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From scan to sustainability

How NFCs and QR Codes are revolutionizing the circular economy.

Once upon a time, a tag was just a tag, and a product was just a physical product - safe to say times have changed! 

Now, brands across the fashion industry are integrating smart labels such as QR codes and NFC chips not only as conduits for an entire digital ecosystem, capable of authenticating a product, and providing an engaging digital experience, but also to relay crucial information on a product’s environmental footprint and traceability - all by a quick tap or scan.

Circularity through Resale 

Several years ago, reselling an item could involve a lengthy consignment process at a brick and mortar store. Now, in the age of connected products, the implementation of QR codes and NFCs have revolutionized this process by providing resale services for consumers within branded digital hubs.

By a simple scan of a product’s QR code, consumers can securely authenticate a product, gain a certificate of authenticity and access a secondhand marketplace.

Enabling resale services through connected products helps brands ensure their products have a potential second life, and gives brands access to a wider client base.

Supply chain transparency 

These smart labels offer brands a unique opportunity to showcase their dedication to sustainability by providing information on sourcing materials, production processes, and recycling.

Even before purchasing a product, customers can scan a product’s QR code in store to see where the product originated from, and its environmental impact, in order to make informed choices about their potential purchase.

In addition, with the impending EU Digital Product Passport legislation, QR codes and NFCs will be fundamental tools for brands to provide required sustainability data associated with products.

Reducing impact

Smart labels also play an essential role in reducing the impact of a product’s life cycle, by enabling users to access proper waste and recycling information by scanning NFCs and QR codes. 

These tools have also been cited as crucial to the execution of the French AGEC law, which has established a framework for minimizing waste within the industry and aims to keep products circulating within the economy for as long as possible.

Implementation Considerations

While QR codes and NFCs individually provide ample opportunities for brands to align themselves with sustainability goals, in order to take advantage of the potential value these smart labels can generate in terms of circularity, brands should ideally plan to implement hybrid solutions, and be able to manage multiple tag types, even if they will only adopt one initially.

The security of these smart labels and the role of authentication in circularity should remain a key consideration for brands during this process. Without a secure NFC or QR code, brands run the considerable risk of having their reputation damaged by the circulation of non-authentic or counterfeit products in the secondary market.

Leveraging the value generated by NFCs and QR codes

The synergy of both NFCs and QR codes with a commitment to sustainability is a key way brands can connect to more environmentally conscious consumers, and help the industry as a whole move towards a more sustainable future.

Contact our experts to learn more and experience a live DEMO

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19 Mar 2024

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