Skip the SCIP: easing of requi­re­ments for manu­fac­tu­r­ers, dis­tri­bu­tors and assemblers

SCIP noti­fi­ca­ti­on as of Janu­ary 2021

As of 5 Janu­ary 2021, sub­s­tances of very high con­cern (SVHCs) must be regis­tered in the SCIP data­ba­se if they appear in a pro­duct in con­cen­tra­ti­ons of 0.1 per­cent weight-by-weight or hig­her. The ECHA has alre­a­dy recei­ved more than 50,000 noti­fi­ca­ti­ons (PDF) sin­ce the SCIP data­ba­se went online on 28 Octo­ber 2020.

The object of the SCIP data­ba­se is to coll­ect and pro­vi­de infor­ma­ti­on about the­se sub­s­tances over the who­le life cycle of a pro­duct. The duty to sub­mit noti­fi­ca­ti­ons to the SCIP data­ba­se appli­es to all com­pa­nies (manu­fac­tu­r­ers, importers, dis­tri­bu­tors and other ope­ra­tors (sup­pli­ers), cf. Artic­le 3 of the REACH Regu­la­ti­on) which sup­p­ly such pro­ducts to the EU mar­ket. This sys­tem allows the SCIP data­ba­se to coll­ect infor­ma­ti­on rela­ting to the use of SVHCs all along the sup­p­ly chain. Such a method is also prac­ti­ced e.g. in the auto­mo­ti­ve indus­try, through the (vol­un­t­a­ry) Inter­na­tio­nal Mate­ri­al Data Sys­tem (IMDS) (only in German).

Noti­fi­ca­ti­ons are typi­cal­ly made by com­pi­ling a dos­sier using the IUCLID sys­tem, which is then trans­mit­ted to the ECHA. The ECHA then reviews the dos­sier and issues a SCIP number.

Sim­pli­fied SCIP Notification

Pro­duct manu­fac­tu­r­ers and importers are requi­red to pro­vi­de a full SCIP noti­fi­ca­ti­on. But dis­tri­bu­tors which mere­ly buy such a pro­duct and then sell the exact same pro­duct are not requi­red to sub­mit a new and inde­pen­dent dos­sier to the ECHA. Ins­tead, they need only make refe­rence to the sup­pli­er’s noti­fi­ca­ti­on by means of a Sim­pli­fied SCIP Noti­fi­ca­ti­on (SSN). Dis­tri­bu­tors are also not requi­red to update their SCIP ent­ry, as this requi­re­ment also falls to the pro­duct manu­fac­tu­rer or importer.

Refe­ren­cing

Simi­lar­ly, the requi­re­ments for manu­fac­tu­r­ers and assem­blers may also be eased by the opti­on of making refe­rence to exis­ting SCIP noti­fi­ca­ti­ons (“refe­ren­cing”). This appli­es in situa­tions in which an artic­le for which a noti­fi­ca­ti­on is requi­red is part of a more com­plex (final) pro­duct but the phy­si­cal form and com­po­si­ti­on of the con­sti­tu­ent artic­le are unch­an­ged. In such cases, the manu­fac­tu­rer and assem­bler are still requi­red to sub­mit a SCIP noti­fi­ca­ti­on for the final pro­duct. But in that noti­fi­ca­ti­on, they can sim­ply make refe­rence to the SCIP num­bers assi­gned for the indi­vi­du­al artic­les for which noti­fi­ca­ti­ons have alre­a­dy been submitted.

Impact on the for­mu­la­ti­on of con­tracts in the sup­p­ly chain and recom­men­ded actions

Com­pi­ling the rele­vant infor­ma­ti­on and moni­to­ring com­pli­ance within the sup­p­ly chain may be expen­si­ve and could take some time. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween the various ope­ra­tors is the­r­e­fo­re of essen­ti­al importance. Vio­la­ti­ons of the noti­fi­ca­ti­on requi­re­ments invol­ve enorm­ous risks, ran­ging from fines to pro­duct recalls.

The­se risks should be miti­ga­ted by con­trac­tu­al means, if pos­si­ble. After all, even in the cases explai­ned abo­ve in which noti­fi­ca­ti­on requi­re­ments are eased, ope­ra­tors are still respon­si­ble for veri­fy­ing the accu­ra­cy of infor­ma­ti­on pro­vi­ded by upstream mar­ket ope­ra­tors. A con­trac­tu­al clau­se pro­vi­ding for a limi­ta­ti­on of lia­bi­li­ty or indem­ni­fi­ca­ti­on may limit the pos­si­ble finan­cial con­se­quen­ces, at the very least.

Moreo­ver, the­re is no legal cla­im to trans­fer of the infor­ma­ti­on which manu­fac­tu­r­ers, assem­blers or dis­tri­bu­tors would requi­re in order to veri­fy accu­ra­cy or take advan­ta­ge of cases whe­re noti­fi­ca­ti­on requi­re­ments are eased. Upstream mar­ket ope­ra­tors can only be requi­red to do so by a con­trac­tu­al clau­se to this effect.

Accor­din­gly, the duty to sub­mit noti­fi­ca­ti­ons to the SCIP data­ba­se should be taken as an occa­si­on to exami­ne not only a com­pany’s pro­ducts but also its con­trac­tu­al rela­ti­onships in the sup­p­ly chain.

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