EU Digital Product Passport for textiles: empowering sustainability in the fashion industry

product passport for textiles

Table of Contents

What is the EU Product Passport for textiles?

An EU Digital Product Passport for apparel and textiles is a tool that provides comprehensive information about a textile product’s environmental sustainability.

It goes beyond traditional product labels and includes details such as the product’s composition, origin, footprint, repair, maintenance, and recycling instructions.

The digital passport is connected to a unique product identifier (like a GTIN) and physically present on the product with a data carrier such as a QR code, allowing consumers and stakeholders to access the information easily.

The implementation of product passports for textiles is part of the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, introduced by the European Commission.

We have lived until now in a linear textile economy whose principles are “take,” “make,” “use,” and “throw away.” It’s time to move to a circular economy model that addresses the final stages of the textile product’s lifecycle with a “reuse,” “repurpose,” and “recycle” approach, supported by a sustainable products regulation.

The textile industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, it’s the fourth sector with the highest impact on climate change after food, housing, and transport.

It’s not by chance, then, that textiles, together with batteries and construction materials, have been selected by the European Union among the first products to comply with the EU Digital Product Passport (DPP) regulations.

The EU strategy aims to promote transparency, sustainability, and responsible consumption in the apparel industry. The Digital Product Passport plays a crucial role in achieving these goals by providing a comprehensive overview of a product’s life cycle and sustainability credentials.

Textiles and apparel sustainability

Consider a consumer who is looking to purchase a new pair of jeans. With a Digital Product Passport, they can access information about the materials used, such as organic cotton or recycled denim, and the manufacturing processes involved, such as water-saving techniques or ethical labor practices.

The passport may also provide details about the brand’s commitment to sustainability and certifications obtained, such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or Fair Trade. By having access to this information, consumers can make more informed buying decisions that align with their values and support brands that prioritize sustainability.

Textiles and apparel sustainability

Supply chain transparency

The benefits of digital product passports extend beyond consumer empowerment and environmental impacts. They also promote transparency throughout the supply chain, enabling stakeholders to identify sustainable practices and address potential issues.

These passports facilitate responsible sourcing and production by providing visibility into the origins of the raw materials and the manufacturing processes.

This transparency is crucial for building consumer trust and fostering a culture of accountability within the industry.

Importance of product traceability in the textile industry

Product traceability is important for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain, enabling stakeholders to track the journey of a product from its origin to the end consumer and beyond.

This transparency helps build consumer trust and confidence in textile products, as they can verify the authenticity and sustainability claims made by brands.

For instance, let’s consider a consumer who is concerned about the environmental impact of the clothes they purchase. With the help of a Digital Product Passport, they can trace the entire supply chain of a garment and gather information about the materials used, the manufacturing processes involved, and even the certifications obtained.

Moreover, product traceability is crucial for verifying compliance with legal obligations and sustainability standards.

By using data protocol providing a record of the product’s journey, product passports enable authorities to monitor and enforce regulations related to environmental impact, labor practices, and product safety.

This protects consumers and ensures that textile products meet the required certifications and regulations.

In addition, product traceability enables the identification of sustainable practices, such as responsible sourcing and production.

By using transparency data and having visibility into the origins of materials and the manufacturing processes, stakeholders can assess textile products’ environmental and social impact. This information is invaluable for making informed decisions and driving positive change in the industry.

Supply chain transparency

Benefits of using a Digital Product Passport

Product passports offer numerous benefits for both consumers and the industry as a whole. Firstly, they improve transparency throughout the supply and value chain.

Product passports enable stakeholders to identify sustainable practices and address potential issues such as unethical sourcing or environmental impact by providing detailed information about the product’s materials, manufacturing processes, carbon emissions, and supply and textile value chain partners.

For example, let’s consider a fashion brand that wants to promote transparency and sustainability in its supply chain.

By implementing the Digital Product Passport, the brand can provide consumers with detailed information about the materials used, the production methods employed, and even the certifications obtained. This level of transparency benefits consumers and supports brands that prioritize sustainability.

Secondly, product passports contribute to the reduction of waste. By promoting efficient recycling and upcycling processes, they facilitate the transition to a circular economy and help minimize the environmental footprint of the entire industry.

By providing information about a product’s recyclability and end-of-life options, product passports empower shoppers to make environmentally conscious and sustainable choices.

For instance, consider a consumer who wants to purchase a sustainable and eco-friendly sweater. With a digital product passport, they can access information about the materials used, such as organic wool or recycled fibers, and the end-of-life options, such as compostability or recycling.

