The Ultimate Guide to Digital Product Passports (DPPs)

Digital Product Passports provide details on a product’s life cycle, helping drive sustainability. Read this guide to understand and adopt DPPs.

Regulatory Compliance
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The Ultimate Guide to Digital Product Passports (DPPs)

Digital Product Passports Guide: A Pathway to More Sustainable Consumption

Digital Product Passports (DPPs) are innovative new tools that provide detailed information about a product’s life cycle, enhancing sustainability in consumption and production. 

In today’s world, where sustainable consumption is increasingly vital, DPPs play a crucial role. They empower consumers to make informed choices and businesses to demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility, marking a significant step towards a more sustainable future.

Vaayu is dedicated to helping solve retail’s sustainability challenges in the most efficient ways possible. With current and future legislation mandating DPPs, we knew from talking with partners and other industry leaders that DPPs are high on the agenda for 2024 and beyond, so we put together this ultimate guide to Digital Product Passports to help the industry understand, adopt and make the most of DPPs. We hope you enjoy reading and find this resource useful.

What is a Digital Product Passport?

Graphic to answer what is a Digital Product Passport?

A Digital Product Passport (DPP) is an innovative concept designed to provide comprehensive information about a product throughout its lifecycle. Born out of the requirements of changing legislation regarding product sustainability, these passports essentially serve as digital identities for products, containing detailed data ranging from manufacturing details to aftercare instructions. 

They work by integrating technologies like QR codes (“data carriers”), which, when scanned, grant access to a wealth of information about the product. This can include its origin, materials used, environmental impact, and even recycling instructions. In the real world, DPPs are already increasingly used in industries like electronics and fashion.

What is the Digital Product Passport Law?

Graphic showing the titles of two laws Digital Product Passports apply to

There are currently two key laws that mandate some form of  Digital Product Passport as a significant part of their requirements. Each law is summarized below.

Already in Force: Loi AGEC Decree 2022-748

The French Anti-Waste Law, or Loi AGEC, is a comprehensive law aiming to reduce waste and apply specific requirements to products in France. Decree 2022-748, issued pursuant to this law, mandates that environmental details of specified products placed on the French market must be disclosed to consumers. 

This information, required to be in French, should be electronically accessible at the time of purchase through a digital product sheet on a website. A practical way to meet this requirement is through product-specific webpages or Digital Product Passports, accessible via a link or QR code at the point of sale, whether online or in-store.

As such, many retailers in France and those who sell into France are already implementing Digital Product Passports across entire portfolios of products to ensure they remain compliant in light of the now mandatory requirements.

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Upcoming Requirement: EU ESPR 

The proposed Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), developed under the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan and the European Green Deal, is set to introduce extensive performance and disclosure standards for most products in the EU market. 

Expanding on the Ecodesign Framework Directive, which focused on energy-related products, the new regulation will apply to a significantly wider range of products, like textiles, each with specific performance and information criteria to be set by the European Commission over time. 

Importantly, the ESPR also introduces the requirement for Digital Product Passports, outlining a series of specific requirements and criteria that Digital Product Passports must adhere to. These requirements go beyond the more limited standards under the French law, explicitly mandating the use of open standards, machine-readability of data, transferability through an open data exchange network and use of an interoperable format.

Find out more.

What is an Example of a Digital Product Passport?

Graphic showing an example of a Digital Product Passport

Here is an example of a DIY Digital Product Passport that Vaayu’s solution is empowering our partners to generate and display. Below it you will find an explainer on how the product’s information can be broken down to create an informative DPP.

Digital Product Passport Example: A Pair of Shoes

One example of a Digital Product Passport can be seen in the fashion industry. Imagine a pair of shoes with its own DPP accessible through a QR code on the label. 

When scanning this code with a smartphone, consumers may be able to view a range of information, for example, the origin of the materials used, the factory where the shoes were made, details about the water and energy consumption during production, and even the carbon footprint associated with its transportation. They get a breakdown of the shoes’ impact up until the time they are purchased.

Additionally, the DPP could include guidelines for care and repair to help buyers extend the lifespan of the pair of shoes, plus information on recycling them responsibly at the end of their use. This enables brands and retailers to help lower the product’s impact even after purchase once it’s in the hands of the consumer.

