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Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

29 July 2022 - CISL's Tahmid Chowdhury reflects on the recent launch event for the Materials and Products Taskforce's new report on Digital Product Passports.

Earlier this month, I chaired the launch event for our new report – ‘Digital Product Passport: The Ticket to Achieving a Climate Neutral and Circular European Economy?’ in the European Parliament along with the Wuppertal Institute. The event was organised on behalf of the Taskforce for climate neutral and circular materials and products.

It was an amazing opportunity to bring together people both physically and virtually to talk about Digital Product Passports, which are an exciting tool that can really shift how we track, trace and monitor products. They will be key for enabling circularity.

With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the cost of living crisis, we are in a critical moment to transform our economic and business models to address the scale of material emissions in the European economy. To achieve this goal, DPPs can be a pivotal policy instrument to provide companies and policymakers with reliable and comparable product sustainability information.

DPPs have numerous benefits. For example, a DPP allows us as consumers to make more informed choices about the products we use, which can create a greater demand for more sustainable products. DPPs can lead to increased transparency, traceability and consistency for each player in each part of the value chain. More information about products could also enable the development of completely new business models and innovation. Our research concluded that it is key for DPPs to be well-designed, based upon the following principles: coherence and consistency; flexibility and exploration of design; & transparency and accountability.

We were kindly hosted by Greens MEP Jakop Dalunde, who was one of an excellent array of speakers. We also had representatives from the European Commission, progressive businesses, and the international NGO Environmental Coalition on Standards. Our speakers highlighted a broad support for the implementation of a Digital Product Passport as an important enabler of circularity amongst key players; many compared it close to a silver bullet and potential gamechanger. Nonetheless, there were various technical and political aspects that would need to be addressed to make it an effective tool.

Whilst we may want quick, scalable and impactful implementation, the consensus across the board was that it will be best to start soon and at a small scale. The implementation will not be a perfect process, as such it will be best to learn through trial-and-error rather than either rushing something out that is poorly designed or spending decades trying to design a perfect tool.

From a personal perspective, it was a real honour to chair an event within the European Parliament with such a knowledgeable panel. It was the first hybrid event that we’ve hosted, so it was a real learning experience for me in terms of managing both logistical issues physically such as catering as well as technical ones for our speakers online. I owe a big thank you to the team within CISL, the office of Jakop Dalunde MEP, livestreaming team and others for making it all happen.

I hope this event will spur further discussions around the implementation of a Digital Product Passport and other circular economy initiatives. If we are to achieve our goals of reaching Net Zero by 2050, it is imperative we continue to build practical solutions which can bridge the gap between ambition and action.

Read the Digital Product Passports report.

Learn more about CLG Europe’s work on the European industrial strategy.

Find out more about CLG Europe's engagement with policymakers or visit the Green Recovery Knowledge Hub.

Learn more about the Materials & Products Taskforce here.

For enquiries, please contact:

Pascale Palmer

Pascale Palmer, Senior Media Advisor

Email | T: +44 7432 533 080

About the author


Tahmid joined CISL as a Programme Manager in August 2021, focusing on Industry. Tahmid runs the Taskforce for climate neutral and circular materials and products, and leads on competitiveness policy. Tahmid previously worked at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy within the UK Government. Tahmid worked on EU engagement and strategy, managing the UK’s participation at the Competitiveness Council and Energy Council, as well as policy work on the EU Industrial Strategy and European Accessibility Act. Tahmid also held roles at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury and as a Blue Book Trainee at the European Commission.


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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