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DPP:s two forgotten aspects: Authenticity and ripple effects through the supply chain

As we delve into the space of digital product passports (DPP), we increasingly realise that there are two aspects that seem to be overlooked by many:

  1. DPP is NOT a "consumer thing" only

  2. The need for product authentication to build confidence in the data


DPP is NOT a "consumer thing" only

As we spoke at the GS1 Summit in Brussels earlier this spring, we were flattered by the positive feedback we got, but also surprised by one aspect of it. "You're the only ones talking about the business-to-business aspect of DPP" we were told

"Are you serious?" we thought. Haven't others realised that to providing a digital product passport to a consumer is just the final step of a long supply chain of data, parallell with the supply chain to produce the physical product?

Maybe it's because of our long experience in manufacturing and supply chain, but to us it is self-evident. How will the company selling the item to a consumer be able to provide a complete digital passport for that product if it's not "assembled" in parallel with the assembly of the actual product?


  • DPP will impact on choices of suppliers, raw materials, and logistics services. Maybe not immediately, but over time.

  • Purchasing and design systems will need to integrate DPP data to facilitate making such choices.

  • Contracts will need to take the continuous supply of up-to-date, valid and certified DPP data into account.

  • The demand for DPP data will ripple back through the entire production and supply chain, all the way back to mines, extraction, forestry, and cotton fields.

  • And so on.


Digital Product Passports will change how products are produced and distributed, how business is made – all over the world.


The other "forgotten aspect of digital product passports" is unrelated, but not unimportant...


The need for product authentication to build confidence in the data

According to EUIPO and EUROPOL, 1 in 20 products sold in the European Union is counterfeit or fake. At least. 5% of all imports into the EU are fake/counterfeit, plus whatever fakes are produced within the Union.


If they fake the product, you can be sure they will fake the QR code used to retrieve the DPP. Which, of course, will render the data presented completely useless. You get the data for the original product but the item in front of you is something else completely. It just looks like the real thing.


But if you look beyond that surface, you'll find:

  • Cheaper and uncontrolled raw materials.

  • Maybe allergenic, carcinogenic or harmful in other ways.

  • Not to be recycled or disposed of as the DPP tells you to.

  • Different composition and construction, rendering the reparation information useless.

  • Often produced in sweatshops, maybe by child labour or forced labour, whatever any certificates the DPP tells you have been issued for the product indicate.

  • Maybe contributing to deforestation, irrespective of what the certificate says.

  • And the total environmental impact is definitely not the same as for the original. To the worse, we can assume.


Will you be satisfied with being able to rely on DPP's only 19 times out of 20, at best? We won't.


Therefore, we propagate that product authentication is integrated into the DPP retrieval process:

  1. Is it Authentic?

  2. If Yes, retrieve DPP.

  3. If No, alert User that it's a fake.


Isn't it great that there are solutions available to make product authentication easy?

Talk to us, we know all about it. And we're into DPP too!


As we delve into the space of digital product passports (DPP), we increasingly realise that there are two aspects that seem to be overlooked by many: DPP is NOT a "consumer thing" only The need for product authentication to build confidence in the data
DPP effects ripple back through the entire supply chain. Back to extraction, mines, forestry and cotton fields.

Image by Paket on iStock

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