This level of detail not only informs consumers about the environmental impact of their purchase but also empowers them to make more sustainable choices, both pre-purchase and during use and end-of-life.

What kind of Data is Shown in Digital Product Passports?

Digital Product Passports contain a wide range of specific data designed to offer a detailed overview of a product’s lifecycle. Regulatory requirements such as Decree 2022-748 and the EU ESPR will ultimately define the scope of data that must (and optionally may) be displayed in a Digital Product Passport.

Graphic showing the kind of data used for Digital Product Passports

Here are some of the key types of data typically shown in DPPs that are in use today:

Product Identification

This includes basic information such as product name, model, manufacturer, and serial or batch number.

Materials and Ingredients

Detailed information about the materials and ingredients used in the product, including quantities and sources.

Production and Traceability Details

Information about where and how the product was manufactured, including the location of factories, production methods and traceability information about the supply chain, covering the journey of the product from raw materials to the end consumer.

Environmental Impact

Data on the product’s carbon footprint, water usage, and other environmental impacts throughout its lifecycle, from production to disposal.

Safety and Compliance Information

Details on compliance with various safety and environmental regulations, certifications, and standards.

Usage Instructions

Information on how to use the product correctly and safely.

Maintenance and Aftercare

Guidelines for maintaining the product, including cleaning instructions and recommended repair or service providers.

Recycling and Disposal

Instructions on how to dispose of or recycle the product responsibly at the end of its life, including information about recyclable parts.

Warranty and Service Information

Details about warranty periods, service centers, and contact information for customer support.

Another graphic showing the kind of data used for Digital Product Passports

These data points help consumers make more informed decisions and enable companies to demonstrate transparency and compliance with regulatory standards. For instance, a garment’s DPP could detail the sustainable sources of its materials and provide care instructions to help with item longevity. 

This not only aids in enhancing transparency and supply chain traceability but also helps companies comply with legal standards, especially in regions like France and the rest of Europe where such requirements are rapidly evolving.

What is the Importance of Digital Product Passports?

Digital Product Passports are crucial for promoting environmental sustainability, providing detailed insights into a product’s life cycle, materials and manufacturing process. This transparency empowers consumers to make informed choices, favoring products with lower environmental impacts. Moreover, with DPPs, this information will remain available for the lifetime of the product, empowering subsequent owners with the same information.

DPPs also enhance supply chain transparency and accountability, driving companies toward more sustainable and responsible practices. By doing so, businesses are beginning to play a key role in shaping a more sustainable consumer culture and business environment.

What are the Benefits of Digital Product Passports?

Digital Product Passports are designed to enhance product transparency, promote sustainable practices, and facilitate informed consumer choices, benefitting entire industries.

For consumers, the benefits of DPPs include easy access to detailed product information, enabling them to make environmentally conscious decisions. They can track a product’s origin, materials, and environmental impact, leading to more responsible purchasing.

For businesses, DPPs offer improved supply chain management and compliance with regulatory standards. They provide a platform for demonstrating sustainability efforts and practices, potentially attracting a more conscientious customer base and enhancing brand reputation.

How can Digital Product Passports be used to Engage Consumers?

Graphic showing how Digital Product Passports can engage consumers

Digital Product Passports can be integrated into customer experiences in various ways, enhancing communication and engagement. This communication can play a crucial role in how brands and retailers present their business to consumers, stakeholders, investors and more, enabling them to position themselves as key industry sustainability leaders and positively influence buyer behavior.

  • Brands can incorporate DPPs directly onto product pages, providing immediate access to comprehensive product information
  • By scanning QR codes on products, consumers can view a product’s journey, materials, and environmental impact
  • This feature can also be included in marketing materials, both online and in-store, allowing for interactive and informative experiences
  • The added transparency afforded by DPPs appeals to increasingly conscious consumers, going beyond compliance with regulations
  • It builds trust and loyalty, as customers appreciate brands that are open about their practices
  • By openly sharing this information, brands can differentiate themselves in a crowded market, appealing to a demographic that values sustainability
  • This approach not only meets legal requirements but also aligns with a growing trend towards responsible consumption

DPPs are set to help define the future of customer engagement and more conscious consumerism. Transparency, credibility and traceability is the direction that the retail industry is swiftly heading toward.

