What is a digital product passport and how it works in fashion

The digital product passport will soon be mandatory, but there are already those who have started testing their products: the case of Save The Duck.

  • The Digital Product Passport (DPP) is a comprehensive collection of all data related to a product, from raw material to production processes, from water and chemical use to energy consumed to worker treatment.
  • Already adopted on an experimental basis by some companies, this tool is functional to put the European strategy for sustainable and circular textiles into practice.

Sooner or later it will become a mandatory transparency tool, but while the European directive is still being prepared digital product passport has been experimentally adopted by some companies. After the adoption of the strategy for sustainable and circular textiles in Brussels in March 2022, the European Union has really started the implementation of regulations and specific measures. The main objective of this strategy is to ensure that to 2030all textile products produced in the territory of the Union meet strict ecological standards. These requirements mainly focus on the design of items that, for example, need to be reconsidered to encourage end-of-life recycling or reuse. Furthermore, it is required that the products are made from natural and biodegradable fibers and that the production processes are efficient in terms of consumption. A key tool to achieve this will be the Digital Product Passport (DPP), a vast collection of all product datafrom raw materials to production processes, from the use of water and chemicals to the energy consumed and the treatment of workers.

“The digital product passport is a way of sharing information that brands already often publish, for example in a sustainability report, but in a more compact way: with this tool you have a greater level of detail and, above all, you have them compared. to each individual product,” he explains Silvia Mazzantisustainability manager Save the duck, the brand that was the first to decide to equip all the products of its collection with this tool. “Currently, other players in the sector are doing it, maybe on some garments or capsules, but not on all products”.

When it becomes mandatory, all textile products produced in the territory of the Union will have to be equipped with a digital product passport © Fujiphilm

What is the digital product passport for?

In short, a digital product passport is a very detailed information gathering who are able to provide the most comprehensive picture of the creation of the product, transmitted in form QR code. “It’s months and months of work that goes into feeding many more containers like the ones that allow us to report United Nations Global Compactto fillImpact assessment of B Corp or other assessments required by, for example, large department stores at European level. Having this critical mass of data is vital to being competitive in the market,” continues Mazzanti.

The actual implementation of the legislation with the adoption of the DPP at the European level will not be ready before 2025, but more likely will see the light in 2026, because the regulation of the data collection standard is expected by the end of 2024. “Although the adoption of the DPP is still far from law, Save The Duck’s position is to build this tool step by step: we must not wait for the law to arrive, on the contrary: we will act as guinea pigs by experimenting. Carrying out these pilot activities also serves to give some tips to the legislator, since he usually does not have a real knowledge of the industry: it is essential to have the opinion of the players who are already dealing with these issues and a glimpse of the problems and the potential.”

What was the process that led Save the Duck to provide all products in the collection with a digital product passport?
We felt very strongly the need for sales and retail support in finding sustainability information. As a company, we have had a sustainability report since 2018, but we didn’t think it was enough. In fact, we wanted a tool that would be effective for those people who are in direct contact with the product, that is, sellers and customers, so we anticipated the legislation.

On a practical level, what were the steps?
We thought about transforming the Certilogo brand, which has always been on our clothes and proves their originality, and turned it into an even more talking tool. This is where this project was born, in which when you scan a QR code, you always have with you a set of information related to the selected product and, as a result, part of all the company’s activities. Specifically, the experience gained from the QR code begins with a request to verify that the product is indeed a Save The Duck original, and then continues to find out what the functional characteristics of this product are, that is, the construction features, that is, the materials and everything that goes into the construction and is never seen, such as the certification that accompanies the raw materials and the place of production. We also have two other pieces of data regarding the cluster of clothes made from recycled materials: an approximate calculation of the number of bottles needed to weave the outer shell and the bottles necessary to create the padding, and through a calculation method we created, also an estimate of how much real feathers would be needed to fill one of our heads. This data allows us to calculate how many ducks were not plucked to fill Save The Duck. If a customer chooses to buy one of our products, they are taking away a small market share from a brand that may not have these animal ethics.

Save The Duck is the first brand to use DPP on all products in the © Save The Duck collection

What requirements are required to complete the DPP?
Information. This tool is essentially based on the structure created by Certilogo, which is a digital experience: the data that fills it comes directly from the investigations we carry out, which are presented in our sustainability report, which is subsequently verified by a third party and therefore certified. Part of this data is the calculation of CO2 emissions and climate-changing gases, also certified ISO 140064, all of this is of course also part of the sustainability balance sheet, but it is stated there very summarily, in the DPP. is more detailed. We strive to obtain information from our suppliers on everything from energy consumption impacts to material quantities and handling, even at the territorial level between Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. This is information that we collect independently and then verify with third parties.

What are the biggest challenges associated with completing DPP?
One of the most difficult things is a thorough inspection Supply Chain. We have been working with the same suppliers for more than 10 years, so we have very long-term relationships, which is a huge advantage because they have literally grown with us. We meet with them regularly and then have fairly strict control systems in place with Save The Duck staff doing regular audits. In that sense, we’re lucky to have a direct control that’s also functional in setting the moodheadquarters to those who work with us. Building such strong relationships allows us to be number one in the ass today. Because getting all that huge amount of data requires tenacity: we had to explain to the suppliers why we need this data, and it’s not easy to get them to understand that we’re not doing it to harm them. This feeling of mistrust towards those who ask too much of you is very common in the textile sector because they fear that the customer might skip a level and go directly to the manufacturer. It’s clear that we don’t go deep enough to even know where all the polymers that make up our clothes come from, but in some cases we’ve managed to reach a level Supply Chain very detailed, such as who produces the thread and the raw materials, and in the case of recycled yarns, where the recycled bottles come from.

Physically, the digital product passport comes in the form of a QR code, a tool from which you can access detailed product information collected by the company and verified by a third party © Toa Heftiba

What is the ultimate goal of a digital product passport?
It is important for us to promote a sense of user responsibility. We get to a certain point, but when the product leaves our warehouses, we lose contact with it, and even if we apply for end-of-life ourselves, the basic idea behind everything is also to teach our customers to heal. For us, an effective way to do this is to explain how a particular item is made and how best to maintain it. The Digital Product Passport has many features, including educational; wants to extend the concept of responsibility to the customer as well, not just to the manufacturer. It’s a live tool that will also go through upcoming development phases and one that we want to promote a lot because we’re sure that having this type of information always available will be an incentive for people to be guided by different choices. Having a label that always reminds you how to maintain the product, where to put the packaging if you want to throw it away: it’s like having a laptop in your pocket all the time.


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