Our regulatory subject matter experts help a range of stakeholders solve compelling regulatory challenges associated with supply chain data management. We compile their insights to help educate compliance professionals through content, webinars and events. They also provide advice directly to Assent’s clients. Here are the top five questions our Regulatory team has responded to over the past month.
Question: January 5, 2021, has been referred to as the “deadline” for the Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects (Products) (SCIP) database, the date by which companies must collect specific article-level information to submit to the database. However, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s website states that requirements apply “as from 5 January, 2021,” which sounds more like a starting point than a deadline. Is this the case?
Answer — Steven Andrews: Technically, January 5, 2021, is not a deadline, but rather the date at which the SCIP database enters into force. This means that economic operators (companies, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.) placing any article containing Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) over the 0.1 percent weight-by-weight concentration threshold on the European Union (EU) market are obliged to submit required data to the SCIP database. In this sense, it is a deadline for many actors. However, if the article or complex product containing the article was placed on the EU market before that date, this is not required.
To learn more about SCIP database requirements and how to meet them efficiently, download our guide, Building a SCIP Database Program.
Question: My company received a request about “Green Passport” information from one of our customers. The request references the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Guidelines on Ship Recycling. What is the “Green Passport,” and how can we provide the required information to our customer?
Answer — James Calder: In this context, a Green Passport is a document concept that originated under the IMO’s Guidelines on Ship Recycling. At the end of a ship’s useful life, almost all of its components will be recycled or reused. While this means shipbuilding has the potential to be a “green” industry, it also means clear communication about any hazardous substances present in ship components is essential, since these components may be re-used. The Green Passport originates from the Hong Kong Convention and regionally adopted laws (e.g. EU Ship Recycling Regulation).
A Green Passport should thus contain an inventory of all the materials used in the construction of a ship that may be hazardous to human health. This passport will accompany a ship throughout its working life and will be updated to maintain its accuracy. Eventually, the passport will be delivered with the ship to the recycling yard.
Your company will need to fill out the questionnaire sent by your customer with information on the parts or products specified and return it to them. Presumably, your customer is a shipbuilder, and will use the information to compile a Green Passport for each ship built using your products. Leveraging third-party software like the Assent Compliance Platform can help facilitate the necessary data collection to ensure you are providing accurate information to your customers.
Question: I am trying to create a declaration using the IPC-1752A standard, but I do not have access to information about the weights of some of the parts. What is the best way to approach this situation? Should I use a “dummy” weight (e.g. 0.01 mg) when I do not know the actual weight?
Answer — Valerie Kuntz: No. Using a dummy weight would raise concerns about the validity of your declaration. What’s more, that specific dummy weight may put a substance below threshold when it would not otherwise be based on its true weight. This would lead to inaccurate information being passed through the supply chain.
For IPC-1752A, I recommend using the minimum concentration and maximum concentration in a Class D full material disclosure (FMD) if the actual weight is unknown rather than use a dummy weight. For a Class C declaration, there is no option for minimum or maximum concentration, but mass percentage or concentration could be used to estimate the weight.
Validity is still a concern, but only substances over the threshold would need to be included on the declaration, and having a percentage would more accurately approximate the substance amount present.
Question: Is the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation similar to U.S conflict minerals legislation, such as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act? What are the key differences?
Answer — Jared Connors: Yes, they are very similar. One significant difference between the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation and Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act is that the EU regulation will apply to all conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs) of the world, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Great Lakes Region, while the Dodd-Frank Act does not
There are also additional differences in how the regulations address the due diligence process. However, global expectations on this issue seem to be converging. Moving forward, it seems likely that a common standard practice and set of expectations will emerge.
Question: In response to a Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) request, one of my company’s metal suppliers stated they do not melt tungsten ore, but grind it and then compress it under heat and pressure in a specific forming process. Because of this, they state it is impossible to identify smelters. What should my company do in this situation?
Answer — Jared Connors: Because tungsten may not be melted down the same way as tin solder, for instance, there is often confusion about how the information necessary for a CMRT can be gathered. It is still possible to track the sources, though — after all, the tungsten had to come from somewhere!
It often helps to break down the delivery of the metal and consider where it originated. In this case, it seems likely the supplier is grinding ingots rather than the ore itself. Those ingots had to originate from a facility that removes impurities — in other words, a smelter.
For more questions and answers, visit the last edition of Assent’s Ask the Experts blog.
Assent’s regulatory subject matter experts frequently participate in events such as webinars to educate compliance professionals. They also inform our clients’ regulatory programs. To learn more, contact us today.