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June 21, 2023

What is a digital product passport?

Can you imagine using your smartphone to scan a QR code on everyday products to give you detailed information about how they have been produced, and exactly what they have in them?


A proposal to introduce a new Digital Product Passport is under review by the EU. The new passport would give greater traceability, tracking, and transparency of products. The idea is that one day, a QR code could be scanned and linked to data that anyone can access about the sourcing and production processes of thousands of products.


The passport would include information about the product’s durability, sustainability, carbon footprint, and the presence of substances such as man-made chemicals. In theory it could increase chemical transparency and make it easier to avoid harmful chemicals such as endocrine disrupting chemicals. It could make also it easier for us to make more informed consumer choices and reduce the likelihood of so called ‘green washing’ – which can be very confusing. 


A consultation period is underway by the EU to identify product categories that would be impacted by the proposed new law. Electronics, batteries, textiles, furniture, plastics, and paper are amongst the categories under review, and further categories may be added during the consultation process. If the Digital Product Passport proposal is passed into law this would require all producers to include labelling on products covered by the new legislation that links it to a digital passport for their products. 


The legislation is part of the wider Ecodesign and energy labelling working plan 2022-2024. 


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