Digital Passport - the tool for more transparency in the fashion industry?

The Digital Passport is intended to create transparency and empowerment and to promote the circular economy - that's what the buzzword is about

Digital Passport mr porter
Source & Copyright by Yoox Net-a-Porter

Author: House of Eden

  • What is a Digital Passport (DPP)?
  • How digital passports promote transparency in the fashion industry
  • Which challenges the innovative technology still has to overcome

Supply chain problems, a lack of resources, and a throwaway mentality lead to global criticism of the fashion industry. At the same time, however, these challenges are also a source of inspiration for the search for solutions. More and more companies are launching strategies for a sustainable textile industry, circular economy models and pioneering innovations. And lately, a buzzword has become more and more common: Digital Passport. An innovative technology designed to promote transparency in the fashion industry.

That's what the Digital Passport is all about

Basically, a Digital Passport is a digital record that contains information about a specific product. In the case of the fashion industry, this is product information from materials to recyclability to production processes and transport routes. Thus, the DPPs ensure the detailed Garment traceability along every phase of the supply and value chain.

Digital Passports can be used in a variety of forms. Brands currently use QR codes most frequently, which can be easily scanned using a smartphone. For example Patagonia, Pangaia, Gabriela Hearst or Yoox Net-A-Porter. However, hardware tags such as Bluetooth and NFC are also relatively easy-to-use variants that enable digital passports to be called up. In general, it is important to emphasize that these technologies are becoming more and more accessible - for example via EON, the world's first cloud-based network for the circular economy.

Transparency and traceability for more customer empowerment

Using DPPs enables consumers to make more conscious and informed choices. Decisive factors such as the place of production and working conditions can be viewed clearly and unadulterated. And without a great deal of searching, which is still often cited today as the reason for the lack of willingness to consume sustainably.

Especially with regard to the extent of Greenwashing, which is still sweeping through the market, this new level of transparency can be instrumental in clearly distinguishing sustainable and ethical products from their supposed competitors. Anyone who wants to integrate environmental protection and fairness into their lifestyle will find the tool for consumer decisions in Digital Passports.

In addition to these advantages for consumers, the increasing spread of digital passports could also motivate companies to take more responsibility. Positioned anyway transparency Companies in the contemporary climate as attractive. Which also means that a lack of willingness to use DPPs can lead to criticism and skepticism. The use of Digital Passports can thus be directly translated into competitive advantages, while at the same time companies are obliged to uphold their sustainable and ethical commitments.

Digital passports driving the transition to the circular economy

In addition, recycling can be promoted through the DPP. In fact, most provide detailed information about the nature of the materials used and how they can be consciously reused, repaired and recycled. To date, the lack of precisely this information about material components and managing them efficiently has been one of the biggest obstacles to success End of Life Management. Because the Digital Passport can now overcome these, it enables circular business models to be scaled up. And thus facilitates the transition to a circular economy.

In this way, it can also contribute to achieving the goal of the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles. As a tool that standardizes data, it creates a unified language for the corporate landscape on how textile products can not only become durable, but also recyclable by 2023.

Challenges of innovative technology

However, there are also challenges with the introduction of digital passports. This includes the necessary guarantee that ensures that data is truthful and reliable. Businesses must ensure that all information is shared transparently and accurately to prevent fraud. Too many companies deny or distort a transparent picture of their status quo - which requires a drastic change.

There is also the question of how companies can disclose sensitive data while maintaining confidentiality. What is needed are mechanisms that can both carefully calculate standardized data and include dynamic areas such as working conditions.

What's next?

In order to establish digital passports in a more future-proof manner, politicians, institutions and companies must work together and decide on additional measures. More precisely: A synergy is needed between the innovative technology and other projects such as political incentives for sustainable business models, investments in infrastructure and education for consumers. Transparency and traceability are just one positive step towards achieving the Net Zero Goals.

Overall, digital passports are of course still a promising approach to promoting sustainability. They increase the efficiency of the processes along the supply and value chain circular business models and strengthen the sustainable mindset of consumers and companies. And that is a very good starting point to steer the future of the textile industry in a green direction.

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