Traceability hot in several industries

Traceability is key to a sustainable future
Jonatan Tullberg, CEO of GS1 Sweden

Jonatan Tullberg, CEO of GS1 Sweden, looks ahead to 2022, when a topical area is traceability as a prerequisite for sustainable and circular value chains.

The activities for 2022 is in full swing and every now and then during the year I will give you an insight into some of the areas we are currently working on. Data quality will always be an important area for us to continue to develop. The focus for 2021 was our work with services that help you as a brand owner to achieve higher quality of your data. The user benefit of the efforts was automation of manual processes, time and cost savings and being able to more easily follow the GS1 standards that apply in your industry.

Our service for quality assurance of trade item information and images went through a major upgrade. This means that quality-assured information shared via our Validoo database service can now be managed more effectively. And it’s easier than ever to succeed with high quality trade information and barcodes.

Two completely new web services were launched last autumn; Generate Numbers and My Products can be used by you who need to manage and keep track of your GTINs.

Digital product passes for increased traceability

There is a lot of discussion at both regulatory and industry level about product traceability as a driver for increased sustainability. Traceable value chains exist as an adopted strategy in the EU’s Green Deal . A decision on new EU legislation to introduce traceability systems in the form of ‘digital product passports‘ is expected as early as the first half of 2022 for a number of product categories, such as plastics, textiles, food and the construction and real estate sectors. The Swedish government has set the milestone target “Product passports for better knowledge” in its action plan for the transition to a circular economy.

Traceable value chains are an adopted strategy in the EU’s Green Deal

On the agenda in several industries

In many industries, initiatives for traceability and product passports are already ongoing. The battery industry is an example where they collaborate on digital product passes for batteries. Right now, the industry is getting ready to meet EU proposals for legal requirements for product passports for high-capacity batteries. GS1 in Europe works closely with the Global Battery Alliance and a number of other players in the battery industry. The collaboration includes both standardization of product passes and the creation of a prototype for cross-industry product passes in collaboration with other industries. GS1 Sweden participates in this work.

The electronics industry in Sweden is another example of an industry that is at the forefront. Here, GS1 Sweden continues to be part of the Vinnova-funded project KEEP , which is working on a traceability solution for the industry.

The grocery industry continues to have a strong focus on sustainability, product safety and reduced food waste. Here, GS1 Sweden’s industry council for groceries has published a traceability vision to support the industry. An important part of increased traceability is to establish dynamic labeling as a tool. Last year, a working group in the CPG industry conducted a prestudy for the forthcoming implementation of 2D barcodes, a change that is currently underway and which will mean new traceability opportunities for consumers as well.

The retail sector is currently being activated within the global initiative 2D codes in retail, where the industry will be helped to prepare for the development from classic barcodes to QR codes and GS1 DataMatrix. The traceability effects mean that you can verify the authenticity of products, share ingredient and origin information and increase transparency in the supply chain.

In the future, we can expect higher demands placed by both authorities and consumers on increased traceability both up and downstreams the value chain. This will be a major shift that will require a common approach and a global digital business language to simplify everyone’s data exchange.

How can you get started with traceability?

As you may notice, many different initiatives are being implemented right now. The GS1 system of standards is designed so that you can achieve full traceability regardless of industry – from raw material producer to consumer. We are currently working with the impact at the regulatory level so that traceability solutions contain global GS1 standards, are coherent and can be used by everyone.

To achieve traceability, you need to use different GS1 standards in combination. By subscribing to our most common GS1 Company Prefix subscription, you have access to our entire standard portfolio and your first step towards traceability has already been taken.

During the year, we will make efforts to enable active traceability implementation for our customers. I sincerely hope you want to be part of that journey!

This is how traceability works with GS1 standards
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