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Redefining Sustainability: The Power of Digital Product Passports

The (un)Trustables Podcast Episode 3

Written by Christine Martin

February 20, 2024

We welcomed Dr. Susanne Guth-Orlowski to the show in the most recent installment of the (un)Trustables podcast. Renowned as a trusted advisor to the Global Battery Alliance and the European Commission on Digital Product Passports (DPPs), Dr. Guth-Orlowski’s expertise is expansive and influential.

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The Genesis of Digital Product Passports

Our discussion began with the origin of DPPs, where Dr. Guth-Orlowski clarified her significant role in shaping its decentralized implementation. She explained that the term originated from the European Commission, particularly in their battery regulation, marking a turning point in how products are managed in the EU market​.

Decentralization: A Key to Effective DPPs

One of the highlights of the conversation was the European Commission’s decision to adopt a decentralized approach to DPPs. Dr. Guth-Orlowski emphasized this as a crucial aspect, allowing for greater control and inclusivity, a departure from the traditional centralization tendencies​​.

Digital Product Passports and Sustainability

Dr. Guth-Orlowski shared her insights on how DPPs intersect with sustainability efforts. She stressed the need for quality data to support ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices, especially given the varying perceptions of ESG in different regions​​.

We want to make the ESG scoring transparent, so that you understand what are the actual indicators going into such an ESG score or some kind of quality seal. And the second, where does the data come from and is it trusted? And then around that, you can build up an entire governance model.

Dr. Susanne Guth-Orlowski, Technical Advisor of the Global Battery Alliance and the European Commission on Digital Product Passports

Technology’s Role in Sustainable Practices

A significant part of our discussion revolved around the role of technology, particularly blockchain, in implementing DPPs. Dr. Guth-Orlowski weighed in on the challenges and complexities of using blockchain, advocating for simpler solutions like decentralized identities​​.

Facing Compliance Challenges Head-on

The conversation also touched on the growing complexities and costs of regulatory compliance. Dr. Guth-Orlowski underscored the importance of balancing production with reporting requirements to prevent overburdening companies​​.

The Future of Standards and Scores in Sustainability

Looking forward, we explored the adoption of various standards and scoring systems in sustainable practices. Dr. Guth-Orlowski highlighted the need for fast, reliable decision-making tools and the potential role of scores in simplifying these processes​​.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Susanne Guth-Orlowski’s insights provide a glimpse into the technical world of digital product passports and illuminate their broader impact on sustainability and regulatory compliance. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the intersection of technology and environmental responsibility.

Additional Resources:

Listen to the full episode here, and join us in our journey to uncover the potential of digital innovations in creating a sustainable future. 

Subscribe to the (un)Trustables Podcast for updates on upcoming episodes. Follow us on X, Linkedin and YouTube for the latest news and discussions on digital trust and transformation. Stay digitally empowered!

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