EU Reach Resources

Your Guide to Managing REACH and SVHC Across the Global Supply Chain

The EU REACH regulation is the European Union’s principal regulatory framework for managing chemical substances. It is in force in 28 member states and directly affects more than 500 million people in the EU. Adopted on 18 December 2006, it sets out requirements for the control of chemicals throughout the EU. While some provisions came into force on 1 June 2007, the regulation has been implemented in phases, spanning a period of more than 10 years. 

The broad intent of the REACH regime is to create a single, comprehensive, overarching governmental oversight of all new and existing chemicals, subject to qualification exemptions. The scope includes the entire lifecycle of chemicals including their design and production.

REACH Timeframes

The last of three major registration deadlines under REACH is 31 May 2018.  From that date on REACH’s “No Data, No Market” clause under Article 5 takes full effect.  All substances in scope will be subject to registration and the lengthy process that it entails before they can be placed on the EU market.

The REACH registration deadline of 31 May 2018 applies to companies that manufacture from within the EU or import from outside the EU in low volumes ranging from 1 tonne to no more than 100 tonnes a year. Pre-registration of the substance is also a requirement. For companies that have not yet pre-registered, a late pre-registration may be an option until 31 May 2017. The impact of companies selling through their downstream supply chain into the EU will be discussed below.

Simultaneously, under REACH’s Title VII authorization scheme, Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) have been continuously added to the candidate list every six months since 2008. The addition of a substance to the list is the first step in the authorization process and can lead to a possible sunset date after which the substance is forbidden on the European market. 

Companies may have immediate legal obligations when a chemical is added to the list. Having a source of updated regulatory data and regulatory monitoring can help manufacturers assure compliance.

The Impact of REACH

REACH affects all companies that fit into one of two categories: 

  1. Those directly doing business in the EU
  2. Those selling through their downstream supply chain into the EU 

REACH applies in principal to all chemical substances employed in the EU, including those used in industrial processes and also those used as part of consumers’ day-to-day lives. Examples include cleaning products, paints and articles such as clothes, furniture and electrical appliances. 

REACH requires and encourages communication up and down the supply chain, all the way to the consumer level, and it makes manufacturers responsible for their suppliers.  

Failure to work up and down the supply chain can carry a risk—loss of business. A SVHC can be given a sunset date which, barring the granting of an authorization, will lead to a ban of its use in the EU. It is also possible to have restrictions or authorizations for a specific use, sometimes on a temporary basis, as safer alternatives are sought. 

In the long run, communication up and down the supply chain in a timely manner ensures the most hazardous substances are substituted with less hazardous ones before any loss of business. If a manufacturer or distributor is unable to get required information from their supplier, they may decide to stop purchasing from that supplier. This possibility can motivate many suppliers to be compliant before any EU member state REACH enforcement action can result in an even greater loss. The goal once hazards have been identified and prioritized is to test and substitute substances appropriately.

Private and international suppliers, distributors, importers and others have often been required to field a massive number of information requests from the companies subject to REACH. Companies often do not have visibility into their own supply chains beyond their direct relationships so these requests entail a great deal of work, potentially requiring support to be compliant.

3ESC® Supply Chain Solutions enable the collection, validation, enrichment and contextualization of supplier data required for continuous REACH and REACH SVHC supply chain compliance. 

REACH Registration Requirements

REACH requires all duly pre-registered substances manufactured or imported in the EU annually, within the 1-100 metric tonne range, to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by 31 May 2018. New substances that were not pre-registered must be registered immediately or must not be used. 

Registration is a process that has associated cost, time and required collaboration to reduce animal testing. Once registered, each substance registration comes with a unique ECHA assigned number held by the company that registered it. The number in full or in part is for use on the REACH compliant Extended Safety Data Sheet (eSDS) and used to prove registration compliance to the supply chain. A registration number is required for each legal entity.

Some manufacturers are willing to share their registration number with their customers strategically, or share it after passing on the cost of the registration. In sharing registration–however, there are more requirements for information up and down the supply chain for things like use and amount imported into the EU. 

Downstream users may then have their own restrictions on whom they can purchase from if they do not seek and own the registration themselves. For example, they may find themselves restricted to buying only from suppliers that offered to share their registration and to whom they have exchanged use data.

