A sustainable future: Using blockchain for digital product passports – Ledger Insights


This is a guest opinion post from doctor phil brown since circularizewhere he is VP of Business Development and Strategy

The world is in crisis as the growing world population has pushed the limits of what our planet can sustainable offer and renewal. If we don’t think about sustainability, the ability to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, we risk depleting valuable resources, irreparably damaging our environment, and jeopardizing our own future. In addition to the changing attitudes of consumers and forward-thinking businesses, here are also some of the relevant regulations coming into force:

  • Construction Products Regulation: proposed in 2022
  • EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles: implemented in 2022
  • EU Ecodesign for sustainable products: first adoption in 2024
  • Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): to be implemented in 2024
  • New EU Battery Regulation: to be implemented in 2026
  • Critical Raw Materials Law: first drafts for the first quarter of 2023

There are also major updates to a number of existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) directives and other directives where traceability is a key focus area, such as:

  • Directive on packaging and packaging waste
  • End of Life Vehicle Directive
  • Electrical and electronic equipment (AEE) and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
  • Conflict Minerals Regulations: to be reviewed in 2023

We can no longer ignore the pressing issues at hand. Our ability to achieve sustainability depends significantly on our ability to work together to reduce waste and environmental impacts, maximize efficiency, and also ensure ethical practices that do not infringe on the rights of other human beings, the earth or natural ecosystems, and the biosphere. .

Blockchain and Digital Product Passports could play an important role in creating a more sustainable future. Together, they offer a compelling solution to add more visibility, trust, and insight into complex material flows within global supply chains. But how would they work together?

Your passport is a state-issued document that allows you to travel to and return to your home country. It contains a lot of personal information about you and your country of birth, the visas you need to travel, and keeps track of all the countries you have visited.

Similarly, digital product passports also contain a variety of information to track products throughout their entire life cycle, from production to end-of-life disposal. This information can be used to ensure adequate sourcing of materials, monitor sustainable manufacturing practices, and facilitate the extension of product life. At the end of use, a digital product passport is invaluable for product disposal to increase material recovery efficiency and reduce waste. Digital Product Passports can also be used to engage with or reward stakeholders and customers for their sustainable practices and behaviours.

Blockchain technology is already being used in many industries to improve transparency and traceability, showing immense potential to speed up the transition to a circular economy. Due to the decentralized nature of public blockchains, unauthorized access and manipulation of the data is impossible, making them highly trustworthy and trustworthy. But because all transactions are visible to everyone on the network, this creates a lack of privacy that can be a major concern and barrier for companies that want to keep certain information confidential and secure, such as sensitive data related to the composition of materials or products. However, these are sometimes the exact data needed to facilitate circular innovation and recovery strategies.

Fortunately, methods to protect data privacy have been developed and are already used in commercial applications. Data can be kept confidential with zero-knowledge proofs or using smart contracts to securely reference data off-chain. Other cryptographic strategies, such as ring signatures, homomorphic encryption, and public key cryptography, can also be used to ensure that only the intended recipient can access the specific data set when needed.


  1. Digital product passports offer a transparent way to track and manage product information, allowing governments, regulators, businesses and consumers to identify and verify the quality and origin of products.
  2. Creating digital product passports on public blockchain technology provides immutable records of ownership, origin, and use, increasing trust and transparency in complicated supply chains.
  3. Zero-knowledge proofs, smart contracts, and other cryptographic strategies can be used to protect data privacy, enabling transparency and trust without revealing sensitive data.

Digital product passports will undoubtedly become the norm in the coming years, just as sustainability has become essential for long-term success. Companies that focus on sustainability can reduce operating costs, improve operations, and reduce inefficiencies. At the same time, they can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, boost brand reputation, and take advantage of the growing demand for sustainable products.

Creating a digital product passport requires dedication, planning, analysis, and collaboration to ensure that all relevant information is accurately captured and stored. The work does not end with its implementation. It will also need to be continually monitored, analyzed, and audited to identify any issues that need to be addressed, such as outdated or inefficient processes.

Making and implementing digital product passport systems that work will be the first step in an innovation journey that will create new, interconnected ways of working. The full benefits of digital product passports will only be realized once they are scalable and interoperable across multiple value chains. The data and insights contained in digital product passports can be used to inform material selection challenges, product design briefs, and circular business models. In turn, these can facilitate customer interactions to promote sufficiency, product life extension, and return operations to facilitate end-of-life recovery.

This is how we make the vision of the circular economy a reality so that materials and products flow from one end to the other and vice versa through multiple use and reuse loops. However, technological solutions alone will not generate all of these potential benefits; it is also necessary to change the mindset about how, what, when and with whom to share data. That is why we are working to constantly advance practical examples of what is possible by combining the digital transition with circular innovation and supply chain operations.

circularize supports companies in their transition towards circularity. Our state-of-the-art solutions protect the privacy of your data and give your business a competitive advantage. Sustainability can be an achievable but profitable goal for your business as it grows.