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Digital Passport Product: e-SCM in the European Parliament! 

A MAJOR CHALLENGE

Europe is closely studying the Digital Product Passport

The textile sector is in 4th position in terms of environmental impact in the European Union. So how can we make the textile industry more sustainable and circular?  

 

Europe is a pioneer in scientific work relating to the Digital Product Passport in the textile field. This digital tool will be able to provide, in addition to details on the composition of textiles, information on production sites, manufacturing processes, as well as their environmental and social repercussions. This information will be intended for consumers as well as industrial players and authorities in order to monitor products from their manufacture to their end of life. This is a crucial tool aimed at guaranteeing the transparency and traceability of textile products, in response to the major challenge of the circular economy.  

 

The Digital Product Passport (PPN) meets the challenge. It aims to collect data on the life cycle of textiles to help fashion companies and consumers make more sustainable decisions.  

E-SCM IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

A study requested by the European Parliament

portrait Pantxika Ospital

In 2023, the European Parliament, through the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), requested a study concerning the potential of the Digital Passport for textile products.  

Pantxika Ospital, Doctor consultant specialist in traceability, after 3 years of thesis on the subject of the Digital Passport, within e-SCM, in collaboration with the BALI Chair, and Jérémy Legardeur, professor at the ESTIA engineering school, have carried out this study.

 

The conclusions were presented on Thursday March 14 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 

 

This study, dedicated to the Digital Product Passport (PPN) in the textile industry, is carried out within the framework of the European Union strategy for sustainable and circular textiles. It examines the potential, needs, benefits and challenges of deploying the PPN for all stakeholders in the European textile sector value chain.  


The following key points emerge: 

  • A consensus among sector players, 81 people from 20 countries, on the nature of the information that the digital passport produced must include and on its ability to counter fast fashion and generate fair competition between European textile players. 
  • A solution capable of promoting circular and more qualitative production which promotes the anchoring of sustainable fashion in Europe. 
  • Gradual implementation:  
  • Until 2027: a simplified digital passport 
  • From 2027: an advanced digital passport aimed at promoting product circularity 
  • From 2030 to 2033: a fully circular digital passport capable of driving new business models 

You can watch the replay of the presentation here:

e-SCM in European Parliament digital passport produced

RECOGNIZED EXPERTISE

Why e-SCM was requested by the European Parliament

e-SCM is involved in the Bali Chair which, for more than 6 years, has brought together players in the Fashion & Luxury Textile industry wishing to collaborate for circular, transparent and agile fashion. As a Supply Chain specialist, we lead the “Traceability & Transparency” working group as an axis of innovation towards more sustainable and more efficient fashion.

 

In her thesis work, Pantxika Ospital, e-SCM “Business” consultant, demonstrates that the data model necessary to supply a Digital Product Passport is aligned with that of an Agile Supply Chain. It makes it possible to respond to flexibility challenges to rationalize supplies in a tense economic and economic context and ensures end-to-end traceability of Finished Products thanks to systematic auditability of processes. This is where the challenge of the “Traceability & Transparency” approach lies, which guarantees compliance with regulatory requirements and supports the transition towards more responsible and more economically efficient fashion.

 

The European Parliament, by requesting this Report, recognizes the expertise of the research work on the Digital Passport carried out by e-SCM and supervised by ESTIA teacher-researchers.

SUMMARY OF THE STUDY

Digital Product Passport in the textile sector

AUTHORS 

This study has been written by Jérémy LEGARDEUR (Professor, ESTIA Institute of Technology), Pantxika OSPITAL (Dr, Belharra company) at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament. 

 

Executive summary: 

This research aligns with the necessary transition of the textile and fashion sector, aiming to stimulate and accelerate the dynamics of circularity and sustainability. The twin transition (ecological and digital) that the EU encourages can be facilitated by applying new information and communication technologies (NICTs).   

The textile and fashion industries are facing a triple crisis that spans ecological, economic, and social realms. To address these challenges and meet consumer demands for transparency, this study discusses about the deployment of Digital Product Passport (DPP) at the European level. The goal is to enhance traceability, circularity, and transparency throughout the entire lifecycle of fashion products. By offering detailed information about each product throughout its lifecycle, DPP can promote sustainability and circular practices.   

