What U.S.-Side Suppliers Need to Know about Certain Substances Bound for the EU
It is common knowledge that the EU seeks to embrace a wider transition to a green economy, and this fact can be seen in, among other initiatives, the European Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC).
Under the European Waste Framework Directive (WFD), there are reporting requirements for companies (certain duty holders) who introduce Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) into the European Union. Generally, Substances of Very High Concern include substances which are:
Toxic for reproduction,
Persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic (PBT),
Other substances for which there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment (evaluated on a case-by-case basis).
While a significant number of such substances are identified and “listed” for reporting requirements by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) based in Helsinki, the list is not closed, meaning that non-listed substances subject to ongoing scientific analysis may be added over time.
Under the Directive, duty holders must utilize the awkwardly named Substances of Concern in Articles as such or in Complex Objects (Products) (known as the SCIP database) to report the introduction of SVHC into Europe (more on reporting obligations below).
The purpose of the reporting requirement is, first, to reduce reliance on SVHC, and to substitute SVHC with safer alternatives where possible. Where substitutes are not currently available, SCIP reporting serves to increase transparency in the full supply chain for SVHC-containing materials and products, including at the waste or recycling stage.
Under the EU’s reporting framework, certain duty holders must report via the SCIP database articles containing SVHC above a certain threshold (currently, SVHC content greater than 0.1% weight by weight of the article).
Duty holders include:
EU Producers and Importers,
EU Distributers (not including retailers selling strictly to consumers).
Notice this does not include U.S.-side exporters or suppliers. There is currently no reporting obligation on exporters or suppliers outside the EU. There is however, an expectation that exporters and suppliers outside the EU will assist in facilitating the reporting by duty holders within the EU.
To this end, U.S.-side exporters and suppliers are encouraged to provide their EU counterparts with SCIP-reportable information, including:
Safe use information
SVHC(s) in the article
SVHC concentration range in the article
Within the U.S. then, who is the best position to support EU-side SCIP reporting? Presumably the last hands on SVHC or SVHC-containing articles before export, but this will depend on the supply chain and the relationship(s) between manufacturers, suppliers, and importers. It should be kept in mind that SCIP reporting can be complex, with such caveats as the hierarchy of a SCIP notification (for complex objects, comprised of a number of component articles) and “grouping” of identical and “quasi-identical” articles. Therefore, U.S. companies producing or supplying SVHC-containing materials or articles to Europe should be prepared to work with their counterparts in Europe to facilitate a streamlined reporting process.
If you have questions about EU SCIP reporting requirements, or about exports in general, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please feel free to browse our firm’s helpful import/export-related video guides covering a number of other topics on our dedicated YouTube Channel.