Since our last news article on the SCIP database in November 2020, a lot has changed. Since January 5, 2021, there is an obligation for suppliers of articles to provide relevant information on SVHCs (Substances of very high concern) in the so-called SCIP database of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). In the first month, ECHA received 6.6 million notifications from around 3,000 legal entities. Still, many questions remain unanswered.
Version 1.0 of the SCIP database ultimately went live (only) on November 28, 2020, meaning it was only from that date that companies were able to enter real data at all. All previous entries in the database prototype were irrevocably deleted at that time.
The planned facilitation of the entry of information, e.g. through references to entries already created by a (pre-)supplier (so-called "simplified notification" or "referencing") have now been largely clarified.
The deadline for transposition of the requirements under Art. 9 (1)(i) of the Waste Framework Directive 2018/851/EU into national law of the Member States had already expired on July 5, 2020. The German implementation took place with publication in the Federal Law Gazette on October 28, 2020. Instead of, as originally planned, in the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrWG), a statutory regulation through the newly inserted Section 16f ChemG was preferred. However, the statutory order planned under Section 16f (2) ChemG, which is intended to specify in more detail how and with what requirements the obligation under paragraph 1 is to be fulfilled, taking into account the specifications for the database developed at Union level, is still awaited.
In other Member States, too, there is no agreement on the implementation of the requirements. As in Germany, the database itself remains unmentioned in Austria, France, Romania, Latvia and the Netherlands. In Poland, Hungary and Spain, implementation is still completely unclear.
This inconsistent implementation, coupled with unclear enforcement and competition law risks, continue to keep the voices in favor of postponing the deadline. This is also supported by the so-called "protection of confidence" of the obligated suppliers, as there was barely a month to prepare and deal with technical modalities, alignment and set-up of the IT systems for automatic data transmission to avoid manual entries.
Nonetheless, despite the controversies that have been pointed out, non-compliance with the obligation standardized in Art. 9 (1)(i) of the Waste Framework Directive is not advisable, because non-compliance can have serious consequences for the obligated economic operators:
- "enforcement risks": the regulations constitute applicable law; there is a threat of enforcement by market surveillance authorities and sanctions for non-compliance
- "Competition risks": the classification of the submission of information to the SCIP database as a so-called "market conduct rule" is very likely; inspection of the SCIP database and warnings by competitors/environmental associations are conceivable
- "Economic risks": Pressure from within supply chains (keyword: "SCIP numbers").
How you can nevertheless prepare yourself in the best possible way for the obligations to be met, we explain in our webinar (in german)!