The material passport (MP) gives us meaningful insights about the genealogy of a specific product.
Rather than merely focusing upon the qualities of the end product, it provides information about the whole set of actors, tools, collaborations, agreements, efforts and energy involved in its production, transportation and disposal.
Such perspective empowers actors to look at a more inclusive story of a product, according to its specific and unique flow of transformations: the so called value chain.
The MP is a powerful way for citizens to discover and understand - in a critical way - the use value and exchange value of a product, untied from its marketing and branding.
It can promote the flourishing of a more conscious and municipally driven business, where products with MPs that highlight waste reduction, low energy consumption, local production, or even specific producers or resources involved in the production which are preferred.
It helps to understand the urban metabolism the citizen is part of: how resources flow in, where they are stored and who are the actors actively involved in their transformations and transportation.
How can such actors collaborate together and eventually how can citizens can fit in such value chains?
It also helps producers to improve the product value chain, for example reducing the waste and efforts involved in each step of a product life cycle.
It can strengthen relationships between producers and suggest new opportunities for new or improved supply chains.
Some of the relevant data showed in a material passport includes:
- Design: any relevant design that has been used for the manufacturing of the product
- Resources inventory: the set of resources that have been used and are part of the end product
- Transformations: events that affected the product, step by step in chronological order
- The places, actors and tools involved in the product supply chain
The material passport is an essential tool to empower different stakeholders of the city's social and economic life to have meaningful and productive discussions together and to produce new narratives or boost existing ones, in order to switch toward a more circular and fair economy.