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Navigating the
Build vs Buy Dilemma

Navigating the Build vs Buy dilemma through third-party Traceability and Digital Product Passport providers

As the global community negotiates the urgent clean energy transition, ensuring digital traceability of critical mineral supply chains has become a recognized imperative – and the demand shows no signs of slowing.

The IEA recently highlighted that ‘critical mineral supply chains cannot be truly secure, reliable and resilient unless they are also sustainable and responsible’ and to achieve this, sustainable and ethical practices must be embedded at each stage of the value chain.

Material traceability connects participants across supply chains and enables each to demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing, reduce carbon emissions, manage supply chain risks, and comply with increasingly stringent global regulations.

The EU Battery Regulation, the EU Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), along with the U.S. Clean Vehicle Tax Credit necessitate robust traceability and digital product passports (DPPs) to ensure critical industries grow while producing sustainable, responsible, and increasingly circular products.

The implications of this sea change are massive and understanding what you have inherited from your upstream is non-trivial. It takes time to discover the actors in your supply chains and to acquire the data you need to illuminate the deeper tiers. Organizations need to invest in robust digital traceability solutions that collect, manage, and analyze supply chain data.

Collaborating with third-party solution providers, like Circulor, who operates at scale with established ecosystems and networks of hundreds of facilities worldwide, provides exponential benefits far and above any in-house software creation initiatives.


Whilst many global manufacturing organizations possess the technological capabilities to build solutions, the reality of looming deadlines and lengthy development timelines make an in-house solution impractical.  

It would require significant investments of time, money, and resources, with skills and expertise many organizations will not possess given their specialist nature. Creating traceability solutions and DPPs needs expertise in supply chain digitalization, complex industrial manufacturing, greenhouse gas emissions, policy and regulations, and the nuances in data sharing and interoperability between territories and organizations.

In-house teams may struggle to keep up with rapidly evolving global regulatory requirements, technology advancements, standards, and data security, especially when effort and expertise is being diverted away from the core business, risking revenues and growth.

In addition to the above, the risk of bias from an internal solution is significant. Endangering trust in the information you supply about products to users, customers and stakeholders is much more difficult when you have ‘marked your own homework’.

The EU Green Claims Directive is set to address this very issue and will impose hefty fines for those who cannot substantiate any green claims they make about their products and services with verifiable data. Providing verifiable data is one of Circulor’s key capabilities.


Advantages of working with Circulor:

  • Neutrality and Independence: Proving sustainability and responsibility across complex supply chains requires an independent, neutral actor who can be trusted to collect the data.


Circulor is a trusted, independent, and agnostic technology solution that can process all the data from multiple organisations such that it can be verified and audited with confidence by all actors and supply chain participants alike.


As policymakers seek to make sustainable products the norm through the ESPR, they are recognising the enabling role of third-party traceability and DPP solution providers. Not only do they state DPPs can be managed and stored by a third-party product passport provider, but also require economic operators (those responsible for producing a DPP when placing their product on the market) – to back up their DPPs through a certified independent third-party product passport service provider.


However, embracing sustainability regulations goes beyond compliance; it's a strategic imperative for your brand's growth.

  • The Network Effect: Circulor’s platform is already used at scale by globally recognized brands like Volvo Cars, Polestar, Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW. We are the global leader for battery material traceability.  


Moreover, with three of the largest global cell producers already integrated into Circulor’s network and over 145 customer facilities actively contributing traceability and sustainability data, Circulor’s PROVE platform already covers a substantial portion of battery value chain suppliers.


This pre-existing battery value chain network is the largest of its kind. It ensures a fast and simple onboarding process for supply chain participants as a portion of their supplier network will most likely be on the platform already and provides the flexibility needed to adapt to the dynamic nature of supply chains.


  • Cross-Industry Collaboration: Circulor has been actively engaged with Catena-X, Global Battery Alliance, and SAE International’s battery passport committees since each was established.


In addition, serving as the technology lead of the German Government’s Battery Pass project, Circulor is at the forefront of product passport definition and implementation, as well as the practical delivery of both upstream traceability for primary data and the maintenance of battery passports for circularity.


This collaboration is key as we have been helping the industry understand how circularity, responsible sourcing and decarbonization can be achieved as well as coalesce around the common standards that will drive interoperability and adoption at scale.


  • Enterprise SaaS: Circulor are a specialist software provider with a platform built using neutral and open standards and can be extended and integrated with existing enterprise applications by making use of RESTful web services. The platform is modular so it can be used in step with an organization's evolving needs.


Circulor offers a faster time-to-market given our 7 years of development and refining the software - and our pre-existing network of supply chain participants - allowing organizations to quickly implement and start using.


Get Started Today

Coalescence around the common goal of driving a sustainable, secure, and resilient value chains is key to positioning climate and economic security at the front and centre of the energy transition. 


Working with an experienced, credible, and independent third-party service provider, like Circulor, addresses the challenges of in-house software creation. Leveraging Circulor's scalable platform, extensive network and cross-industry collaborations is an efficient way to establish truly transparent, sustainable, and circular supply chains to comply with global regulations while mitigating risks and safeguarding integrity.

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