by Krista Botsford
Botsford EcoTech Partners LLC
en Franklin: “Nothing can be said to be certain WHAT’S EXPECTED IN 2010?
except death and taxes.” If Franklin were alive today,
Remember “2010: A Space Odyssey” and the question –
he would have many items to add to that statement.
“What’s going to happen now?” No one has a crystal ball
In the electronics industry – and its supply chains – to foresee the future, but there are some major changes
a contemporary item he would include is product proceeding within the global product environmental
environmental compliance. compliance space. The EU is revisiting the RoHS directive,
China is working on their first RoHS product catalog, and
Since the European Union (EU) passed the Restriction on many more jurisdictions are enacting take-back legislation for
the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste electronic waste.
Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives in
2003, the world has begun to pay more and more attention In addition to RoHS and WEEE-type legislations which
to product environmental compliance. Eco-Compliance focus on electronics, some jurisdictions are investigating
legislation impacting the electronics Industry and its supply and enacting more general regulations of chemicals and
chains has grown exponentially. Jurisdictions implementing substances within products. Legislations such as EU REACH
legislation that impacts the electronics industry include: and the California Green Chemistry Initiative focus on all
China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, products, not just electronics.
Columbia, Venezuela, Canada and United States of America.
Many are similar to the European Union’s legislation; but RoHS – European Union
none are using it verbatim. In the EU, the RoHS and WEEE directives are currently under
recast – the EU term for rewrite and review. The first reading
In addition to RoHS and WEEE legislations, the EU instituted is to be in early 2010. Some of the anticipated modifications
an updated regulation regarding chemicals, mixtures, and are:
articles. Registration, Evaluation, Authorization of Chemicals y Change in scope from specific categories to an open scope
Regulation (REACH) began affecting the electronics industry of all electronics unless specifically excluded
a few years ago, and has now become the basis for many y Recasting the RoHS Directive as a New Approach
compliance activities. Directive (CE Mark)
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“ I t ke e ps go i ng and going and going…”
The discussion of open-scope will eliminate the electronics industry and its supply chain, REACH impacts
misinterpretation of whether or not a particular product is all products. Though the main focus affects chemical and
within the scope of EU RoHS. The discussion of including mixture manufacturers, it does have requirements for articles
the RoHS directive within the New Approach directives will manufacturers (e.g. product manufacturers). There is still
significantly impact how companies approach compliance debate over whether or not to include sub-components of
going forward. If recast as a New Approach directive the products.
RoHS directive will then require products to have CE
certification and be labeled with the CE mark to indicate With REACH impacting the entire supply chain for
compliance. This means companies will need to maintain and all products, it has solidified the movement of product
be able to present supporting documentation to an auditor environmental compliance to a process based approach.
when asked. Some highlights of REACH are listed below. Look for more
information in the other articles in this issue for the specifics
RoHS – People’s Republic of China of REACH and its Substances of Very High
Also expected in the first half of 2010 is the publication of
China’s initial product catalog for its RoHS-type legislation. y Only a handful of SVHCs used within electronics
A draft of the product catalog was published for comment in y Additional substances expected to be added annually
October 2009. A brief comment period of 30 days allowed for
industry review and input. As part of the draft publication, y Information disclosure required where SVHCs are present
a timeline was given for publication of early 2010 – likely y Disclosure information for other substances once over
February. Within the draft, an implementation period of threshold amounts.
10 months was drafted. Based on this, if the draft catalog
is agreed to and published in early 2010, enforcement to the SUSTAINING COMPLIANCE
new catalog could happen as early as 01 January 2011.
When companies started working on RoHS compliance in
Products included within the draft catalog were listed as: 2002-2003, most were taking the approach of “we’re going
phones (land-line and mobile), computer printers and mobile to do this once and be done”. This is no longer the case: laws
terminals. For each of the products listed within the catalog, are constantly changing and methods used by enforcement
allowances for specific use of restricted substances were bodies are constantly evolving. The need for a process-based
listed. These are very similar, though not exactly the same, approach is vital. Companies must be able to sustain, maintain
as some of the exemptions allowed within the EU’s RoHS and adjust their program in a variety of ways. A proactive
Directive and its amendments. approach, not simply reacting to changes, is a must to stay on
the path of product environmental compliance.
Chemicals Regulation – EU REACH
The project-based approach of “one and done” has been
As product environmental compliance continues to expand, debunked by many companies. Companies now have teams
all roads are pointing towards chemicals regulation, of people working on product environment compliance, not
such as the EU’s REACH Regulation. Not unique to the just component engineers gathering data sheets. In 2008,
the Consumer Electronics Association
report estimated the amount spent on RoHS
compliance within the electronics industry
was over $32B USD. This amount was just
the amount spent on RoHS, not REACH
or WEEE. Since then, more and more
companies are working towards compliance
with more than just the EU RoHS directive.
Companies are dealing with regulation and
compliance in almost every industrialized
jurisdiction they ship product.
