Skip to main content

EU traceability of substances in articles: supply chain communication challenges and the perspective of full material declaration (FMD)

Julian Schenten, Martin Führ and Leonie Lennartz

elni Review 2018, Issue 2, pp. 32-38. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2018.007

Companies producing or importing articles (or parts thereof) as well as retailers are facing new challenges coming from societal demands and expectations directed at transparency of (problematic) substances in articles (SiA), and the overall “sustainability” of supply chain operations. Legislation on chemicals in the EU (e.g., REACH) and beyond stipulating legal SiA requirements reflect these developments. In addition, with a view to eliminating problematic substances in material circles, the recently amended Waste Framework Directive requires, from January 2021 on, companies placing articles on the European Economic Area (EEA) market to report to authorities the presence of substances of very high concern (SVHC) above a certain threshold in such articles. ´
Chemical compliance management is not part of the core business for many companies. Many actors perceive related challenges as an overwhelming task. IT-based solutions offer opportunities to establish a systematic approach to transparency and traceability of SiA within complex global supply chains. In order to “be prepared” for future legislation, the long-term vision of a Full Material Declaration (FMD) is a promising approach. This way, firms can meet their present requirements from law as well as from sectoral or company specifications, and can prepare for future requirements. 
This article compares supply chain communication requirements and needs on the one hand and actual practice on the other in order to subsequently identify the respective delta. The article also introduces FMD as a strategy to overcome the delta and shows development perspectives for existing approaches. Finally, after drawing conclusions, the article formulates recommendations for EU policies.

Access full article

References

  1. Regulation (EC) no 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC, OJ 2006 L 396/1.
  2. Regulation (EC) no 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, OJ 2008 L 353/1.
  3. Führ and Schenten 2019, Supply chain communication, in Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71062-4_36-1.
  4. Europäische Kommission, 2018, Mitteilung Der Kommission An Das Europäische Parlament, Den Rat, Den Europäischen Wirtschafts- Und Sozialausschuss Und Den Ausschuss Der Regionen, über die Umsetzung des Pakets zur Kreislaufwirtschaft: Optionen zur Regelung der Schnittstelle zwischen Chemikalien-, Produkt- und Abfallrecht, COM(2018) 32.
  5. Council of the EU, 2018, Delivering on the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy, council conclusions, 10447/18.
  6. LIFE AskREACH - Enabling REACH consumer information rights on chemicals in articles by IT-tools (No. LIFE16 GIE/DE/000738).
  7. “Proposition 65” (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) in California.
  8. ECHA, Liste der für eine Zulassung in Frage kommenden besonders besorgniserregenden Stoffe (veröffentlicht gemäß Artikel 59 Absatz 10 der REACH-Verordnung).
  9. ECHA 2013, SVHC Roadmap to 2020 Implementation Plan.
  10. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2015, Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 10 September 2015. Fédération des entreprises du commerce et de la distribution (FCD) and Fédération des magasins de bricolage et de l’aménagement de la maison (FMB) v Ministre de l’écologie, du développement durable et de lʼénergie Request for a preliminary ruling from the Conseil d'État (France) Reference for a preliminary ruling — Environment and protection of human health — Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH Regulation) — Articles 7(2) and 33 — Substances of very high concern present in articles — Duties to notify and provide information — Calculation of threshold of 0.1% weight by weight Case C-106/14.
  11. ECHA 2017, Guidance on requirements for substances in articles, Vers. 4, ECHA-17-G-19-EN, Helsinki.
  12. Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, OJ 2018 L 150/109.
  13. Führ 2018, The modern Augean stable. Cleaning up and detoxing product-related industrial material flows.
  14. Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, OJ 2011 L 174/88.
  15. Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), OJ 2012 L 197/38. 
  16. Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys, OJ 2009 L 170/1.
  17. Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety, OJ 2002 L 11/4.
  18. OECD 2018: Outline of a Focus Session on Information Systems on Chemicals in Products to Facilitate Risk Management. 58th Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology, 1. October, ENV/JM(2018)32.
  19. Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products, OJ 1985 L 210/29 amended by Directive 1999/34/EC, OJ 1999 L 141/20.
  20. Schenten, Führ and Bizer 2017, Overcoming Nanomaterial Uncertainties: A Responsive Governance Framework, in v. Matthis (ed.): Economic Analysis of Law in European Legal Scholarship (Vol. 4), Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50932-7_11.
  21. Reihlen and Halliday 2017, Scientific and technical support for collecting information on and reviewing available tools to track hazardous substances in articles with a view to improve the implementation and enforcement of Article 33 of REACH, prepared for DG Environment (Sustainable Chemicals), Luxembourg.
  22. Kleihauer, Führ and Schenten, 2019, Marktchancen für "nachhaltigere Chemie" durch die REACH-Verordnung. Sustainable Sporting Goods – SuSport, sofia Studien zur Institutionenanalyse, Darmstadt.
  23. Lahl and Zeschmar-Lahl 2013, Risk based management of chemicals and products in a circular economy at a global scale (risk cycle), extended producer responsibility and EU legislation. Environmental Sciences Europe 2013 25:3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/2190-4715-25-3.
  24. Bernard, Chemicals in material cycles: how EU law needs adjustments for the transition to an environmentally beneficial circular economy, elni 2017(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2017.008.
  25. Di Mauro et al., Offshoring and backshoring: A multiple case study analysis, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management 2018 (Vol. 24), pp. 108-134. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pursup.2017.07.003.
  26. ZDHC 2015, Manufacturing Restricted Substances List Version 1.1.
  27. H&M 2017, Restricted Substance List - Apparel |Accessories | Footwear | Home Interior Textile Products, Valid for all brands in H&M group.
  28. ECHA, Report on the Operation of REACH and CLP 2016, Ref. ECHA-16-R-08-EN, pp. 136, 13.
  29. European Commission, 2018, Commission Staff Working Document Accompanying The Document Communication From The Commission To The European Parliament, The Council And The European Economic And Social Committee, SWD(2018) 58 final.
  30. Chemical Watch, 2016, Nike supply chain carried out almost 500,000 chemical tests in 2015.
  31. Chemical Watch 2018, Chemicals Management Software Guide, 2nd ed.
  32. ACEA et al., Automotive Industry Guidance of REACH V. 4.0.
  33. ZVEI 2015, Material Declarations Within the Supply Chain. Guideline, Frankfurt.
  34. Frimann 2009, Electronic Components Meeting Homogeneous Requirements.
  35. Chemical Watch, 2018, Cross-sector initiative sets full materials disclosure goal.