On the EU digital product passport

The fact that products should carry a passport is not new, and definitely not new to GS1. The real change is that this is happening through legislation and by leveraging both green and digital transformations. 

In general, the regulation states that “the product passport means a set of data specific to a product that includes the information (specified in the delegated act) and that is accessible via electronic means through a data carrier”. 

More specifically, it stipulates that the passport shall: 

  • ensure that actors along the value chain, including consumers, economic operators, and competent national authorities, can access product information relevant to them;
  • improve traceability of products along the value chain;
  • facilitate the verification of product compliance by competent national authorities;
  • include the necessary data attributes to enable the tracking of all substances of concern throughout the lifecycle of the products covered.

Under the new regulation, it is important for GS1 to underline that product passports shall be fully interoperable with other identification systems across all product groups, including also the technical, semantic and organisational aspects of interoperability, end-to-end communication and data transfer. 

Therefore, the product passport becomes an interoperability enabler, but also a necessary element to place products on the EU market under the conformity assessment procedure. In addition, the regulation clarifies that consumers, economic operators and other relevant actors shall have free access to the product passport based on their respective access rights. 

For a better assessment of the business implications  linked to the implementation of the Digital Product Passport, Deloitte has developed a study showing three different scenarios based on cost-benefit analysis. 

For GS1, it’s important to note that if open, international standards were not included in the data architecture, the implementation costs to enable the digital product passport in Europe could reach up to 0.1% of the EU GDP (as much as Malta’s economy). 

The full study is available here.