Unpacking digital product passports and how they will change fashion

“The type of information it will contain extends across the entire life cycle of a product, from design to end of life.”

What if there was an easy, straightforward way for consumers to find everything they need to know about an item they want to purchase? Soon that will be the case. The conscious consumer that the fashion industry wants to target demands transparency about the products they buy. While sharing this information was once a dream in the fashion industry, the introduction of the digital product passport will soon become a reality.

Digital product passports are accessible by scanning a barcode or QR code and contain all the information you need about an item’s impact on the environment. By 2030, all textile products sold in Europe will require one, and Australia is likely to follow suit soon.

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For Australian suppliers and brands currently trading in the European market, now is the time to plan for the introduction of digital product passports. With two of the largest sourcing trade fairs for the clothing and textile industry taking place in Sydney next week, this is the ideal time to embrace future-proof processes within the fashion industry.

To find out more about how digital product passports work and the positive impacts they will have on supply chain traceability and circularity, we spoke to Melinda Tually. Melinda is director of Ndless, an ethical sourcing and supply chain consultancy specializing in the fashion and retail sectors.

She will host The Digital Product Passport is Coming seminar as part of the upcoming China Clothing Textiles & Accessories Expo in Sydney on June 13, along with a host of expert industry panellists. Before the session, she explains why digital product passports could revolutionize the fashion world, and what you can learn more about.

Hello Melinda! For the uninitiated: what exactly is a digital product passport?

A digital product passport (or DPP) is essentially a digital cache of information about a product’s environmental sustainability, accessible by scanning a QR code or barcode physically attached to each product. Regarding the fashion industry, the European Commission has determined that by 2030, every textile product for sale in Europe must contain a DPP to accelerate circularity.

The type of information it will contain extends across the entire life cycle of a product, from design through to end of life, and includes data relating to the percentage of recycled content, the product’s sustainability, recyclability and traceability , as well as its composition and the presence of harmful chemicals. , certifications and more.

How will digital product passports change the fashion industry, especially when it comes to sustainability and traceability?

DPPs will have a transformative effect. Its introduction is accompanied by a host of other European regulations, including a requirement to incorporate eco-design elements into products, a ban on the destruction of unsold goods (clothing, shoes and accessories) and stricter restrictions on environmental claims.

With the aim of promoting transparency, circularity and sustainable product design, these requirements are intended to not only help customers make informed choices by understanding the environmental impact of their purchase, but also to facilitate reuse and repair by providing specific product data available to recyclers and recycling companies. manufacturers. This traceability at product level is a key factor for a circular economy.

Will they become mandatory in Australia soon, and if so, when?

Australian brands and suppliers who wholesale and trade directly into the European market will fall within the scope of this legislation, so they should start planning for it now. This includes small and medium-sized enterprises. DPPs are expected to be operational from 2027, so we are already seeing European brands conducting pilots with their suppliers given the amount of information that needs to be collected and displayed. This is a profound change in the way we currently purchase and communicate about our products. Early preparation will therefore be crucial to comply with regulations.

Locally, DPPs make sense in light of clothing textiles being placed on the government’s product stewardship priority list and the launch of Seamless, Australia’s National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme. The information in a DPP is exactly what waste sorters, recyclers and remanufacturers need to process excess textiles safely and effectively.

The Australian government’s recently developed National Framework for Recycled Content Traceability also recommends DPPs, so it would be wise to expect to follow European development as our policymakers attempt to adapt to global demands.

Is there a way for visitors to the China Clothing Textiles & Accessories Expo to learn more about digital product passports?

Yes! Attend the Digital Product Passport is Coming panel on day two (Thursday 13 June) of the Global Sourcing Seminar at the China Clothing Textiles & Accessories Expo in Sydney. You will hear all about how brands can prepare for this, including APG & Co, GS1 and Blocktexx.

Attending the China Clothing and Textiles Expo is free – simply register here. Seminars are part of the Global Sourcing Expo held as part of the China Clothing and Textiles Expo and form a program of 13 one-hour lectures and panel discussions. Tickets cost $40 plus GST per seminar and can be purchased when you register.

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