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Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

12 July 2022 - Bjørn Kjetil Mauritzen, Hydro’s head of sustainability argues how a Digital Products Passport can be a key enabler to scale up circular economy in Europe.

Our planetary boundaries mean we must use what we have, use our products for longer and re-use them more often. We welcome the ambitions of the European Union in this area and are delighted to see an ambitious Circular Economy Package published in March 2022.

A Digital Product Passport (DPP) will form a key regulatory element of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, introduced as part of the Circular Economy Package. It will do this by enhancing the traceability of products and their components, providing consumers and manufacturers with the information to make better informed purchasing decisions by taking products’ environmental impact into consideration. 

The European Commission highlighted the importance of the ‘twin transition’ of Green and Digital. A DPP can be a key enhancer of a European Circular Economy through the digitisation of data. This will allow greater transparency as to how materials are made, allowing consumers greater choice in favour of sustainability. Furthermore, greater data availability will allow for more sophisticated re-use and recycling for products across the supply chain. 

Hydro is the largest European aluminium producer and a significant producer of renewable power in Norway. We are part of CLG Europe’s Taskforce for Climate Neutral and Circular Materials and Products. The Taskforce, in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute has published a report entitled ‘Digital Products Passport: the ticket to achieving a climate neutral and circular European economy?’ which examines the benefits of a DPP from a business perspective.   

The report finds that DPPs are a great opportunity to digitalise product information to support industry transformation towards carbon neutrality and increased circularity. There is widespread agreement amongst business leaders that DPPs could have short-and longer-term benefits, improving access to reliable and comparable product sustainability information for businesses, consumers and policy makers.  

The report highlights that the development of DPPs should be based upon three principles: coherence and consistency; flexibility and exploration of design; transparency and accountability. It also sets guiding questions for further design for policymakers in their continuation of the design of DPPs. 

We are already testing how we can use DPPs to ensure circularity throughout our supply chains. Together with a furniture producer, we ran our own blockchain-based DPP pilot for an outdoor bench made of aluminium and wood. Our two green aluminium brands, Hydro CIRCAL (recycled aluminium) and Hydro REDUXA (low-carbon aluminium), are certified by an independent third-party. In the pilot project, the certificates were stored on a blockchain and provide selected, trustworthy, sustainability data, which fed into DPPs. The DPP was available for everyone who scanned the QR codes on the furniture. On the landing page one could follow the journey of the recycled aluminium and get more information about the share of recycled post-consumer aluminium scrap in the components of the bench, track back the origin of the bench to its manufacturing bench and location, and see its overall environmental footprint. We consider the DPP makes part of the product-related storytelling and a tool which allows to pass the benefits of sustainability from producers of intermediate products, such as Hydro, down in the value chain to B2C companies and final consumers.   

Now is a key moment to embrace technology to turbocharge a European circular economy, which in turn will be a key element of living within our means whilst also meeting our Net Zero commitments. DPPs will be a key regulatory tool to ensure this happens with the transparency and accountability we need.

Read the report ‘Digital Product Passport: the ticket to achieving a climate neutral and circular European economy?’.

For enquiries, please contact:

Pascale Palmer

Pascale Palmer, Senior Media Advisor

Email | T: +44 7432 533 080

About the author


Bjørn Kjetil Mauritzen is head of sustainability in Hydro. He has long experience in the fields of energy and industry having previously held positions in strategy, energy market analysis and trading. He has also served as political advisor to the Norwegian Oil and Energy minister. Mauritzen is an economist by training.


Guest articles on the blog do not necessarily represent the views of, or endorsement by, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership or the wider University of Cambridge.

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