The world of Smart Packaging will not be the same after the AIPIA Congress 2022. The Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) held the first face-to-face version of its main international event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, after the storm caused in the businesses around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And, right from the start, the event brought up the important concept of the Digital Product Passport, whose acronym DPP is and will be present in all conversations about Smart Packaging from now on.
The DPP concept reinforces Smart Packaging as a set of tools that integrate global technological solutions for tracking, authenticity, sustainability and customer experience, which enables the delivery of the long-awaited – and now demanded – Circular Economy, by 2050.” Required” because the European Union has established a calendar for adapting products to the new DPP rules and a deadline for reaching the mandatory status of “circulation” through production lines.
The growing attention and concerns with the degradation of the environment, which impose the reduction of material discards and their reuse by the processing and production lines, are turning to the world of Smart Packaging technologies. With that, GS1, the global organization responsible for the standardization of product serialization codes, and Avery Dennison, a company that has the atma.io platform in its portfolio, were the main standard bearers of the DPP concept at the AIPIA Congress 2022.
If, on the one hand, GS1 announced together with the new DPP rules, established by the European Union (EU), that the replacement of Barcodes by 2D Codes, such as Datamatrix and QR-Codes, is happening gradually and irreversibly, the Avery Dennison has staked his chips on the atma.io digital enterprise and its cloud of connected products to serve as the basis for sustainable connections between every item, company and human being, in this new world business scenario.
Sincpress and exports to the EU
In a third way, the first smart packaging center in the Southern Hemisphere, Sincpress, reinforced its early vision of collaboration by creating conditions, disseminating ideas and implementing Circular Economy solutions in a pioneering way in Brazil. The participation of the Brazilian organization in the AIPIA Congress event takes another step towards aligning the country towards the future, in the same week that the 27th Climate Conference, of the United Nations (UN), COP 27, takes place in Egypt, with authorities and leaders from all over the World.
Thus, if Sincpress occupies until today an exclusive position as a center of innovation in Smart Packaging, from now on it would not surprise me if it is elevated to a center of excellence in international business strategy. Because, since the concept of Smart Packaging is embedded in the Digital Product Passport and DPP itself will immediately impact Brazilian exports to the European Union – one of the three largest international markets to Brazil with China and the United States – Sincpress could naturally be listed as a Brazilian export aid agent. Am I right? (reply via email: [email protected])
It is also worth remembering that Sincpress played a decisive role in the development of brilliant projects in Smart Packaging, such as that of HP Brasil, which received the Automation Award last week, granted by the Brazilian subsidiary of GS1, also known in Tupiniquim territory as Brazilian Automation Association. The Harpia trophy went to HP’s Smarter Packaging project, with which the company’s customers can be completely sure that they are purchasing original products and that they will also be able to dispose of and recycle them correctly through practices developed by HP Brasil in partnership with o Sincpress (read more at HP Smart Packaging wins GS1 Brazil Automation Award). Within the HP Smarter Packaging project, each ink cartridge gains a unique identity through QR Codes and radio frequency identification (RFID) labels.
Paula Valerio, main executive at Sincpress and who was at the AIPIA Congress too, declared: “we offer smart solutions to guarantee safety and credibility to customers, through cutting-edge packaging technology, guided by user experience and responsibility towards the environment”. And she added: “we are leading a movement to transform packaging from a product wrapper to a services support solution”.
Birth of the DPP in the European Union
GS1 opened its participation in the AIPIA Congress by welcoming the proposal for the regulation of sustainable products adopted on March 30, 2022, by the European Commission and which was launched under the Green Deal of the European Union (EU), setting the objective of making the economic bloc in the first climate-neutral region by 2050.
The draft regulation includes the Digital Product Passport (DPP), a new concept that GS1 Europe has been proactively engaging with over the past two years. Only certain sectors, such as food, feed and medicine, are exempt. The DPP, however, applies to any physical good, including components and intermediate products, placed on the EU market, or put into service.
The regulation prohibits, for example, the destruction of unsold consumer products and establishes mandatory green public procurement criteria. The general objective of the proposal is to reduce the environmental impacts of the life cycle of products through efficient digital solutions and also to enable the objectives of the EU industrial policy, such as increasing the demand for sustainable products and supporting their production.
The regulation establishes new duties and rights for manufacturers, importers and distributors, resellers, repairers, “remanufacturers”, recyclers, maintenance professionals, customers, end users, consumers, national authorities, public interest organizations, the EU Commission or any organization that act on their behalf. The Commission also adopted the Circular and Sustainable Textile Strategy and the revision of the Construction Products Regulation.
DPP or Digital Product Passport Warranties
The fact that products have a passport is nothing new, and it’s definitely not new at the GS1. The real change is that this is happening through legislation and leveraging green and digital transformations. The regulation refers to the DPP as a set of product-specific data that includes that specified in the delegated act and that must be accessible electronically through a data medium, which resembles everything that proposes the basic concept of Smart Packaging.
Thus, the digital product passport (DPP) must ensure that actors along the value chain, including consumers, economic operators and competent national authorities, can access information about products. And, still, improve traceability along the value chain; facilitate verification of compliance by competent national authorities; and include the necessary data attributes to allow tracking of all “substances of concern” throughout the lifecycle of covered products.
For GS1, it is important to note that DPPs must be fully interoperable with other product passports across all product groups, including with respect to the technical, semantic and organizational aspects of interoperability, enabling end-to-end communication and transfer of Dice. “The product passport has to be an enabler of interoperability and also a necessary element to place products on the EU market under the conformity assessment procedure,” said Jan Merckx, Sustainability Leader at GS1 Europe.
Additionally, the regulation clarifies that consumers, economic operators and other relevant actors must have free access to the DPP. Thus, Smart Packaging is ceasing to be a choice, and becoming an obligation for the good of all.
During the next few days, other news and information about the AIPIA Congress 2022 will be published by the IoP Journal.
Edson Perin is founder and editor of IoP Journal and Netpress Books