Digital tools can play an important role in accelerating the shift to a circular economy. Digital tools can increase transparency along value chains and provide information, which in turn can help to extend the lifecycle of products.
Digital Product Passports (DPPs), for example, can inform consumers and businesses about products, materials, the conditions under which they are produced and their sustainability performance. This in turn can enable more responsible consumption and production choices and promote circular business models.
In the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and beyond, several countries are currently introducing DPPs in their legislation to facilitate access to reliable product data. This is part of a broader trend, especially in advanced economies, where digital and green transformations are supported by a regulatory and policy framework.
The ECE has taken important steps to advance traceability and transparency in global value chains. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), a subsidiary body of ECE, has produced recommendations, standards and global pilots. UN/CEFACT data models and standards can support the development of DPPs by providing the respective standardised data structures supporting interoperable exchanges.
This publication (ECE/TRADE/481) describes
- why ECE-UN/CEFACT standards and tools are ideally suited to support DPP development;
- explains which current and forthcoming ECE-UN/CEFACT standards and tools can assist in the development of DPPs, notably the traceability and transparency standards; and
- provides specific recommendations on how ECE-UN/CEFACT standards and tools could be further developed to support the adoption of DPPs.
This paper supports the outcomes of the seventieth Commission session on Digital and Green Transformations for Sustainable Development in the Region of the Economic Commission for Europe (E/ECE/1504) and is part of the ECE Sustainability Pledge initiative for sustainable value chains in critical sectors for the circular economy.