Digital Product Passport – new ecological responsibilities for entrepreneurs
In order to improve sustainability and environmental protection, the European Union is working on the adoption of a regulation to introduce a Digital Product Passport. This is foreseen in the forthcoming regulation on the Ecodesign of Sustainable Products (under preparation by the European Commission). The aim of the new regulation is to make it easier for consumers to choose ecological products and to support producers in producing more sustainable products, as well as to be able to verify the compliance of a product with the declarations of sellers or producers.
What is a Digital Product Passport?
The Digital Product Passport is an electronic document that contains information about a product, such as its composition, sources of origin, environmental impact, as well as information about the life of the product – including recycling and disposal. Importantly, data will be collected not only for the finished product, but also for its components or intermediates. All this information is intended to help consumers make more informed purchasing choices and choose products that are less harmful to the environment. It is the intention of the European Union that the final consumer should be able to verify for himself what route a product has taken before it ends up in the consumer’s bag. This is to eliminate the practice of so-called greenwashing, i.e. the use of misleading declarations of a product’s ecological origin.
Who will be obliged to issue a Digital Product Passport?
The obligation will be incumbent on all producers – both large corporations and one-person craft productions. Furthermore, not only products made in the European Union, but also products imported into the EU will be subject to this obligation. The obligation will apply to (i) textiles, (ii) packaging, (iii) electronics and (iv) construction.
What obligations will be imposed on entrepreneurs?
The introduction of the digital product passport will mean that manufacturers will need to have appropriate documentation to prove that their products meet EU requirements. This documentation must be available online and downloadable by any user. Users, in turn, will be able to check online whether a product meets EU requirements and what its ingredients are.
The introduction of the new regulations will require entrepreneurs to make changes to their production process, introduce new procedures to collect and share product information and implement new IT systems to support the Digital Product Passport. In addition, entrepreneurs will need to invest in training employees on the required changes and new procedures.
When is the introduction of the Digital Product Passport expected?
The first implementations of the new legislation are expected in 2026 and are expected to affect batteries.