The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has released preliminary details on the upcoming substances database mandated under the European Union (EU) Waste Framework Directive (WFD). The purpose of the database — known as the Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex Products (SCIP) — is to promote a safe, circular economy by increasing  product composition transparency for waste operators and consumers. As such, information submitted to the database will be publicly available. For details on the announcement, see our article, The ECHA Announces SCIP Database for Improved Transparency on Hazardous Substances in Articles.

Where to Focus Attention

To collect, organize and report the required data by the deadline on January 5, 2021, companies must take immediate action. However, many organizations are unsure how to proceed with their SCIP compliance because stakeholders are still advocating for change to the legislation and member states have significant time to implement local acts, which could lead to amendments.

During the ECHA SCIP Stakeholder Event on November 12, 2019, members of the IT User expert group, including Assent Compliance, developed more detailed planning steps for SCIP implementation:

  1. Identify which of your products contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).
  2. Engage with your EU-based suppliers to ensure they have registered accounts on the EU REACH-IT system, enabling them to make submissions for products containing SVHCs.
  3. Engage with your suppliers based outside of the EU to understand reporting implications, as the first EU importer is responsible for submitting to the database on their behalf.
  4. Create an EU REACH-IT Account.
  5. Take time to understand expanded SVHC submission requirements under ECHA SCIP, which requires additional data at the article and substance level.
    • Note that the ECHA has published the required XSD format, revealing how the additional data should be collated and structured. Currently, this XSD format is only viewable with an XML viewing application.
    • The ECHA will update the existing International Uniform Chemical Information Database (IUCLID) tools in 2020 to include reporting at the article level.
    • Data on SVHC concentration range will only be presented on the submission for the article where the SVHC is identified.
  6. Prepare internal processes to collect the additional data and manage reporting into the database.
  7. Compile data ahead of the submission deadline on January 5, 2021.

The Political Context

Recent parliamentary elections in May 2019 provide insight into how upcoming legislation, including submission requirements for the SCIP, will be shaped. A significant increase in parliamentary members affiliated with a green party suggests more attention will be given to environmental issues. This includes a greater push for restrictions on toxic chemical use in favor of non-hazardous alternatives.

The EU has already committed to increasing regulatory enforcement in 2019, so businesses should expect requirements related to the SCIP to be closely monitored and enforced. Additionally, because submitted data will be publicly available, companies should prepare for increased pressure from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other activist groups.

Given these factors, companies should expect more stringent regulatory requirements, especially for those manufacturing products outside of the EU as they will now be expected to provide SVHC data down to the article-level to support their European importers/sellers.

Possible Amendments 

Some companies and industry representatives are formally objecting to the ECHA’s proposed submission fields with many opposing the requirement for non-EU companies to provide information to the article-level, which will substantially increase reporting time, and the fact that information will be made public.

Despite these concerns, the ECHA is tasked with ensuring waste containing SVHCs is handled with appropriate control measures and enabling the development of a circular economy by removing toxic chemicals over time. As a result, the ECHA has been working with member states to amend Article 9(2) of the EU WFD 2018/851 to reflect the need to collect more data.

During the November stakeholder event, the ECHA described how confidential business information may be controlled within the system, and urged companies to consider the data they present in their final dossier submissions.

Regardless of whether the ECHA amends these requirements before the deadline, businesses should continue to prepare based on the available information.

Key Dates to Watch for More Information

October 1, 2019 ECHA presented initial database flows for the ECHA SCIP database to the ECHA SCIP IT-User group.
November 5, 2019 ECHA presented the XSD data to the ECHA SCIP IT User group.
November 12, 2019 ECHA held second stakeholder event relating to the ECHA SCIP database.
December 5, 2019 ECHA SCIP IT User Group to review design and feedback comments.
February 2020 Expected release for preliminary ECHA test database.
June or July 2020 Expected time frame for test database to be available to connect to and provide data. Test system will be provided to IT solution providers to connect and test the system using system-to-system communications.
July 5, 2020 All member states are expected to have implemented all applicable local delegated acts regarding EU WFD.
July 20, 2020 Expected date of EU Waste Framework Directive 2018/851, Article 9(2), which clearly states the need for ECHA to request additional data in relation to identified SVHCs.
January 5, 2021 ECHA SCIP database system will go live.

It is important to note these dates are subject to change due to numerous factors.

Assent participates in committees, attends stakeholder events, and represents multiple industries in trade association events related to EU WFD and the SCIP. For the latest information on database requirements, visit Assent’s blog, and for details on how Assent can help you collect necessary supply chain data, contact our experts.

James Calder
SVP, Strategic Channels & Corporate Development

James leads the Corporate Development function at Assent, creating and executing on strategies to increase strategic partnerships and channel sales, and identify growth opportunities through mergers  Read More

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