As the European Commision moves forward with its proposal under the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), the fashion industry is now in a race to meet the eco-friendly rules of the bill in order to maintain an EU market share.
As explained in an article by Fashion United, one of the biggest and most material changes to products will be the adoption of a Digital Product Passport (DPP). The passport will require brands to collect and share data from a product’s lifecycle. While functional aspects are still evolving, the passport is based on blockchain technology and will capture the sustainability, environmental, and recyclability attributes of a product as well as manufacturing and sourcing. This data can then be accessed via a label (QR code) which each customer can scan and review. Customers and brands will be able to see the product’s carbon footprint profile, elaborating on details of the product’s past and current owners. Additionally, information on disassembly, recycling and other processes will be included.
The DPP aims to boost transparency and traceability of the product across the entire supply chain – from manufacturers to consumers – and in turn, the hope is that consumers will be able to make more informed decisions around sustainability. With this passport it will also be harder for brands to “greenwash” products with unsubstantiated sustainability claims. On a positive note, businesses will be able to benefit from new revenue streams linked to the DPP and have their own green claims validated.
There will, however, be challenges to the implementation of the DPP, given the need for such a huge integration. There is the complex and expensive technology infrastructure aspect along with the transformation of existing supply chain processes and systems. Complications have seen the specifications of the regulation (initially expected in 2024) to be delayed. While there hasn’t been a date set for DPP’s introduction, the regulation is expected to come into effect in 2026/2027, and most products are expected to be covered by 2030. While this may seem like a long way off, given the complications, companies should be proactively preparing ahead of time – staying updated on regulations, and gradually modifying systems and processes as more information becomes available.