Armed with this information, consumers can choose products that align with their values and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Additionally, product passports enhance product safety and quality by helping combat counterfeiting. The unique identifier linked to the passport ensures that customers are purchasing authentic items, strengthening brand trust and reputation.

Benefits of using a Digital Product Passport

Examples of Digital Product Passport initiatives in the textile industry

Several initiatives and pilot projects have been undertaken to implement the Digital Product Passport in the textile industry.

For example, the Trace4Value pilot project in Sweden is one such initiative that aims to promote sustainability and transparency in line with the EU’s strategy.

This project includes participation from institutions like the SIS Swedish Institute for Standards and fashion brands like Marimekko and Kappahl, who are testing product passports on select products. By participating in this pilot project, these brands are proactively promoting transparency and sustainability in their supply chains.

The implementation of product passports requires collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders, including national authorities, brands, manufacturers, and technology providers like Digital Link.

By working together, the industry can overcome the challenges associated with implementation and leverage the benefits of the Digital Product Passport to drive positive change in the textile industry.

Implementing product passports

Implementing product passports faces certain challenges. Standardizing data collection and recording methods across the industry is essential to ensure consistency and comparability of information.

Achieving industry-wide adoption and coordinating efforts are also key challenges that need to be addressed.

Furthermore, the implementation timeline for the passport is uncertain due to delays in the regulatory process and the need for a new data unified system. We will update this guide as new details are released.

Implementing product passports

Textile passport requirements and regulatory information

Core criteria for a product passport, as per the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, will include:

  • A link with a data carrier (i.e., a QR code) and a distinct identifier for the product.
  • The carrier should be visible on the product or its container.
  • Adherence to the ISO 15459:2015 standard for the data carrier.
  • All passport data should be based on open standards and be machine readable.

As we write, these are the main relevant information that will have to be made available through a product passport:

  • Product details: The passport will list key product specifics, with essential details like its unique tag, brand, model, and summary.
  • Supply chain info: The passport will map out the garment’s manufacturing process, listing all parties and their roles.
  • Material facts: The passport will outline the elements that make up the product, their nature, source, and environmental effects. This could also touch upon any eco-friendly components or potential hazards.
  • Energy consumption: The passport will list efficiency ratings, consumption data, and related environmental factors.
  • Product’s lifecycle details: The passport will provide a full account of the product’s journey, from creation to disposal, helping in environmental analysis.
  • Repair and longevity: The passport will offer insights into the product’s lifespan, repair options, and parts availability, aiding in assessing its durability.
  • Recycling instructions: The passport will guide the product’s recyclability, breaking down instructions for its disassembly and proper disposal supporting waste reduction.
  • Recognitions and badges: The passport will showcase any associated environmental or sustainability certifications that certify circular products and sustainable products.

Accessing and using product passports

Accessing and using product passports is a straightforward process for consumers.

For example, imagine a consumer who wants to purchase a new pair of sneakers. By scanning the digital link QR bar code on the product, they can access information about the materials used, such as recycled polyester or vegan leather, the manufacturing processes involved, such as water-saving techniques or ethical labor practices, and even the certifications obtained, such as bluesign® or OEKO-TEX®.

Armed with this information, consumers can make informed purchasing decisions based on the product’s environmental impact and sustainability credentials.

Adoption of product passports by fashion brands

Fashion companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of product passports to stay competitive in the EU market.

By bringing garments online through technologies such as digital link QR codes, brands can verify compliance with global regulations about sustainable and circular textiles. At the same time, the textile sector can unlock new business opportunities through stronger connections with shoppers.

In fact, the adoption of product passports goes beyond transparency and sustainability. Connected garments not only provide transparency but also allow brands to personalize the customer experience, collect feedback, and respond to changing consumer tastes.

By leveraging the data collected through the passports, apparel makers can gain insights into consumer preferences and tailor their offerings accordingly. This creates a more personalized and engaging experience for consumers, fostering brand loyalty and long-term relationships.

Product passports can become a competitive advantage for fashion companies to stay relevant and meet consumer expectations.

Adoption of product passports by fashion brands


The introduction of digital product passports for apparel and textiles has the power to transform the industry and drive positive change.

The key to turning what might look like a big challenge into a huge opportunity is to start experimenting with digital links and product passport pages today.

Our team of market experts and legal counselors can guide you and design the ideal roadmap to implementation for your business: do not hesitate to get in touch!

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