough assessment of your current product data management practices. Identify gaps and plan how to integrate DPPs into your existing systems. 💡 You don’t need to do this alone, get in touch with our sustainability success team here.

2. Collaboration with Tech Providers: Partner with technology providers who specialize in digital solutions for product transparency and lifecycle management. Look for platforms that offer scalability and easy integration with your supply chain. 💡 That’s exactly what we do: Our software streamlines data sharing across textile companies, manufacturers and brands, enabling the adoption of DPP, Ecodesign, AGEC and other EU regulations.

3. Data Collection and Standardization: Begin collecting the necessary data for each product. Standardize this data to ensure consistency and reliability. This may involve working closely with suppliers to obtain accurate and detailed information. 💡 Through conducting Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) on our platform which is specifically designed for the fashion industry, fashion companies can assess their product impacts, identify improvement areas for Ecodesign and credibly use the results for mandatory reporting.

4. Training and Change Management: Train your staff on the importance and usage of DPPs. Implement change management strategies to ensure smooth adoption across your organization. 💡 Our sustainability success team supports you in this step. Book an introduction call here.

5. Pilot Testing and Feedback: Start with a pilot project to test the implementation of DPPs on a select range of products. Gather feedback from stakeholders and make necessary adjustments before a full-scale rollout. 💡 Learn from existing examples: See here how the fashion brand Yamamay and textile manufacturer Filmar successfully implemented DPPs on parts of their collections.

DPP Solution: Product iD Cards for Fashion Companies

To make the implementation of the DPP even easier, we have developed a scalable, automated digital solution called Product iD Card, which function as Digital Product Passports specifically designed for fashion brands and manufacturers.

The Product iD Cards are DPP Regulation compliant and allow fashion companies to showcase their product’s environmental impacts and sustainability data. Through QR codes and mini-sites, consumers and stakeholders can easily access the data and engage with the company’s sustainability metrics.

We believe that a DPP should not only be functional and scientific, but also an immersive customer experience refelecting a company's effort and commitment to sustainability. Read more here.

All Product iD Cards generated are based on scientific Life Cycle Assessments conducted with our software. Through LCA, the environmental impacts throughout the product life cycle are assessed and shown in metrics, from the global warming potential and water use to the ecotoxicity of the product.

Additionally, the product journey is displayed starting from the raw material, the production sites, where packaging and logistics take place, as well as the name of the suppliers. Through this interactive map, fashion companies can showcase full transparency within their supply chain and comply with the European DPP Regulation.

Have a look into a customer’s Product iD Card here!

DPP powered by SBP

Our Product iD Cards are:

  • easy accessible and scalable
  • an immersive experience
  • based on scientific frameworks
  • QR code generator automated
  • fully DPP and AGEC compliant

What to Expect in the Future

As the adoption of DPPs grows, the industry can expect several developments:

  • Regulatory Expansion: Governments will likely introduce more stringent regulations requiring the use of DPPs, making compliance a legal necessity.
  • Technological Advancements: Advances in technology like AI will further enhance the functionality and reliability of DPPs.
  • Consumer Demand: Increasing consumer awareness and demand for transparency will push more brands to adopt DPPs, creating a new standard in the industry.
  • Collaborative Platforms: Industry-wide platforms may emerge, facilitating collaboration and data sharing among brands, manufacturers, and recyclers.

Conclusion

Digital Product Passports represent a step forward in the textile industry’s journey to sustainability. By enhancing transparency, ensuring regulatory compliance, and promoting circular economy practices, DPPs offer a comprehensive solution to some of the industry’s most pressing challenges.

For sustainability managers and industry professionals, understanding and implementing DPPs will be crucial in staying ahead of the curve and leading the way in fashion sustainability. This is not an easy maneuver but we are here to help!

Through the use of our Life Cycle Assessments and Product iD Cards  fashion companies can measure and showcase their product impacts and product journeys on hangtags, websites and in stores and fully comply with the upcoming DPP Regulation.

Ready to get DDP compliant? Get in touch with us!

Sources

Katharina Lahner
Together with the Sustainability Success Team of Sustainable Brand Platform, Katharina is communicating the importance of data and collaboration in the fashion industry; matching the industry's needs for minimizing its environmental impacts with SBP's fashion-specific SaaS solutions.

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