Jan 15, 2023Ed. Note: This article was previously posted at IoP Journal.
"Follow the money." This phrase refers to the importance of checking where money goes and where it comes from, in order to detect business trends, opportunities and even crimes. Many investigations into corruption schemes, for example, track payments to find diversion in operations. However, before a business operation can be carried out, including legal ones, a project needs to be created from an original idea or a new demand.
This new demand is part of the subject I will address here. This year, the European Union announced a series of new rules, based on sustainability aspects, for the operation of companies that manufacture and sell consumer products in the countries of the economic bloc. One of the subjects that gained greater prominence was the Digital Product Passport (DPP) requirement and the determination that all companies are suitable for the circular economy system by 2050.
If you want to know more about the circular economy, I recommend the book Economia Circular: um modelo que dá impulso à economia, gera empregos e protege o meio ambiente, written (in Portuguese) by Carlos Ohde, Helio Mattar, João Redondo, Tereza Cristina M. B. Carvalho, Marcia Costa, Mariana Vieira and Roberto Matsubayashi. It was edited by Netpress Books, the company that controls IoP Journal, and it was the first book published in Brazil on the subject with authors from different points of view.
The DPP concept reinforces smart packaging as a set of tools that integrate global technological solutions for tracking, authenticity, sustainability and customer experience. This allows for the full adoption of the circular economy by 2050 (see AIPIA Congress Reveals Impacts of New Digital Product Passport).
Concerns about environmental degradation, reduction of material discards, and their reuse by processing and production lines are turning to the world of smart packaging technologies. With that in mind, GS1, the global organization responsible for standardizing product serialization codes, and Avery Dennison, which offers the atma.io platform among its product portfolio, were the main standard bearers of the DPP concept at the AIPIA Congress 2022. The event was held in November 2022 by the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association.
On the one hand, GS1 announced with the new DPP rules, established by the European Union, that the replacement of barcodes by 2D codes, such as Datamatrix and QR codes, was happening gradually and irreversibly. Avery Dennison has staked its chips on the atma.io digital enterprise and its cloud of connected products to serve as the foundation for sustainable connections between every item, company and human being in this new-world business scenario.
On the other hand, the first smart packaging center in the Southern Hemisphere, Sincpress, participated in the event and reinforced its anticipated vision of collaboration by creating conditions, disseminating ideas and implementing circular economy solutions in a pioneering way in Brazil. Sincpress has skills and resources to help companies that will have to adapt to the new smart packaging and circular economy rules.
All of these transformations go through assembly lines, supply chains and product packaging. In all these phases, the use of radio frequency identification technology is indispensable, but most RFID supplying companies still do not realize the dimension of what is happening in the international market. The fact that the products have a passport is nothing new. The real change is that this is happening through legislation, and that it's 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, which must be accessible electronically via a data medium. This is consistent with everything encompassing the basic concept of smart packaging and what guides the use of RFID. Thus, the DPP must ensure that actors throughout the value chain, including consumers, economic operators and competent national authorities, can access information about products.
What information will this be, if there is no security of total tracking of products, with their pedigree guaranteed, unit by product unit? The data for this can be collected by barcode readers, smartphone cameras reading serialized QR codes, and RFID readers. To load the systems with logistics data, for example, which will be read later, the technology that has proven to do this safely is RFID. Those who are inspired by new businesses are already sniffing the money—so follow the money!
Edson Perin is the editor of IoP Journal Brasil and the founder of Netpress Books Editora, a pioneer company in the production and distribution of content to radio, TV and Internet, and the publication of books on technologies for business.