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Digital ID for textile-to-textile circular systems: A whitepaper

EON

What happens to your products when they leave the store? It’s a simple question, but most brands today don’t know the answer. Digital ID technology is connecting billions of products with intelligence, enabling them to interact with customers, generate post-sale insights and become more performant, functional and profitable across their lifecycle. These highly dynamic products are changing the ways we buy, sell, own and interact with the world around us – but we have yet to capitalize on their potential for commerce as a whole. 

Digital ID and Textile-to-textile Recycling

Brands such as Coach, Courréges, Net-a-Porter and more are already using Digital ID to support consumer engagement, optimize their supply chain and inventory management and to scale new business models and services across their product portfolios. Now, Digital ID is becoming a key accelerator to a circular system for commerce. 

Digital IDs are virtual “product passports” that store key information (e.g. material content, country of origin, color, etc) and record lifecycle events such as repair, resale and recycling. These IDs are  associated with physical products at the item-level through a data carrier, a smart label such as a QR code or RFID tag, often embedded at their time of manufacture.  Products with Digital IDs are intelligent, interactive and accessible post-point-of-sale. 

The association between the physical and digital allows otherwise disparate stakeholders to communicate and share data, which enriches the overall system and its processes with information that has historically been siloed. Stakeholders need access to accurate product information and the ability  to easily share that data between people, businesses and systems. Digital IDs make it easy for recycling system stakeholders, such as consumers, resellers, collectors, sorters, preprocessors and recyclers, to instantly access information about individual physical items. 

The benefits of a Digital ID-connected circular system include:

  • Improved data accuracy, verification and sharing capability
  • Efficiency gains from automation
  • Keeping products in circulation longer
  • Dynamic and interactive customer engagement 
  • Monetizing product value from reuse

Industry-Aligned Action Plan: Digital ID to Scale Circular Systems

EON and Accelerating Circularity, in partnership with Eunomia Research and Consulting, announce the launch of an Industry-Aligned Action Plan Digital ID to Scale Circular Systems. 

The report illuminates the transformational role of Digital ID technology, outlines its challenges and opportunities and codifies best-practices, roadmaps and solutions – essential to scale textile-to-textile circular business models. This Action Plan introduces a viable, industry-wide system for collection and sorting to profitably grow fashion’s circular economy. It also calls on the imperative of data standards, digital interoperability and cloud infrastructure essential to fueling this network for brands to start capitalizing.

“The Action Plan reviews the challenges, opportunities, and imperatives to developing the digital infrastructure underlying a data-driven circular fashion system. If designed correctly, digital identification solutions have the potential to provide brands with the financial incentives for scalability, customers with services and transparency, circular value chain stakeholders with essential product and material data, and policy initiatives with the data for measurement and accountability.”  – Karla Magruder, Founder of Accelerating Circularity 

 

“One of the greatest challenges the industry is facing is how to identify products accurately to support the development of end-markets, be it improved reuse and resale, collection, sorting, pre-processing or recycling. All the pieces are in place for Digital ID-enabled products to deliver the solution. What’s needed now is a commitment by organizations throughout the value chain to collaborate on trialing and scaling these technologies, to unlock a circular economy for textiles.” – Sarah Edwards, CEO, Eunomia Research and Consulting, North America

The Action Plan shares how global adoption of Digital IDs would connect products, their producers, new service models and recycling systems to create an intelligent, interdependent cloud-infrastructure for commerce. 

Interested to learn more? Download the report here.