Innovation That Matters

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Digital passports for products


The blockchain-based technology helps suppliers share sensitive data on material composition and environmental footprint

Spotted: For many companies, more than 70 per cent of their carbon footprint is composed of scope 3 emissions – those that occur in an organisation’s wider value chain. But keeping tabs on these emissions is a hard task, as it can be difficult to trace materials through every stage of the supply chain. 

One of the specific problems associated with the data gathering process, is the need to collect information from suppliers that might be sensitive. But now, Dutch startup Circularise is tackling this problem through its digital product passports. 

Circularise’s technology generates a digital passport for each different raw material that goes into each component. Companies at the end of the supply chain then add their own information to create a new digital passport for the final product. This facilitates re-use and recycling by providing reliable information on a product’s composition and provenance. 

All this information is recorded in an immutable format on a public blockchain. This provides superior levels of verification compared to other digital passport solutions, which use private blockchains.  

What really separates Circularise from its competitors, is the startup’s focus on helping suppliers share sensitive information on topics such as environmental impact, material composition, or life cycle assessment data. It does this through its patent-pending Smart Questioning technology. This uses advanced cryptography techniques – called zero-knowledge proofs – that allow suppliers to prove their claims without the need to provide sensitive raw data.  

Suppliers answer lists of questions at an agreed level of disclosure – from full disclosure to no disclosure of underlying data. The verifying company can then choose a question from the list, and the supplier provides the answer. If the question is set at the highest level of data privacy, the answer is provided alongside a cryptographic proof. Smart Questioning verifies this proof against the raw data without the data itself being revealed to the verifier.

In the archive, Springwise has spotted other innovations working to modernise the supply chain, including a platform that provides product transparency to customers and another that helps companies decarbonise.

Written By: Rachel Ward




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