What is Materials Passports?

Materials Passports have the potential to be used by many types of stakeholder throughout the value chain of a building, and through that deliver a multitude of value propositions. One of these is their ability to influence innovation and design of products. Having a pragmatic approach to not only operationalize circular potential, but to put it into practice, they provide incentives for innovation in more than one way:

  • By providing guidance. The passport is not normative first and foremost like a certificate would be. Having a passport does not necessarily make the product good for the Circular Economy. It is about what is in the passport. If the product indeed has good circular potential the passport is an enabler to fulfil that potential. By providing the opportunity for a producer to deliver essential information about its products it will become clear to that producer which information is still missing, or which aspects of the product are not up to par. This potential is also identified by Desso in the ‘Towards the Circular Economy report (WEF, 2012)’.
  • Materials Passports provide an opportunity for manufacturers or suppliers to stand out from the crowd. Either through transparency on their respective products, or by showcasing well thought out products with good circular potential;
  • Traditionally some industries are less transparent and/or knowledgeable about the actual substances used in their products. Developing a better understanding of one’s products is an important step in innovation before appropriate optimisation can occur. One mechanism through which this can occur is by requesting passports in tendering procedures.;
  • Materials Passports provide a driving force for novel ownership and business models. Reversibly designed products and systems are especially interesting for leasing constructions for example.

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