Severe penalties await companies in Germany which fail to comply with the country’s chemical safety regulations. This includes the consumer communication requirements under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation.
Under Article 33 of the Regulation, manufacturers must respond to requests for information from consumers about whether their finished products contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) in concentrations of greater than 0.1 percent. If a response is not given within 45 days of the request being received, the company may be liable for penalties of up to €50,000. Today there are approximately 7,000 companies in Germany at risk of non-compliance with Article 33, with very few responding to requests for information within the 45 day time limit, thereby exposing them to the possibility of significant fines.
Requesting SVHC Information from Your Supply Chain
While 45 days may seem like sufficient time to generate a response to the request for information, many companies find themselves in trouble when they realize they do not have the right supply chain information on-hand to answer the request. In the absence of existing information on the substances in their products, companies must rush to survey their supply chains and find accurate product information to bolster their response. However, this exercise alone can take longer than 45 days, let alone the additional time required to assess the data, compile the information and send it out to consumers. This leaves companies exposed to the real risk of financial penalties and associated legal action.
Technology and the Consumer’s ‘Right to Know’
Public knowledge of this right to request information from manufacturers remains limited, yet is showing signs of rapid growth. This has been fuelled by the rise of awareness-building initiatives and technologies which are encouraging companies to be more transparent.
A prominent example is the new Friends of the Earth ‘ToxFox’ mobile app, which allows consumers to send automated requests for information to manufacturers. Additionally, by allowing manufacturers to proactively upload their SVHC data to the app, companies can also use it to promote themselves as transparent. So far, some 30,000 requests for information have been sent to manufacturers through the app.
Partnering with Assent for REACH Compliance
Assent helps companies effortlessly monitor their compliance with REACH and other restricted substances regulations, including RoHS, Proposition 65 and more. To see first-hand how our REACH solution can help you stay compliant, book a free software demo here. Alternatively, contact our experts.