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Role of Labeling in Closing Economic Loops - new report!

Circular economy? Only with efficient identification!

A circular economy requires tracking essential data regarding packaging, and the GS1 standards support their efficient identification. The latest report by Innowo and GS1 Poland is a compendium of ways to effectively utilize new identification technologies for the benefit of the circular economy.

Is there an alternative to the current model based on the "make, use, reuse" principle? Yes, but it requires data. In the report, the authors emphasize the significance of information, labeling, and standardization in implementing the circular economy (CE). The report was co-authored by experts from GS1 Poland.

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Product and packaging identification as the key to achieving CE goals

The report highlights how efficient packaging identification can contribute to effective data management and the implementation of digital solutions. This approach can support sustainable development, for example, through automation. This can lead to more efficient resource utilization, reduced material and energy consumption, lower emissions, and minimized waste.

According to the authors of the report, the successful implementation of a circular economy depends on the effective identification of packaging and products. Innowo is a non-governmental organization that supports the development of innovation and the implementation of systemic changes for sustainable development. As the experts point out, only a fully identified product and raw material can be fully utilized. Therefore, it is crucial for data to follow the product throughout its life cycle, requiring standardization and compatibility of systems used for production and recycling.

"Information is a crucial ally in the transition to a circular economy model, which our planet and humanity desperately need in the face of various threats. Utilizing common standards for data collection, processing, and sharing can drastically accelerate this process," argues Dr. Agnieszka Sznyk, President of Innowo.

Breaking the "data silos" is necessary in the circular transformation, referring to the hermetic division of data without the possibility of exchange. Standardization helps in this regard, as it is a crucial aspect of smooth data exchange between data processing systems. Common, open, and universal standards, such as GS1, are used worldwide by millions of companies. Data stored in the form of codes (1D and 2D) are utilized by both businesses and consumers.

Effective product tracking goes beyond barcodes

The report also presents solutions from GS1 Poland regarding marking. GS1 Poland is an organization providing global identification standards that help streamline supply chains worldwide. Its solutions play a crucial role in the circular economy by contributing to increased operational efficiency, building a sustainable supply chain, reducing waste, and lowering operational costs. Barcodes or RFID tags on packaging allow precise management of products and inventory, translating into better customer service and higher service quality.

In logistics and transportation, marking loads using GS1 standards enables real-time tracking of their location, minimizing losses, errors, and delays in deliveries, which helps reduce costs. With standardized documentation and smoother data exchange, manufacturers and transport companies can collaborate with partners from different countries and regions. Furthermore, GS1 standards support the digitization of transport and logistics processes.

"Efficient data management is the key to sustainable development. I believe that GS1 standards also form the basis of the circular economy," says Dr. Marta Szymborska, Manager of Communication, PR, and ESG at GS1 Poland.

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Information about the authors of the report:


The Institute of Innovation and Responsible Development, INNOWO, is a non-governmental organization, a THINK-to-DO TANK operating in the area of supporting the development of innovation and the implementation of systemic changes for sustainable socio-economic development. INNOWO collaborates with various stakeholder groups, such as scientists, government administration, decision-makers, businesses, and NGO environments, to initiate joint actions to improve society and environmental conditions.

GS1 Polska

GS1 Polska is part of GS1, a global organization developing the most widely used system of standards worldwide. Our standards enable organizations to efficiently identify, capture, and exchange information. A unified data standard creates a common language of GS1, which forms the basis for systems and processes worldwide. In this way, we also support retail networks to operate more efficiently, safely, and sustainably. We combine multidisciplinary expertise with experience working with local government, government representatives, and the international community, allowing us to achieve a broader perspective and conduct effective, coordinated actions.


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