Explainer: Time to introduce Digital Product Passports in fashion? Infor expert weighs in

As the requirement for textile products sold in the EU to have Digital Product Passports (DPPs) approaches, Helene Behrenfeldt, industry solution director – fashion at software provider Infor, tells Just Style that it is ‘time for action’. Science, Education and beauty editorial expert Rachel Lawler shares an article on Just-Style.com highlighting Behrenfeldt’s professional takes on DDP and its impact in the fashion sector. By 2030, notes Lawler, every fashion and textile product sold within the EU will require a Digital Product Passport (DPP) – scannable QR codes or other tags added to products to provide information about the product’s material composition, supply chain and how it can be recycled or disposed of safely. The scheme should make it easier to share information about a garment’s supply chain and other useful data as well as aiming to provide consumers with better information to allow them to make informed choices, helping move society towards more sustainable choices and eventually circularity.

How will the fashion sector use DPPs? “With such complex supply chains, many businesses in the fashion sector are likely to find implementing DPPs a challenge,” says Lawler. Behrenfeldt said that sourcing this type of information can be “difficult” for many fashion brands. She added that the sourcing of this data will be “the easy part” for many brands and that finding a way to share and store the information will be trickier. “There’s a lot of work that can be done, but the common denominator is the data and you’ll need to have a solid plan in place,” says Behrenfeldt.

Are any companies already using DPPs? Lawler found the following, “In September 2023, clothing brand Nobody’s Child added DPPs, in the form of unique QR codes, to each of its product’s care labels. Clothing with the DPPs is already available through UK retailers M&S, ASOS and John Lewis. This offers consumers the possibility to trace their garments through incentivized gifts, and a unique NFT offered in collaboration with Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. The partnership enables Nobody’s Child to connect to their customers using Web3 technology. Users will be able to store the Nobody’s Child DPPs NFT within a Coinbase digital wallet.”

How will fashion consumers use DPPs? With information on how products can be recycled, repaired and reused, Lawler notes that DPPs could help fashion consumers make more informed choices and move toward circular models. Behrenfeldt explained that there are likely to be two broad groups of consumers – those who are not particularly interested in the information provided via DPPs and those who use the detail to shape their purchasing choices. “The information provided by DPPs could be hugely beneficial to the growing resale fashion market, giving consumers information about a garment – including how to care for it, how to dispose of it – even after it has changed hands several times,” says Lawler.

Will countries outside of the EU adopt DPPs? “Fashion is a global industry,” Behrenfeldt explained. “It’s not like food and beverages, which is quite local – fashion is the opposite.” Lawler says that even if other countries do not adopt DPPs, it’s likely that the requirement for them in the EU will impact the global sector and consumers outside the EU will find the codes or tags on their clothing – and expect to be able to use them too.

Are there any benefits to adopting DPPs? Behrenfeldt explained that DPPs offer fashion brands another chance to connect with their consumers “on an emotional level”. “Consumers have so many options. You want to make sure they are loyal.” She added that DPPs could be a way to inspire this, sharing detailed information about a product’s origins – even including pictures of where the materials were grown or the products made.

What should fashion brands do now to ensure they are on track for Digital Product Passport rollout? Behrenfeldt believes that it is now time for the apparel sector to take action to ensure they have the right tools in place. Lawler notes that brands will need to decide how they plan to share their DPPs with consumers – such as through a QR code or website link – and how they plan to present the data to users. “It all comes down to one thing – data,” said Behrenfeldt. “And you need to have a plan for that.”


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