REACH: Innovative Solutions for Maintaining Compliance

REACH: Innovative Solutions for Maintaining Compliance

The European Union (EU) Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation is complex, and companies conducting business in Europe must meet numerous requirements.

REACH restricts the use of 197 Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) above a threshold of 0.1 percent within articles manufactured or imported into the EU. Companies must identify all SVHCs present in each article and provide this information to downstream companies. Historically, new substances have been added to the Candidate List of SVHCs every six months.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recommends leveraging technology to collect all the data required to comply with REACH:

“Certain IT systems and tools facilitate the communication and transfer of standardised information in complex supply chains and streamline information flow,” the agency wrote in its Guidance on requirements for substances in articles.

The Importance of Supply Chain Engagement

The ECHA has identified supply chain engagement as a critical aspect of successfully maintaining REACH compliance:

“Identifying substances in articles and quantifying their amounts is in many cases only possible if the respective information is made available by the actors in the supply chain. Supply chain communication is therefore the most important and efficient way of gathering the information needed in order to identify one’s obligations under REACH.”

This usually presents a challenge to businesses that employ labor-intensive methods, such as manual email campaigns and data validation.

 State of Compliance 2019

According to the State of Compliance 2019 report, a comprehensive survey of compliance professionals, 87 percent of companies that participated collected their data through manual email campaigns and 78 percent rely on manual processes, such as spreadsheets, to manage this data.

The study shows that many companies are transitioning to third-party tools to manage their programs, and those that do are significantly more satisfied. Mid-sized companies that rely on manual solutions reported a 43 percent satisfaction rate; however, companies of the same size that use third-party solutions reported a satisfaction rate of 75 percent. Larger enterprise companies were even more satisfied, with a satisfaction rate of 53 percent for manual programs compared to 82 percent for third-party solutions.

Some companies choose to develop their own software in order to meet their regulatory requirements. Mid-sized companies that use internal software solutions reported a program satisfaction rate of 47 percent, while enterprise businesses reported a 65 percent satisfaction rate.

Preparing for REACH

Companies that use manual programs may struggle to meet increased demands or adapt to changes to the regulation. Meanwhile, companies with a scalable compliance program will continue to operate effectively as they grow and the list of SVHCs increases. Ongoing improvements to technology allow companies to discover more efficient processes, and meet their evolving requirements without expending valuable resources.

Assent’s REACH Solution

Third-party solutions, such as the Assent Compliance Platform, can streamline the collection, validation and management of supply chain data.

Assent’s REACH Module automatically campaigns a company’s suppliers for data regarding substances on the REACH Candidate, Authorisation and Restricted Substances lists, enabling users to quickly identify and mitigate risks in their supply chains.

To learn more about our REACH Module, download our guide, Managing Supply Chain Data With the Assent Compliance Platform.