Key Enabler of a Circular Economy

EPCIS 2.0 has finally been ratified by GS1 Member Organizations across the world. It is a unified language for sharing supply chain data on a decentralized basis by multiple actors and can be used with IOTA as a trust anchor for the authenticity, immutability, and non-repudiation of its data. Digital Product Passports (DPPs) are one of the key applications of EPCIS 2.0, making interoperability possible as mandated by new proposed EU regulations on batteries and sustainable products.

After a thorough Community Review phase announced in October 2021, the EPCIS 2.0 standard has matured into final ratification and becomes a key digital technology enabler for transparent and sustainable value chains in a world increasingly revolving around the principles of the Green Deal and circular economy.

EPCIS 2.0 is a unified language for machine-readable representation of business events in supply and value chains. These business events convey, in an industry-agnostic fashion, the when, where, why, what and how dimensions. For instance, one liter of milk that originates from a farm in the Alps is packed into a carton of milk in a factory at a particular point in time. The temperature of the milk during the process is 10 degrees celsius. Then the carton of milk is packed into a crate of milk cartons. Eventually, the carton will be sold, its packaging recycled, and so on and so forth. All these supply and value chain events can be represented using the EPCIS 2.0 language and unambiguously and automatically interpreted by any system or actor worldwide.

The IOTA Foundation has played a core role in refining the standard since the Community Review was announced in October 2021. The Foundation has provided key assets and technical expertise based on the Foundation’s experience with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applied to supply chain digitization. In fact, EPCIS 2.0 can be combined with the IOTA DLT so that economic operators can share authenticated and immutable data trustfully with other actors or with public authorities seeking compliance checkups.

The different dimensions of EPCIS events (what, when, where, how, and why) convey enough information that, when aggregated, can enable economic operators to conduct their business under the principles of transparency and sustainability. Its combination with the decentralized capabilities of DLTs for data verification can strengthen this commitment, especially given upcoming EU and US regulations, such as the European Union’s Ecodesign for Sustainable Products (ESPR) and Digital Product Passports (DPP). In fact, the IOTA Foundation, together with partners such as Digimarc, is a pioneer in applying EPCIS 2.0 to DPPs for EV batteries and electronic appliances, key use cases of the EU Blockchain Pre-Commercial Procurement (EBSI).

The proposed ESPR regulation (March 2022) establishes the general requirements for semantic and interoperable Digital Product Passports based on open standards, following the principles of linked data, data sovereignty, and the decentralized web. The regulation also establishes the need for a secure and decentralized layer to guarantee data authenticity and immutability in order to verify compliance and guarantee best transparency practices, while at the same time reassuring consumers. The latter is a key requirement that IOTA and its accompanying frameworks (Identity and Streams) are in an ideal position to meet, especially when it comes to the related scalability challenges.

On the other hand, a proposed new EU regulation on batteries and waste batteries (December 2020) establishes that by 1 January 2026, all batteries of a certain capacity, including electric vehicle batteries, need to provide a Digital Product Passport that benefits consumers and economic operators. Different static and dynamic parameters (such as performance, durability, health, and remaining life) are under the scope of the information supplied by battery DPPs. In addition, value chain events such as those that model operations around batteries (for instance, module replacement), inspection, end-of-life handling, and reuse, are also considered. The unified language offered by EPCIS 2.0 is the perfect fit to address the requirements for EV Batteries DPPs described above. Additionally, different certificates (that can be represented by means of Verifiable Credentials supported by IOTA Identity) can also be made available through DPPs, for instance, bill of materials (including hazardous materials), conformity, or testing results.

We can conclude that the combination of IOTA and EPCIS 2.0 will have a tremendous societal impact, as they are putting digital technologies at the service of society to help transform the world into a more sustainable place to live.

Anyone interested in learning more about the new EPCIS 2.0 standard can review it on the GS1 website. You can also explore the libraries to anchor EPCIS Events to IOTA and the IOTA Integration Services, both provided by the IOTA Foundation, and check out the libraries provided by Digimarc (acquirer of EVRYTHNG).

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