Who are Digital Product Passports For?

Digital Product Passports (DPPs) benefit key stakeholders including consumers, businesses and governments. 

  • Consumers gain detailed product information, aiding in making informed purchases
  • Businesses use DPPs for supply chain transparency and demonstrating sustainability, appealing to more conscious customers
  • Governments can utilize DPPs for regulatory compliance and environmental policy enforcement

Industries like fashion, electronics and home furniture and appliances, where product origin and environmental impact are increasingly scrutinized, will find DPPs particularly relevant. These passports offer a comprehensive view of a product’s lifecycle, enhancing trust and accountability across sectors.

Businesses which place products on the French market are already creating DPPs to ensure compliance with Decree 2022-748, which is coming to effect over time from 2023 through 2025. More widespread adoption of DPPs is expected from 2026 across Europe, as the EU ESPR’s requirements begin taking effect for different product groups.

How to Obtain a Digital Product Passport

As Digital Product Passport requirements evolve, there are an increasing amount of operators providing tools and services to build DPPs for all kinds of businesses. For retail businesses, Vaayu offers a free, scalable DIY DPP solution that makes building and exporting Digital Product Passports easy.

Bringing together Vaayu’s legal, LCA, climate and technological expertise to ensure compliance, accuracy, scalability and a good user experience:

Our current DIY DPP solution is aligned with Loi AGEC’s Decree 2022-748 data mandates, enabling companies to create their own compliant disclosures at scale. Focused on user experience, we've engineered a seamless process for customers to input data, ensuring ease on the business end and engagement from customers. 

Our customer-facing interface not only fulfills labeling requirements but also helps engage users, striking the right balance between regulatory compliance and user experience.

Here’s how it works:

1. Easily Input the Product Data on Vaayu’s Simple Step-by-Step Platform

Graphic showing a step-by-step Step 1 on how to create Digital Product Passports

  • A free, scalable DIY Digital Product Passport service
  • Fill out Vaayu’s simple, purpose-built step-by-step form to create your DPPs
  • Make the most of the option to include additional meaningful information like aftercare instructions and sustainability tips to further engage consumers

2. Automatically Create Informative Digital Product Passport QR Codes and URLs

Graphic showing a step-by-step Step 2 on how to create Digital Product Passports

  • Generates Digital Product Passport QRs and URLs for easy access for digital use and across further touchpoints, like including the QR on product labels
  • Become more transparent and enhance supply chain traceability

3. Become Compliant with Required Regulatory Frameworks

Graphic showing a step-by-step Step 3 on how to create Digital Product Passports

  • Meet Europe’s rapidly evolving legal compliance requirements
  • Get ahead of the curve — DPPs are now mandatory in France across specific product categories, with widespread adoption expected as EU-wide mandates take effect

To acquire your Digital Product Passports with Vaayu, click here.

The Future of Digital Product Passports

As DPPs and their wider adoption evolves, the kind of data they encompass is certain to change over time. For example, EU ESPR will empower the European Commission to define which precise information points must be disclosed, as well as the format and technical operability of the DPP for each distinct product class. It is also conceivable that DPPs may encompass other forms of information, from traditional impact data to more creative and innovative content.

Additional Resources:

Digital Product Passports (DPPs) are pivotal in fostering transparency and sustainability in various industries, particularly retail. They empower consumers with detailed product information, enabling informed and responsible purchasing decisions and act as tools for businesses to demonstrate commitment to sustainable practices, enhancing brand trust and appeal. 

The role of DPPs in promoting sustainable consumption and responsible production is undeniable. Their widespread implementation could significantly contribute to a more sustainable and transparent global market, helping to drive Net Zero and the circular economy as brands become even more acutely aware of their impact throughout the supply chain. 

It’s crucial for all stakeholders to explore and support DPPs, recognizing their potential in shaping a more responsible and environmentally conscious future.

If you’re ready to get started with your company’s Digital Product Passports, sign up for access to Vaayu’s free DIY DPP builder or get in touch with us today.

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