The Enforcement Forum of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has determined that its new EU-wide enforcement project will focus on compliance with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation for all products imported into the EU. This project will be the priority focus for ECHA and member state border authorities for 2023 to 2025, and companies without defensible REACH compliance data will face increased risk of delayed shipments, disrupted production, and failure to meet customer delivery expectations.
This new enforcement project is prompted, at least in part, by an ECHA pilot project in which 1,389 different product lines were inspected and 23% of them were found to be non-compliant. This significant finding indicated that more stringent controls are necessary going forward, accelerating the EU’s stance of zero tolerance for non-compliance under the Chemical Sustainability Strategy.
What Should Businesses Expect?
Businesses should expect a dramatic increase in the number of products inspected at the border, with customs authorities demanding compliance documentation for the REACH Regulation. Importers will need to survey their supply chains to track and report on the presence of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in products and articles entering the EU.
Compliance obligations include being able to report on the presence and percent weight by weight (w/w) of SVHCs in articles, providing safe handling information, and having documented authorization for substances on ECHA’s Authorisation List. All of this documentation will need to be on hand for anything entering the EU market or products will be blocked at customs and require costly segregation into bonded warehouses.
Download The REACH Handbook to learn more about your requirements from Assent’s compliance experts.
Above and beyond REACH compliance data, importers should also be prepared to show compliance data for other EU product compliance legislation, such as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive or EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD). This is because enforcement authorities consider non-compliance with one of these laws to be a strong indicator of non-compliance across related regulations. For example, if an importer is non-compliant with REACH SVHC communication requirements, authorities will likely also investigate them for non-compliance with submission obligations related to the Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects (Products) (SCIP) database.
Strategies for REACH Enforcement Project Compliance
Because supply chain data is the foundation of REACH, RoHS, and WFD compliance (among many others), importers should take a holistic approach to product compliance, focusing on substance data from the supply chain and applying it broadly to EU product safety requirements. Rather than implementing a point solution for REACH compliance, importers will be best served by establishing a due diligence process to demonstrate that every product entering the EU market — including all parts and materials — have readily-available evidence of compliance.
This process could include educating suppliers on the importance of sharing product data, implementing a platform to securely share product compliance data, and processes to monitor the ECHA substance lists, which are updated every six months.
Assent’s supply chain sustainability management solution streamlines supplier outreach and SVHC data collection, giving you the data needed to demonstrate due diligence if you’re investigated by customs authorities or other enforcement bodies. In addition, our compliance experts support your program by keeping it up to date with the latest SVHC list changes. Our deep and hands-on experience with many different enforcement scenarios helps ensure your rapid and continued access to the EU market.
To learn more about Assent’s supply chain sustainability management solution, get in touch at email@example.com.