RESHAPING FURNITURE SUSTAINABILITY: THE DIGITAL PRODUCT PASSPORT APPROACH
In 2023, Fritz Hansen collaborated with MiCollect and SPOOR on a pilot project to add traceability to new furniture at Danish Crown’s new headquarters. Using Digital Product Passports in the form of a chip placed under the upholstery during manufacturing, anyone can scan the chair using a mobile phone to access information regarding every aspect of the materials used to manufacture the piece.
Photographer: Anders Ingvartsen, 2023
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What is a Digital Product Passport?
A Digital Product Passport is a digital record that contains detailed information about a product's entire lifecycle. It includes data about the product's origin, manufacturing processes, environmental data, materials used, transportation and end-of-life options. In the furniture industry, a Digital Product Passport for a piece of furniture provides traceability and transparency, enabling consumers and stakeholders to access essential information about the product's sustainability, promoting circular economy practices and fostering more informed and eco-conscious choices.
Towards a Circular Economy
In the coming years, European Union legislation is set to transform the furniture industry. By 2030, products sold in the EU must possess a digital passport, promoting traceability and circular economy practices.
Preparing for that future, a Danish-based startup, MiCollect, is developing a technology that will enable manufacturers to ensure every piece of furniture and its constituent parts are fully traceable throughout their life and bring this data to consumers in a user-friendly format.
“The benefits of traceability are essential to creating a circular economy model, meaning products can be refurbished, repaired, reused, resold or recycled,” explains Morten Lund Petersen, Sustainability Manager at Fritz Hansen. “With traceable products, consumers can see exactly where any piece of furniture came from; they will know what to do and who to contact if a spare part is needed or if they wish to prove the authenticity of a piece for resale.”
MiCollect is a visionary company focusing on the furniture industry with an aim to revolutionise sustainability in the sector through data and technology. Co-founded by Merete Skov Pedersen, who brings diverse expertise in furniture, data analytics and tech platforms, MiCollect is driving the green transition and sustainability agenda.
Merete explains: “One of the core elements of MiCollect's digital solution is an innovative app offering captivating data and visualisation. MiCollect's digital platform enables transparency for the good of circular economies.”
The app connects to a system with companies’ data and information based on digital tagging, traceability and transparency of products. At the end of the supply chain, consumers are empowered with insights into product lifecycles and sustainability, ultimately fostering informed choices and conscious consumption. MiCollect's app positions them at the forefront of this transformative wave, connecting consumers to the sustainable value chain.
The First Test
In a pilot project for Fritz Hansen and MiCollect, the two companies produced Egg ™, Swan™ and Oxford™ chairs using fully traceable and biodegradable Nordic leather from SPOOR, backed up by ESG data for the new Danish Crown headquarters in Northern Denmark.
From SPOOR’s perspective, Birgitte Holgaard Langer, Business Development Director states that “traceability, ESG data and documentation are needed in order to claim responsibly sourced materials and transparency.” All of SPOOR's data and documentation follow each piece of traceable leather they produce, fitting in seamlessly with a digital product passport.
Merete Skov Pedersen emphasises the app's potential to influence consumer behaviour positively: "Empowering users with knowledge, MiCollect instils a sense of responsibility and accountability, fostering positive change throughout the industry."
Making a Change for Good
For more than 150 years, Fritz Hansen has created iconic designs crafted to stand the test of time. This is our past and path to a more sustainable future: treat them with care, repair and renew, and our pieces can be passed on and on. The pieces used in Danish Crown’s new headquarters were selected for this reason—their significance as long-lasting, beautiful icons of Danish design, made to last a lifetime and beyond.