The Role of Digital Product Passport in Business, Regulation, and Collaboration

Like every year we participate with great interest in The Yoonaverse event, the hybrid conference (live and in the metaverse) focused on technology, innovation and sustainability in fashion.

The conference was also the occasion for our Panel “Fashion’s Traceability Revolution: Exploring the Role of Digital Product Passport in Business, Regulation, and Collaboration“.

Our Head of Sustainability Martina Schiuma, together with Theresa Taller Manager Industry Engagement Apparel of GS1 addressed the issue of the Digital Product Passport from several points of view: technology, data, cooperation, etc.

Below you can find the issues addressed during the panel, or if you want you can watch the video.

Digital Product Passport is a buzzword!?

 Everyone is speaking about digitizing items, creating a unique digital identity of the product.

With Digital Product Passport you can give the information to the customers about where the product comes from, what is the impact of the product, and potentially how to empower circular fashion business models.

Just scanning a QR code you will have access to all the information you seek. It can be a great marketing tool because it’s easy to use, creates engagement with the consumer, and effectively becomes another touchpoint between the brand and the customer.

So in a world where more and more solutions of this type are emerging, what really makes the difference?Where can you find the real value from the different Digital Product Passports?

The changing is the way we want to use it 

One of the main challenges regarding Digital Product Passport is the availability and accuracy of data along the supply chain.

We need a traceability system along the supply chain to track all steps and have data in real time.

But we know that it’s not so easy! This requires a collaborative effort between brands, suppliers to ensure proper data collection and reporting.

Without data and collaboration, the very concept of Digital Product Passport risks losing meaning.

Are Tier 1 Suppliers Enough?

Today’s brand has always been concerned with direct operation and their direct suppliers but  they are not really aware about what is happening beyond their direct suppliers: who’s  supplying, to whom, in which country.

When we go to the third, fourth supplier we could see a gap about lack of control, compliance problems, efficiency issue.

That’s the tricky point but is necesserry, because if you want to communicate your transparency you need to collect this information and train the suppliers to understand how to do that.

The real value of Collaboration

Laws are coming (or have already arrived), that’s a fact.

The European Union has embraced the EU Green Deal Plan with the objective of becoming the first continent to achieve “net-zero” impact by 2050. 

In France The AGEC legislation makes it mandatory to communicate information about the product and digitize this information in order the customers can easily assess them.

These goals, driven by new laws, require significant changes in the fashion industry to comply with the new ones regulations.

What about brand?

There is a trend to “be scared” about these legislations and instead of pushing for doing more they sometimes are afraid that doing more and communicating more can be dangerous for them.

Everyone speaks about transparency and communicating this information out, but the reality is that the major issue for these corporations is to be held responsible for their suppliers.

This can be a dangerous point, but it represents an opportunity to create a real collaborative relationship between the supply chain and the brand.

If it doesn’t, the consequences can be alarming:

If these brands are not able to engage their suppliers in the data collection process we will miss the information about the product and if we will miss to define a standard for communicating information  and standardized information. 

Eventually we will miss information for empowering a new circular business.

The collaboration to supports brands in collecting data but also it’s about sharing value

Increasing collaborations between brands, manufacturers, supply chain, and other key players to making them an active participants.

We need standards

Actors in the fashion industry all have their own way of identifying things but if you use standards to align the data then this leads to smarter decision making and more control over how data is used. Regulation is a driving force for the standardization of fashion.

The interoperable standards allow data to be collected in a scalable way, communicated and understood throughout the supply chain, even between subjects who speak different languages. 

We need to  speak the same language, to have same data accuracy and reliable.

And this is not the future, it is the present.

A real process that is going on: we are working on a project the CIRPASS, that is defining  which  will be the next standard solution that  are out there in the market for creating a  digital product passport.

In conclusion, the Digital Product Passport represents an opportunity for the fashion sector to promote transparency. 

But to ensure full transparency you must have solid data, to have solid data you must actively involve your supply chain.

Book a call with us to understand where to start.

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