The upcoming requirement of a Digital Product Passport (DPP) – a possibility rather than a burden
The long-awaited EU regulation: Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR); will once enacted require a lot of products on the European market to have a Digital Product Passport (DPP).
Our client through the last decades, Vestre AS, has since the very start of the company’s 75- year lifespan focused on climate-friendly and sustainable production of their design furniture. The newest example of specific contributions developed from this focus is the new Digital Product Passport (DPP), which Vestre has developed together with Empower.eco.
The DPP is a perfect example of how to be in front of the development of eco-friendly production. Soon, most manufacturers and other companies within the production sector will have to adhere.
The ESPR builds upon the existing Ecodesign Directive, and will replace the eco-design regulation, which has been in effect in Norway since 2011.
Promotes eco-friendly products
The ESPR sets out minimum standards for the energy efficiency and environmental performance of products.
ESPR is a set of regulations that apply to a wide range of products, including household appliances, lighting products, and industrial equipment. The goal of the regulation is to promote the design of products that are:
- have low environmental impacts,
- are safe for consumers.
Making it easier for consumers
One of the main requirements of the ESPR is the energy labeling of products. The labeling system provides information on the energy efficiency of products, making it easier for consumers to choose products that use less energy and emit less greenhouse gases.
The labeling system is mandatory for the covered products sold in Norway, and failure to comply can result in fines, or even removal of the product from the market.
Thus, the adhering of the ESPR may serve several purposes at once. For example, the Norwegian Transparency Act requires companies to be transparent of several factors related to the production. For now, this does not include the sustainability in the production. However, the expected implementation of the coming corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD), will broaden the scope of the due diligence process compared to what we are familiar with from the Norwegian Transparency Act; while the obligations of the Transparency Act solely relates to human rights and decent working conditions, the CSDDD includes both human rights, including decent working conditions and the environment.
The current discussion in Norway is what to do when the CSDDD has to be implemented in Norway; either to keep the Transparency Act and implement the additional regulations in the CSDDD, or replace the Transparency Act with a new act that implements the CSDDD. A DPP stating the exact sustainability footprint of the product with the production line can therefore be used as part of the reporting when sustainability is introduced as an additional required area of reporting, as well as serving as documentation for adhering to the requirements to document any marketing related to the sustainability of the products under the Unfair Competition Act and the Marketing Act.
Possibilities, rather than a burden
From an Intellectual Property perspective, the DPP creates possibilities for added value. The DPP might serve other purposes than simply complying with the ESPR and other obligations under the law. The DPP can function as a marketing tool for the brand, as well as to fight counterfeit-products. All of which strengthens a company’s rights in relevant markets.
If the ESPR had included a requirement of stating the name of the designers and any registered IP-rights to the product, it would have been even better. The counterfeit market is a huge threat to companies focusing on the sustainability and eco-friendly production.
Some other noteworthy benefits from the new regulations include:
- The ESPR sets energy efficiency standards and restricts hazardous substances, benefiting the environment and human health. It promotes energy-efficient products and reduces the use of harmful substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium.
- The Ecodesign Directive has increased availability of energy-efficient options, aiding consumer choices. It has also encouraged sustainable product design, reducing environmental impact throughout the life cycle.
- Notably, the directive has contributed to a significant reduction of 1.7 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year in EU greenhouse gas emissions.
Act now, soon you will reap the benefits
In conclusion, the ESPR aims to making it easier for consumers to make environmentally friendly choices, and it will soon be a reality, and manufacturers should begin to adapt sooner rather than later. We are sure that Vestre’s commitment to sustainable development and its new DDP serves as inspiration to many and is an example to follow for other companies and shows that relatively small actions can make a big difference in the fight against climate change.
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