TrusTrace Partners with industry leaders in Trace4Value project to pilot digital product passports in textiles

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TrusTrace, a global SaaS company with a market-leading platform for product traceability and compliance, today announced its participation in the Trace4Value project, in which TrusTrace will pilot a solution for the Digital Product Passport (DPP) to enable sustainability through transparency.

The pilot will be in line with the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles that calls for DPPs to be mandatory on textiles sold in Europe by 2030. The goal of the DPP is to encourage sustainable production, enable the transition to a circular economy, and help consumers make more sustainable choices.

“Our goal is to effectively test how a DPP can function in practice – and prepare for future implementation,” said TrusTrace Co-Founder and CEO Shameek Ghosh. “TrusTrace is uniquely positioned to pioneer this practice based on the in-depth experience we have helping brands map and trace their supply chains. Working together with dozens of industry leaders, the Trace4Value project will allow us to investigate the opportunities and challenges that the DPP will entail for textile and fashion companies, ultimately helping the entire industry comply with this new directive before 2030.”

The project is partly funded by Vinnova and coordinated by RISE Research Institute of Sweden. The partners working on the DPP project include TrusTrace, Marimekko, Kappahl, Elis, SIS Swedish Institute for Standards, GS1 Sweden, TEXroad Foundation, Circularista, 2bPolicy, Trimco Group, Rudholm and Haak and Aalto University. The broader Trace4Value project covers more than 65 partners, focusing on traceability and data-sharing across various industries.

The Trace4Value DPP will be tested through tagging selected Kappahl and Marimekko pilot products in production with an ID carrier on the products that stores prioritized supply chain and transparency data. Then, through a QR code, product information can be accessed instantly using a mobile device. The DPP will be based on current global standards to ensure interoperability and seamless information sharing with all stakeholders in the value chain.

In addition to developing the consumer-facing interface that provides product data, TrusTrace has in collaboration with the partners developed a data protocol that effectively prioritizes information for the DPP based on supply chain data and legislation. Data will include a Global Trade Identification Number, relevant commodity codes, compliance documents, substances of concern, information about the manufacturer, and more.

“There are no standard data protocols for this regulation yet, so we have developed a data protocol that is available for download at the TrusTrace and Trace4Value web pages,” Ghosh said. “We are not creating a separate standard, but testing and learning, and the protocol will be continuously updated as the details on the EU regulation take shape. The protocol has been designed to be flexible to ensure we can adapt to all the changes coming in the future.”

Staffan Olsson, Head of Public Affairs at GS1 Sweden explains that standards are required for a product passport to be developed: “The upcoming legislation will require brands to conform to a standardized way of exchanging information using a global language of business. As a leader in global standards for identifying, capturing and sharing information, GS1 can play an important role in enabling brands to uniquely identify and share information in a DPP.”

Laura Linnala, Project Manager Circular Economy at The Swedish Institute of Standards, adds: “A wide range of standards are currently useful for implementing a DPP, and new standards will be developed and will be available when the regulation enters into force in Europe.”

The pilot project both lays a foundation for standard setting, but also enables companies to get a better grasp of what the DPP will entail.

Kappahl’s Vice President Sustainability Sandra Roos adds: “The Trace4Value project has visualized to us at Kappahl what a digital product passport is. It is an effective way for the organization to prepare for the coming legislation to collaborate hands-on in a pilot.”

The DPP requirements are being developed by the European Commission as part of its broader strategy to create a more sustainable and circular economy in Europe. The DPP requirements are part of the Eco-design for Sustainable Product Regulation (ESPR) which in turn is part of the European Green Deal nestled under the Sustainable Textile Strategy.

According to Marimekko’s Sustainability Manager Marjut Lovio: “Digital Product Passports aim to increase transparency and traceability of products to enable improved consumer communications. This pilot program will help the industry to prepare for planned regulations that will move us one step closer to a circular economy.”

The DPP is also closely linked to the Circular Economy Action Plan, which aims to promote a circular economy in Europe by reducing waste and ensuring that products and materials are reused and recycled as much as possible. The DPP provides information on the environmental impact and traceability of products, while the Ecodesign Regulation sets minimum environmental requirements for products. Together, they encourage manufacturers to design more sustainable and resource-efficient products, which can help reduce the environmental footprint of products throughout their lifecycle.

“Our goal with the project is to increase the traceability and circularity in the value chains,” Ghosh concluded. “With a global identification system for an item and its components, we can connect it to multiple sources of data to enable accessible product traceability for consumers, brands, and authorities.”

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