Passport for a sustainable European electronics supply chain
A consortium is developing passport technology for sustainable supply chain for electronic equipment.
The €2m CIRPASS project (Collaborative Standardization of a European Digital Product Passport for Stakeholder-Specific Sharing of Product Data for a Circular Economy) is developing a passport system for supply chain legislation that comes into force in 2026.
No final decision has yet been made about the range of information that will be contained in the product passports, but the European Commission introduced the idea of a standardised digital product passport for the upcoming legislation The aim is for the proposed passports, supported by EU regulations, to make all product information available along the entire value chain and easily accessible for example by QR code.
Eduard Wagner and his team at Fraunhofer IZM are currently surveying which types of information are already covered by current legal requirements and which additional information could be contained on a digital product passport. The aim is to provide an information architecture that determines which types of information have added value for which actors in the value chain and at what cost this information could be provided.
For example a reparability scale that shows how easily a product is to repair has been required in France since 2021 and might be a good inclusion in the digital, pan-European product passport.
“Information about energy efficiency is already required, but this information still has to be prepared on a case-by-case basis, and there are no universal European disclosure requirements for other types of circularity related information. Meaningful standardization here is one of the top goals of the product passport. Imagine we could compare the durability of all t-shirts in the EU between each other,“ says Wagner.
For the first supply chain product passports to be ready by 2026, many actors still need to be brought on board and a consensus be found for which information is most relevant.
“Our project has identified 23 groups of stakeholders that we are including in our survey of requirements, in all three sectors,” said Wagner. “We have suppliers of materials, manufacturers of electronics, and representatives of repair and recycling associations with us.”
The results of these consultations will go to the European Commission to act as pointers for the political process en route to new legal requirements for the product passport. Small to medium-sized enterprises are given special attention and support in this, as providing the required information can mean a considerable effort on their part.
The CIRPASS project is managed by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Research Commission (CEA) and brings together project partners from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, SLR Consulting, the Wuppertal Institute, Chalmers Industriteknik, DKE, GTS, +ImpaKT, F6S, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (GEIE ERCIM), E Circular Aps, GS1 in Europe, Politecnico Milano, circular.fashion, DIGITALEUROPE, EIT InnoEnergy, the TU Delft, TalTech, Veltha, energy web, BAM, Sync Force, the Innovalia Association, Textile Exchange, the Responsible Business Alliance, Wordline Mint, the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, iPoint, the Global Electronics Council (GEC), atma.io, and the Global Battery Alliance (GBA).