How NFC can help your business become more sustainable

This 24-page white paper explains how NFC technology can be used by consumer goods brands to support a variety of sustainability initiatives.

STMicroelectronicsIt also gives examples of brands which are already using NFC as part of their sustainability initiatives, describes how NFC can be used to overcome many of the obstacles of today’s circularity initiatives and explains how all stakeholders, from brands to retailers and consumers, can take advantage of NFC throughout the product life cycle.

Implementing NFC allows brands to track their products through their life cycle, all around the world, and to create a direct two-way communication channel with consumers via their smartphone, used as an NFC reader, the paper explains.

NFC technology can deliver particular value, it adds, when used in sustainability initiatives for products that:

  • Have a complex composition and are made of several components and materials.
  • Provide traceability services and tracking features.
  • Are likely to change ownership through, for instance, the second-hand market.
  • Are durable over time and will therefore lead to multiple uses.
  • Can be refilled, repurposed, or recycled.

Eight ways that NFC can assist with sustainability are then explored in detail:

  • Consumer product sustainability information: At the presale stage, consumers can be given key information about the product, displayed via NFC tags embedded in each item.
  • Second-life advice: At the end of a product’s life cycle, tags can inform consumers what they can do with the used item.
  • Responsible supply chain management: Thanks to its track and trace functionality, NFC technology can help keep track of products and contribute to optimising resources in order to avoid overproduction or inventory issues.
  • Circularity: In addition to helping to optimise supply chains, the track and trace function can help keep track of products throughout their life cycle, therefore enabling circularity.
  • Product eco-design: Eco-designing products is a major challenge for consumer brands. Embedding NFC tags can help them to rethink their new product and packaging options by enabling refillable solutions.
  • Health and safety: While sustainability is often defined as protecting the environment, ensuring people’s safety is another key dimension. There are many factors that may potentially harm or have an adverse effect on people’s health and safety. Here, too, NFC tags can help protect people in their daily lives by informing them of product instructions and ensuring product authenticity and integrity.
  • Consumer reward programmes: By embedding NFC tags in goods, consumers can keep track of their sustainable actions and be rewarded accordingly, through credits or other incentive schemes.
  • Product sustainability over life cycle: The journey begins with programming the product’s NFC tag with information, such as the product composition, traceability data and recycling information. Consumers can then access that information in-store and, after purchase, access a variety of other NFC functions including registering the product and activating the warranty. At the end of its life, the recycling plant can then read the NFC tag to access materials information and recycling instructions.

‘How NFC can help your business become more sustainable’ has been produced and sponsored by STMicroelectronics and approved by the NFCW editorial team.

How to access this white paper

This 24-page white paper is available free of charge to NFCW Knowledge Centre members (PDF format).

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