Nov 20, 2023

How can NFC tech add value to the Digital Product Passport?

On Wednesday 5 December, NFC Forum is hosting a webinar that brings experts together to discuss how NFC tech can be leveraged to amplify the Digital Product Passport. Want to know more? Here we share some background to this crucial sustainability initiative.

What is a Digital Product Passport (DPP)?

The DPP is a tool for storing product information related to sustainability, circularity and value retention to allow a product to be successfully re-used, remanufactured, and recycled. 

The initial information designs being considered for DPP data are centered around cloud-based systems. Data carriers, as they are known, are unique links from products to a DPP that can be implemented as QR codes or NFC tags.

In the same way you can read a restaurant menu or tap a business card, anyone could access a DPP stored in the cloud through these familiar interfaces.

What is the objective of the DPP?

By ensuring relevant parties can access information on how a product and its components can be recycled and remanufactured, the DPP optimizes and extends product (and component) usages, provides new opportunities to extract and re-use valuable materials, and supports various stakeholders to verify sustainability compliance.

The approach, while pioneered in the European Union (EU), is expected to become the information backbone of the global circular economy; an ambition to drive sustainable consumption which minimizes waste and keeps resources in an economy for as long as possible.

What is the status of the DPP?

Activity is moving quickly.

ISO 59040  has been published to provide a global methodology for improving the accuracy and completeness of circular economy related information based on the usage of a Product Circularity Data Sheet when acquiring or supplying products. It is applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and nature.

Vitally, it offers a globalized open-source industry standard to allow the exchange of data throughout the supply cycle. This international standard will form the basis for industry standards going forward. 

In parallel, CIRPASS is laying the groundwork to pilot and deploy EU DPP programs across electronics, battery, and textile value chains. Funded by the EU, it brings a host of stakeholders together to define the necessary competencies required to make DPP a large-scale reality. This includes consensus on the main requirements for the DPP systems, and defining cross-sectoral product data models and DPP systems.

When will DPP go live?

It is expected that the EU will announce legislation in 2024 introducing digital product passports in electronics, batteries, and textiles, which would come into focus in 2026-27. This would give businesses time to prepare.

Legislation in the EU would follow for other industries as Europe works to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

With sustainability and climate change a key global priority for society, governments and businesses, other regions are expected to follow this precedent.

What role can NFC technology play?

NFC tags can act as the data carrier to link products with their online DPP data. For manufacturers, NFC tags are robust, have a strong attachment rate and hard to deface. This increases the likelihood that DPP information remains available throughout a products lifecycle.

Longer-term, in addition to supporting the direct access to online DPP data, NFC tags and NFC chipsets could also store data offline by permanently embedding all the DPP data directly into a product.

The benefits of embedding DPP data on a product are significant. For example, embedded NFC chips are designed to function for the entire service life of a product, whereas care labels and instruction manuals are discarded with first use, which could disconnect a product from the circular economy instantly.

Embedded data can also be used to validate the integrity of an online DPP, and data can be accessed even if a reader is offline.

Vitally, embedded DPP data offers a transparent and accessible chain of custody throughout a product’s lifecycle to differentiate between authentic and counterfeit products.

What is the cost of using NFC technology for DPPs?

Using NFC for DPP is optimizing a familiar, known and trusted technology already in billions of devices, which is key to achieving sustainability. 

Hundreds of millions of products each year already ship with NFC technology embedded, so adding DPP functionality would be a near-zero cost approach towards achieving global sustainability goals and expected future governmental regulations.

Want to learn more?

Join our webinar The Circular Economy Redefined - NFC & the Digital Product Passport on Wednesday 5 December. Register now.


Our expert panel includes leaders and influencers from various ecosystem players in the NFC and Sustainability industries. Each panellist will provide an overview of their organization's work in the DPP space and participate in a group panel discussion.

  • Dr. Susanne Guth-Orlowski – Technical Advisor, Global Battery Alliance and Managing Director,
  • Kamila Kocia – Market Development Manager - Digital Solutions, Avery Dennison and CIRPASS
  • Dr Jeannot Schroeder – Co-Founder, PositiveImpaKT
  • Preeti Ohri Khemani – Infineon Technologies and Chair of NFC Forum
  • Pierre Muller – RFID Business Unit Manager, EM Microelectronic-Marin
  • Mike McCamon – Executive Director, NFC Forum