March 17, 2016
In a press release, Source Intelligence – which states it is a “global network of businesses connecting supply chains” – noted that emerging trends concerning REACH since it was updated to include components last year include “having the ability to accurately trace and verify products and their components throughout the entire supply chain network”, as well as “concerns about how much information” – or IP – they are “willing to proactively disclose”.
Another concern is “how much impact compliance will have on business continuity”, with representatives of Source Intelligence meeting people at the ChemCon Europe event in Amsterdam this week to “address emerging trends and to offer scalable approaches to achieve successful compliance programmes”. The organisation is also working with hundreds of EU companies to “trace and provide reports” on substances of very high concern (SVHCs).
In conclusion, the network noted that it has “built the world’s largest supplier data base, which is allowing companies to simplify their registration responsibilities, more accurately report SVHC-free products, and meet the strict chemical regulations imposed in the EU”. The European Court of Justice decreed last September that “components of a complex product” must be registered under REACH “when they contain a substance of very high concern in a concentration above 0.1 percent”.
The REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) legislation was established in 2007 to ensure manufacturers and importers were providing safety information to the EU about the chemical makeup of their products, with ink and toner coming in scope. In 2011, the European Commission told member states that REACH applied only if a substance of very high concern exceeded 0.1 percent “in the entire article”, which was challenged by five member states and Norway.
The court’s 2015 decision clarifies that an ‘article’ in any product is “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition”, though this omits provisions for complex products containing several articles, such as a cartridge.
This removes the need “to draw a distinction between the situation of articles incorporated as a component of a complex product and that of articles present in an isolated manner”. This would mean that the new law will affect both suppliers and remanufacturers who are already trying to adhere to REACH.
The court added that “each of the articles incorporated as a component of a complex product is covered by the relevant duties to notify and provide information” when coming in scope, while producers only have to notify for articles they have made, excluding those made by a third party – in which case, the third-party creator must notify the relevant authorities.
Importers of products with one or more articles are considered importers of those articles, and “the fact that it can be difficult for importers to obtain the required information from their suppliers established in non-EU countries does not alter their duty to notify”, with this duty applying “to all operators along the supply chain”.
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