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How to prepare for digital product passports

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July 3, 2023

Digital product passports are coming. Are you ready? Here are three tips to make sure you are.

Digital product passports are coming. The European Union’s new sustainability initiative is part of a broader move towards circularity and supply chain transparency. Their aim, to close the information gaps that exist in global supply chains, promises to revolutionize eco-practices as it is rolled out sector by sector. And it’s not just EU-based companies that will need to comply. Any brand or manufacturer doing business within the European trading bloc will need to implement digital product passports – or face being frozen out of the market.  

Digital product passports are more than simply another regulatory hoop to jump through. The initiative offers a valuable opportunity for forward-thinking brands to improve data transparency, increase brand loyalty, and strengthen their environmental and social impact on the world around us. But the introduction of these passports won’t happen overnight. Entire global supply chains will need to be recalibrated, and that takes time, resources, and knowledge.  

If you aren’t already preparing for digital product passports, the best time to start is now. To help you get to grips with what’s to come, here are three ways you can begin your digital product passport journey today. 

How will DPPs impact circularity?

Read the latest inriver ebook “The Circular Product Journey” to find out.

3 ways to prepare for digital product passports 

The exact requirements of the digital product passports may still be under development, but don’t let that stop you from taking action today with these three steps. 

1. Get your data in order 

Even though the final details are still being determined, we already know the main aim of digital product passports: data transparency. This means your product data is the ideal place to start your preparations. The first step should be understanding what supply chain data you already have. You need to know whether it’s robust enough to stand up to the scrutiny the new regulations will bring. For example, do you know where all your raw materials are extracted? Or how they are extracted? How about the carbon emissions of your manufacturing process? Producing this data – and a lot more besides – will be a key part of complying with the new regulations.  

Once you’ve understood what data you have, you’ll also know what data you don’t have. It’s these information gaps that are a key tenet of the digital product passport initiative. It’s imperative you fill them to be able to comply with the new regulations. If this data doesn’t exist at all, that’s a significant problem you’ll need to start addressing now. However, if the data does exist but in various siloes and systems, then your issue might be product information management.  

That’s why so many brands and manufacturers operating in Europe are reassessing their tech stack as they prepare for digital product passports. Investing in a product information management (PIM) solution can help you collect, manage, and then distribute all the data required to meet the upcoming regulations. And doing this today can help avoid any significant headaches tomorrow.  

employees talking around tablet

2. Engage all your internal stakeholders 

One big challenge of digital product passport implementation is the broad impact it will have on various parts of your organization. As well as identifying data gaps and putting in place actions to close them, ensuring all internal teams are informed and prepared should be a priority. 

Your first step is to share as much information about the upcoming regulations as possible. This means sharing it far and wide throughout your organization. This will keep everyone up to speed with what’s going on, and what they need to be doing to help the organization-wide move towards data transparency.  

As well as keeping internal teams up-to-date, these teams will also need to identify the impact digital product passports will have. For example: 

The picture will be different for every company. However, by getting all relevant teams to think about digital product passports early, you reduce the risk of a siloed and fragmented approach to implementation. 

3. Frame digital product passports as a differentiator that drives growth 

Some may see digital product passports as yet another regulatory hurdle. However, they also come with a wealth of new benefits for companies that prioritize their implementation. That’s why framing digital product passports as an opportunity—and not simply a tick-box compliance exercise— will help your company stand out from the competition and accelerate growth.   

For example, digital product passports will help brands, manufacturers, and retailers improve their resilience by strengthening their supply chain visibility. The passports will also ensure they can optimize their resource use wherever possible. They will also unlock new revenue streams and help consumers shop more consciously. Studies show the growing importance of eco-credentials for consumers. Recent Forbes research finds that consumers of all ages are willing to pay extra for a product they see as sustainable. This includes a huge 90% of Gen X shoppers.  

And that’s not all. As digital product passports mature, there are likely to be other unforeseen advantages of the legislation—so watch this space!  

The journey to digital product passports starts with PIM 

It’s hard to prepare for digital product passports without your product data being in order. Siloed systems, inaccurate product information, and incomplete records will soon hinder any attempts to meet the regulatory requirements set out by the European Union. That’s why so many companies have identified the need for a new breed of PIM solution and moving over to the inriver platform.  

In addition to market-leading syndication and digital shelf analytics (DSA) capabilities that can revolutionize how you take your products to market, the inriver platform has the flexible data model you need to meet the growing demands for regulatory transparency at every stage of the product life cycle. If you’re starting to prioritize your digital product passport strategy, get in touch with an inriver expert today. Book a personalized, guided demo, and you’ll soon see how comprehensive product information management can be your ticket to digital product passport compliance.  

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  • Brooke Cunningham

    Chief Marketing Officer

    As Chief Marketing Officer, Brooke is responsible for inriver's end-to-end marketing strategy.

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