The "European Green Deal" and the "Circular Economy Action Plan" of the European Union (EU) have given new impetus to EU product policy in 2019 and 2020. In both strategy papers of the European Commission, an electronic or digital product passport is mentioned as an essential instrument for a climate-friendly and resource-efficient economy. Among other things, this should provide information on the origin, composition, repair and disassembly possibilities of a product as well as on its handling at the end of its life.
The topic of a "digital product passport" is also being discussed at national level and is mentioned in particular as a central measure in the Federal Environment Ministry's Digital Agenda for Environmental Policy.
Even though the topic is currently moving more into the spotlight, a widely applicable digital product passport has not yet been established in practice. The first partial approaches exist, but they have not yet been institutionalised in the form of mandatory standard data sets or central databases. Accordingly, there are no concrete and comprehensive concepts at the political level as to how such a comprehensive product passport should be designed and implemented in the future. This is the point of departure for this brief study. It also draws on experiences from existing projects and initiatives that have already provided insights into the (partial) implementation of various concepts related to the topic of product passports. Accordingly, this short study aims to present the current state of discussion on the topic of "digital product passports" in a compact form and to outline options for action for a possible implementation. It does not claim to develop a comprehensive concept, but is intended to provide initial approaches and options to stimulate further discussions and research approaches. In particular, the short study should provide impulses for subsequent initiatives at national and European level.
Thomas Götz, Thomas Adisorn, Lena Tholen:
Der Digitale Produktpass als Politik-Konzept
Kurzstudie im Rahmen der Umweltpolitischen Digitalagenda des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU)
(Wuppertal Report no. 20)