 

However, the effective implementation of DPP requires a comprehensive understanding of the complexities within the textile supply chain and the full digitalization of industry processes. The garment supply chain operates as a multifaceted network with numerous third parties and a buyer-driven production approach. Retailers focus on marketing and selling apparel, while manufacturing involves a diverse array of entities worldwide, each with unique functional capacities. This diversity in capabilities leads to varying sourcing models, which, in turn, complicates traceability for buyers. consequently, there is a lack of comprehensive information for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions and for the better sorting of products and optimization of materials at the end of their use life.   

 

To develop a possible generic model of DPP for the textile sector, we employed a methodology based on a bottom-up approach called Grounded Theory. This approach integrates data from various sources, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in creating an effective DPP for the textile industry. Our aim is to define the concept of DPP and to analyze the information required at each stage of the product lifecycle, identifying the challenges and stakeholders involved.   

We integrate data from various sources to inform our approach, including transparency initiatives within the fashion sector, insights from testimonials and experiences within the textile industry, and the regulatory and scientific framework surrounding DPP. We define the DPP as following: DPP is the combination of an identifier, the granularity of which can vary throughout the lifecycle (from a batch to a single product), and data characterizing the product, processes and stakeholders, collected and used by all the stakeholders involved in the circularity process. 

 

 

We identified 11 categories of possible DPP aims and contributions : Informing consumers, Informing companies, Managing resource flows, Promoting circularity, Sustainability indicators management, Market surveillance, Track and trace after sales, Compliance with regulations, Product end-of-life management, Commercial competitive edge, Product authentication. 

 

We have identified 8 categories of stakeholders (people or companies who could be involved or interested by using a DPP): Supply chain companies, Brands, Retailers, Authorities, Certification and assessment companies, Circularity Operators, Media, Consumers. 

 

 

Once the products have been identified by reference ('unique' or 'batch') and brand, we identified 16 categories of information and concepts that could be contained in the DPP: Product description, Composition, Supply Chain, Transportation, Documentation, Environmental impact , Social impact, Impact on animals, Circularity, Health impact, Information on the brand, Communication/media identification, Granularity, Quantity, Costs, Tracking and tracing after sales, Customer feedback. 

Following our research work, we define a first version of a generic model of DPP based on the lifecycle model representation to include all the information previously mentioned. 

 

 

We organized a consultation and collected feedback about this model during an online survey composed of 10 questions. The survey involved 81 stakeholders and experts in textile sectors from almost 20 countries in Europe. They validated the interest of most of the information concerning Supply chain and Finished products with a doubt concerning the identification of transformation and transportation companies . Costs are not considered as an information to include for a majority of respondents. Regarding distribution stage , there is less consensus about information to be included apart from location and second-hand criteria. Concerning Usage stage, customer identification is not to be included as well. For the end of life , all information mentioned should be included. 

 

 

Based on the results of the survey, we propose a step-by-step scenario and policy options for the deployment of the DPP in 3 phases:  

 

Phase 1. Deployment of a “minimal & simplified DPP” for textile at short-term horizon 2027 This “minimal & simplified DPP” proposal is mainly based on dissemination of mandatory information completed by additional information that will be useful for lifecycle analysis. 

 

Phase 2. Deployment of an “advanced DPP” for textile at mid-term horizon 2030 This “advanced DPP” could gradually be extended to other stakeholders and more information are collected all along the life cycle, based on the learnings of the first phase and return to experimentation. 

 

Phase 3. Deployment of a “full circular DPP” for textile at long-term horizon 2033 During this last phase, a “full circular DPP” can be fully deployed to promote circularity in the textile sector. 

The main objectives of the policy options concerning DPP are:  

– Enhancing transparency throughout the entire value chain  

– Streamlining and reducing the consumption of raw materials.  

– Promoting the creation of sustainable products  

– Minimizing waste generation  

– Fostering product differentiation based on quality, thereby facilitating competition against the fast-fashion actors.