Enabling a Circular Economy with Digital Product Passports: Information Requirements and Data Collection Practices
Sammanfattning: Circular and digital transformations are key focal points in the European Commission's regulations and directives, as evidenced by the proposed Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation. This regulation aims to reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycles. To facilitate this objective, the implementation of digital product passports has been put forward as a means to seamlessly exchange product information. However, the ambiguity and absence of an implementation timeline in the ESPR framework hinder producers' preparedness for the expected information requirements in a digital product passport. Consequently, the extent of producers' compliance with the implementation schedule, along with the associated actions, challenges, and opportunities, remains uncertain. This study conducted two sequential qualitative phases to address these issues. The initial phase examined the anticipated information requirements and implementation timeline, while the subsequent phase assessed producers' current information collection practices.The findings reveal that producers effectively collect the majority of the 29 anticipated information elements mandated by a digital product passport, categorized as traceability, product-related, environmental, and circular information. However, producers’ information collection practices are not aligned with the implementation timeline due to limited prior knowledge of forthcoming regulations. Producers are taking measures such as collaboration, enhanced transparency, and effective management of end-of-life products and facilities to comply with the requirements. Challenges include balancing transparency with safeguarding sensitive information, information gathering across the supply chain, and managing the inclusion of essential information. On the other hand, opportunities arise in improved decision-making, innovation, extended product lifespan, and continuous learning. This research contributes to understanding the anticipated information requirements of digital product passports and provides valuable guidance for producers' data collection efforts.
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