SCIP Webinar analyses new and persisting reporting challenges in Germany

The troubles around the ECHA SCIP Database for industry have reached a new dimension in Germany with a surprising amendment to the German Chemicals Act (ChemG) published at the end of last year. On 22 February 2024 the Component Obsolescence Group Deutschland (COGD), a cluster of over 170 companies – in collaboration with COGD’s contractor REACHLaw – took this opportunity to invite for an open webinar to analyse the consequences of the new German SCIP provisions, take stock of persisting reporting challenges for electronics manufacturers and look at possible future solutions, including the Digital Product Passport (DPP) under the pending new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). The webinar gathered more than 120 participants from industry and NGO ClientEarth.

The introductory presentation was provided by Joachim Tosberg, Life Cycle Manager at the German-International electronics company group RAFI and Vice-Chairman of the COGD. He recalled the objectives of SCIP according to the revised EU Waste Framework Directive from 2018 and explained the link of obsolescence management and SCIP.

In his legal review our Senior Legal Advisor Tim Becker introduced and analysed the new SCIP provisions under the German ChemG. They include a detailed 10-point codification of the SCIP data that article suppliers should provide for the ECHA SCIP Database, and an associated new sanction provision for SCIP violations. Tim concluded that the wording of Section 16f(1)1 ChemG as amended goes not only beyond REACH Article 33(1) but also beyond ECHA requirements in several aspects, creating a precedent not seen in other EU Member States provisions transposing SCIP to date. He recommended that the German authorities would urgently clarify towards industry whether and to what extent this sudden change presents new requirements for duty holders or just confirms existing ECHA rules.

Another “hot topic” was once again the “Representative Article Approach”, which foresees the reporting of a fictitious product representing a “worst-case” composition in terms of Candidate List SVHCs contained to the SCIP Database in complex cases, such as multiple sourcing of components for electronics manufacturing. Given the legal concerns with respect to REACH Article 33 this approach is currently not recommended or explicitly supported (to REACHLaw’s knowledge) by EU/national authorities. On the other hand, duty holders (especially SMEs) may have no other choice to tackle their reporting duty with a proportionate effort, and avoid flooding the SCIP Database with notifications that cannot anyway be found by the targeted waste operators and consumers. Tim also recalled the legal limitation of “Impossibilium Nulla Obligatio Est” here, no one can be obliged to do the impossible, which can also be invoked before European courts.

A third key point of discussion circled around the possibilities to improve the current situation of reporting on substances in articles. Based on his starting point that as of today the SCIP Database is a “gigantic data tomb”, Dr. Wolfgang Heinbach, Partner SYLIOM Unternehmensberatung Dr. Heinbach, Steinleitner und Partner, Member of the COGD Board and Vice President of the International Institute of Obsolescence Management (IIOM) presented a range of constructive proposals aiming to make the SCIP Database useful. These would require that the data in the SCIP database are reliable, it is possible to find the right entry, the responsibility for correct entry is with the source, and companies can access SCIP data via an automatic interface (API). It should also be made possible to declare the SCIP Number to meet the REACH Article 33 duty. Benefits of Full Material Declarations (FMDs) in supply chains instead of reporting only Candidate List substances as required under REACH Article 33 and SCIP today are seen but there are numerous challenges in practice to implement such ambitious approach at broader scale.   

Eduard Wagner from IZM Fraunhofer presented the status and next steps for the CIRPASS project, which is doing preparatory work for the future deployment of the DPP on behalf of the European Commission; as part of his presentation he also put the existing SCIP Database and EPREL (European Product Registry for Energy Labels) in context.

In conclusion, Joachim Tosberg recalled the need for communication and collaboration across stakeholder groups (industry, authorities, NGOs, experts) in order to find future solutions which work and do not overburden industry and expose them to legal and commercial risks without a corresponding benefit.

For further information about the webinar, please contact Tim Becker: For access to the webinar materials please contact:  

Link to the recording here:  240222.COGD Webinar Änderungen Chemikaliengesetz.mp4

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