Marubeni and J-CEP Partner with Circularise B.V on a Traceability Project for Recycled Plastics in Japan

May 17, 2023
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) has joined a pilot project launched by Japan Circular Economy Partnership (hereinafter, “J-CEP” *1) entered into with Dutch company Circularise B.V. This will involve Marubeni and J-CEP using Circularise B.V.’s supply chain traceability software to create a Digital Product Passport (hereinafter, “DPP”) for recycled plastics in Japan (hereinafter, the “Project”). Under the Project, the partners wish to address one of the biggest challenges in the plastics industry; namely, how to trace materials and offer proof that they are recycled. 

DPP is an electronic passport that allows users to check sustainability information on products by, for example, scanning QR codes with a device. Circularise B.V.'s DPP solutions involve gathering data on a product and its supply chain and sharing this information across entire value chains. This allows all actors, including consumers, to achieve a better understanding of the materials and products they use, as well as their embodied environmental impact. 

Marubeni entered into a business collaboration agreement with Circularise B.V. on February 8, 2021, to introduce their Traceability Management Platform (hereinafter, the “Platform”) to the Japanese and Asian chemicals and plastics markets and to conduct demonstration projects using the Platform. J-CEP organized a DPP study group with the aim of sharing information to consider DPP strategies tailored to Japan in March 2023. Marubeni, as a member of this DPP study group, has formed this business alliance with J-CEP to conduct trials as part of the Project. During the Project, Circularise B.V.’s traceability software will be used to trace the plastic bottle caps collected from across the supply chain at AMITA Group’s Meguru Stations—citizens’ facilities installed in communities to promote revitalization, waste reduction, sorting, and recycling, etc.—to produce recycled plastics. These will subsequently be used in various industrial parts, consumer goods, and packaging. Circularise B.V. will then provide insights to J-CEP partners on the composition of recycled content in the final products, without sharing sensitive and proprietary information. This will be achieved by leveraging Circularise B.V.’s patented “Smart Questioning”*2 technology. Marubeni and J-CEP are also seeking to link this platform with other systems and platforms, as well as with private blockchains (which require approval by a specific administrator) and consortium blockchains (where the managing entity consists of two or more organisations).

DPPs are critical to achieving a circular economy, particularly as it pertains to plastic materials. With Japanese regulators actively supporting the transition to more sustainable operating models, Marubeni aims to provide supply chain actors and other stakeholders with useful information to improve compliance and quality assurance, and to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

*1 A partnership for new business co-creation, in which participating companies and other organizations aiming to realize a sustainable society work together with local residents, governments, universities, and other stakeholders, to promote a resource-recycling economy. It counts 49 companies and 8 organizations as members as of May 8, 2023.
*2 Smart Questioning is a technology, patented by Circularise B.V., to enable companies to selectively share data with their customers, auditors, or regulators, while maintaining the highest levels of privacy and confidentiality, using “zero knowledge proofs” (a method by which one party can prove to another party that they have established a value (“x”), without conveying any information apart from the fact that this value of x has been established.)

J-CEP Organization Overview
Organization Name: Japan Circular Economy Partnership
Partner Companies: 49 companies, 8 organizations(as of May 8, 2023)
Establishment: October 2021
Main Business: New business co-creation partnerships between industry, government, academia, and the private sector to promote the circular economy
Website: https://www.j-cep.com/
Circularise B.V. Company Overview
Company Name: Circularise B.V.
Head Office: Wilhelmina van Pruisenweg 35, 2595 AN, Den Haag, Netherlands
Establishment: July 2016
Main Business: Development of traceability management platforms
Website: https://www.circularise.com/