In recent literature, various variants of passports are suggested enhancing the traceability of products and their components to accelerate the integration of the circular economy philosophy into supply chain management. While there has been an increasing research interest in the development of such passports, there is, to the best of our knowledge, no well-formed, common definition and explanation of the concept itself. This also reflects in the various alternative terminology used to indicate this phenomenon (product passport, material passport, resource passport, recycling passport, cradle-to-cradle passport, etc.). A unified understanding of a concept, its components, variables and relationships would however contribute toward more precise communication of research ideas, findings and discussions about such passport development. Using a descriptive research approach, we aim to study this field in order to formalize the concept. This work points out, that many of the passport variants, pursue a similar goal and have similar characteristics and contextual challenges. Based on the similarities and conceptual boundaries identified, we suggest that these passports can best be defined as a digital interface composing a certified identity of a single identifiable product by accessing the set of life cycle registrations linked to this object in order to yield insight into the sustainability and circularity characteristics, the circular value estimation, and the circular opportunities for both that product and its underlying components and materials. This work serves as a basis to better specify the general holistic requirements and architectures for these passports that may be developed collaboratively by multiple supply chain stakeholders.
- Circular economy
- Circular supply chain management
- Digital twin
- Material passport
- Product passport