The European Commission plans to introduce a digital product passport from the year 2023
The European Union aspires to reach zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2050, as well as to prevent and reduce the generation of waste by ambitious percentages, for which it needs to limit excessive consumption and waste generated in the present. With the aim of consolidating the recycling society and contributing to the fight against climate change through the implementation of a circular economy, it is intended to disassociate the existing relationship between economic growth and waste production. For this reason, the European institutions introduce a clear order of priority in actions regarding waste: waste prevention, preparation for reuse, high-quality recycling.
Indeed, future legislation will establish harmonized information standards for consumers at the point of sale, including repair scores, estimated useful life, spare parts, repair services and the availability of computer updates, as well as the possibility of smart labeling. , with QR codes. Everything points to a new European Directive that regulates all these issues, that includes durability and repair requirements, an obligatory ecological design of products, and that regulates in an integrated and effective way the right of consumers to repair.
Following this sustainability policy, the European Commission plans to introduce a digital product passport from the year 2023 that will contain information on the composition of products on the European market, in order to help increase their chances of being reused and recycled. In Europe, tests of a system with QR codes and verification by ‘blockchain’ for physical media and ‘online’ have already begun. These data are structured in digital form and include all the information on the traceability of the product, from the method of cultivation in food, or the production process, to the history of the producer, as well as their values and commitments.
Against this background, the European Union intends to harmoniously regulate the digital passport of products introduced on the European market, containing the necessary data to identify the most important information on the composition of each product, their estimated useful life, the existence of parts spare parts, repair services and the availability of computer upgrades. In this way, it is guaranteed that the users of the supply chain can reuse it or treat it correctly in the waste management facilities, once the useful life of the waste has ended.
Today’s consumer will require clear, reliable and accessible information about the products they consume, their repairability and the best way to recycle them. However, product producers and all the professionals involved will have great difficulties in creating, sharing and distributing the necessary data in a simple and economical way. The European legislative initiative is coherent and responds to criteria of sustainability and digital transformation, but it will truly represent a great challenge for companies.
In short, the new legal framework will have positive effects in terms of product reuse and prevention of waste generation, it will favor the implementation of the circular economy and, therefore, the environmental sustainability of the economy. But this new challenge will definitely require the participation of all the agents involved in the product’s value chain, otherwise it will be difficult to obtain all the necessary and essential information to structure the new digital passport.
Victor Moralo Iza. Attorney and Partner at Ecija