3E’s Regulatory Consulting team can work closely with you to identify, analyze and address your organization’s registration and other REACH requirements.

REACH Substances of Very High Concern

Registration of existing and new substances is not the only component of REACH compliance. Special attention must be given to the growing and evolving list of REACH SVHC. The SVHC candidate list grows every six months, and suppliers of articles must supply information for the safe use of articles containing a SVHC with 0.1 percent weight by weight (w/w) or more. 

EU consumer inquiries regarding the presence of an SVHC in a product must be answered within 45 days. Companies should immediately gather and validate supply chain data to prepare for consumer demand as well as for immediate customer reporting obligations. Article 33 requires any supplier of an article containing a SVHC on the 'Candidate List' in a concentration above 0.1 percent weight by weight (w/w) to provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information to allow safe use of the article.  

Manufacturers combining articles into a complex product of assembled articles have been given clarification from the courts. The 0.1 percent weight by weight (w/w) threshold applies to an original article which is a component within a more complex assembly of articles. 

Tight timeframes and the addition of new SVHC bi-annually make it likely a manufacturer will require a supplier to make a full material disclosure (FMD) via an Ingredient Disclosure request.  

Challenges to compliance include communicating with suppliers, fielding requests, changing contracts, making public statements regarding REACH and educating suppliers as to why this information is necessary. It is especially challenging to do this across time zones in different languages and in cases where proprietary information is at stake. 3ESC can streamline this exchange of information, making it seamless to the customer and supplier.

How 3E Can Help

3ESC Supply Chain Solutions streamline the exchange of material, product and supplier information throughout the global supply chain. 3ESC can stand as your single source of truth for supply chain compliance, creating an intelligent and actionable knowledge base for the origins, makeup and compliance status of your substances, components and products. 3ESC collects, validates and manages compliance documentation regarding EU REACH, enabling you to assess requirements and declarations of SVHCs required by Article 33.

3E’s expert Authoring Services team offers exposure scenario authoring services to alleviate the burden of producing lengthy and complex REACH-compliant eSDS documents for customers. 3E can author eSDSs for both substances and mixtures. We offer support for the latest industry-sector Safe Use Mixture Information (SUMI) approach and templates, expertise with the universal Lead Component Identification (LCID) methodology and a complete, ready-to-use, high-quality Exposure Scenario Phrase Library containing phrases translated into European Economic Area (EEA) languages.

To address REACH requirements, our Regulatory Consulting Services staff can serve as an extension of your own team, reducing the burden on your internal resources, decreasing the workload of compliance personnel and bridging any gaps in regulatory knowledge. We can leverage our industry-leading content, expertise and products to develop practical, effective compliance programs designed specifically to meet the needs of your organization.

You can learn more about REACH and SVHC in the following resources:

The Rule

REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) No. 1907/2006 
REACH ECHA Resource Page
REACH European Commission Resource Page
REACH ECHA Candidate List for Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for Authorization

3E Webinars On Demand

Strategies for Supply Chain Material Compliance Success
REACH in Asia - What You Need to Know
Preparing your Business for the Upcoming Changes in CLP Compliance
Meeting your Downstream REACH Obligations with 3E Online

Articles

Understanding Asian Green Chemistry Regulations: Chemical Substitutions

3E EH&S Expressions Blog

SVHC Expansion & the Impacts to Your Supply Chain

Supplier Resources

3ESC offers a comprehensive service to help your organization comply with REACH and REACH SVHC regulations. 3E leverages its global supplier network to quickly identify critical REACH contacts within your supply chain. Our experienced in-house obtainment team reaches deep into your supplier base for supplier and product level data. The data is securely stored in 3ESC’s industry leading web-based software platform, which can feed into your ERP system. 

3ESC’s REACH compliance program enables your organization to quickly respond to and fulfill REACH requests from your downstream customers. 3ESC also supplements the existing list of SVHC chemicals, as provided by Ariel WebInsight, by integrating new and proposed SVHC chemicals into the 3ESC Regulatory Monitoring notification system. Regulatory Consulting REACH Services are also available where registration or custom knowledge may be needed. At a fraction of the cost to manage the program in-house, your organization can partner with 3ESC and launch your REACH compliance program today