In Figure 1, the CEA estimation is expanded
to include all environmental compliance
legislation impacting products. The figure
represents an estimation and extrapolation
of the money spent per the CEA report by
Figure 1: Annual spend on meeting environmental compliance legislation electronics industry (and its supply chain)
108 IN Compliance 2010 Annual Guide www.incompliancemag.com
“It keeps going and going and goin g … ”
for each new, product-based environmental compliance As these best practices relate to implementing a process
legislation or regulation. REACH will eventually eclipse approach to compliance, the next three lessons learned and
RoHS – as more and more companies will demand full best practices all highlight the importance of the ultimate best
materials declaration from their supply chain to assist in practice – a process based approach.
the process-based approach for compliance with multiple
jurisdictions and legislations. The amount spent each year will Lesson 2: Be ready for an audit
continue to increase as laws continue to be enacted, revised
Audits are no longer just being done by government or
and expanded around the globe. Implementing a process-
enforcement agencies. Some companies are requiring their
based approach is becoming an industry norm. If there is one
suppliers to pass an internal audit before continuing to do
thing you take away from this article, it should be that product
business with that supplier. An average small company
environmental compliance is an evolving process; not a “one
with non-complex products takes around three months to
and done” project.
gather basic information. To implement a complete product
environmental compliance program, it takes around six
TOTAL COMPLIANCE months. Neither companies – nor enforcement agencies –
With the constant changes to product eco-compliance will wait while you put the information together. In the case
legislation, a process needs to be implemented when preparing of being audited by the enforcement authority in Ireland, a
and maintaining a product environmental compliance turn-around time of 24 hours is expected for all compliance
program. If a project is started for each new variation of materials.
legislation, there will not be continuity within the system,
nor the ability to compare information gathered for different A best practice is to be ready for an audit at any time. Remote
jurisdictional requirements. Total product environmental access to data & information allows for instant access to
compliance needs to be rooted in a process based approach. compliance information. Technical compliance files should
include: component data, corporate policies and procedures,
Elements of a process based approach are shown in Figure 2. classification/justification documents, roadmap(s) of
Many companies have some of these elements within an activities, and use of any exemptions or allowances within the
internal program; others have several sources they use to legislation.
complete their program. You must have information on all
the pieces of the pie to have a totally compliant program. If For part data and information within the database, it should
you would like more information on the figure below, please be searchable by component, part number, supplier status,
e-mail the author for copies of the previous publications. substance, exemption/variation, just to name a few criteria.
From reports in 2008 and 2009, almost 50% of companies fail
LESSONS LEARNED &
Lesson 1: Implement
a process approach to
With the constant changes
to product eco-compliance
legislation, a process
needs to be implemented.
If a project is started for
each new variation of
legislation, there will not
be continuity within the
system, nor the ability
to compare information
gathered for different
Throughout the years, best
practices within product
have been established. Figure 2: Elements of a Total Compliance Solution
2010 Annual Guide IN Compliance 109
“ I t ke e ps go i ng and going and going…”
compliance audits for RoHS. The top reasons for failure were There are internal as well as external pressures for maintaining
responsiveness, completeness of information, sustainability of compliance records. Some are customer’s requirements;
program, and misuse/misinterpretation of exemptions. others are legislative or governmental requirements. The
move to substance-level declaration requests and responses
Lesson 3: Gather full materials declarations are a best practice – a major movement away from simple
yes/no material declarations. More and more companies are
With more and more countries creating requirements for
expecting or requiring full materials information. The key to
materials reporting requirements or materials restrictions
successful product eco-compliance is program sustainability:
– such as RoHS-type and REACH-type legislation, full
implementation of a systemic, process-based approach to
materials declarations information is becoming more and
gathering, maintaining, and reporting product environmental
more prominent. Countries with existing requirements are
looking at adding additional substances.
Do not fall victim to being unprepared for a product audit.
If you are able to gather full materials information by
In the EU, as an example, Member States will make an
weight, it allows for manipulation of the data regardless
example of a company whose product fails to meet its
of the regulation. Gathering full materials information is
directives and regulations. Start a process-based approach to
a best practice when working on multiple environmental
product eco-compliance of documenting products today.
requirements. In addition, it is recommended the information
be listed in a database by CAS number. This allows for the
ability to search database for a specific substance when it is IT KEEPS GOING AND GOING AND GOING…
called into question. We’re way beyond RoHS and WEEE at this point. Product
eco-compliance requirements continue to expand and change.
Lesson 4: Stay current The two major things to remember when implementing a
Education is a corner stone of a successful implementation compliance program:
and maintenance of a product environmental compliance 1. A process-based approach should be implemented for
program. With changes happening to existing legislation and product environmental compliance activities. It is no
new legislation being drafted or created, one needs a variety longer a “one and done” project.
of tools for keeping informed. Some of the best sources for 2. Product environmental compliance requirements are not
up-to-date information are: industry involvement or industry going away, and will continually change and evolve.
events; targeted reports – not general knowledge databases
or “tech rags”; or a targeted news service. There is good Any electrical or electronic equipment sold in the world will
information available on blogs or listserv – but be wary of this need to comply with a product environmental legislation at
information as much of it is opinion, not fact. Make sure the some point. Ben Franklin may have given rise to our title…
information you’re using comes from a reputable source and but the Energizer Bunny® brings it home – the requirements
can be verified. keep “going and going and going…” n
ITS NOT EASY GOING GREEN… BUT THE REFERENCES/USEFUL WEBSITES
REWARDS ARE TREMENDOUS
“Going Green” – in terms of product environmental
compliance – is a conscious corporate decision. It is a
change to critical thinking and the way your company does
business. It is a corporate decision to prepare for the future • www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/sectors/sustainability/weee/
and go beyond simple substance restrictions declarations. It page30269.html
is designing a product to account for the product’s end of life • www.rohs.gov.uk/
requirements which impact waste management.
It is compliance - not chaos. It is a crisp presentation of • www.hse.gov.uk/reach/index.htm
corporate environmental stewardship within its products.
A company needs to eliminate the risks of not being able
to provide accurate and complete product environmental Krista Botsford, Botsford EcoTech Partners LLC,
compliance information to auditors or customers. The inability can be contacted at email@example.com
to provide this information in a timely, organized manner can or by visiting www.BotsfordEcoTech.com.
ultimately lead to a finding of non-compliance.
110 IN Compliance 2010 Annual Guide www.incompliancemag.com