Commission could ‘build on’ industry substances in articles work

Cross-sector initiative, the Proactive Alliance, says its work could be a “foundation” for the European Commission and ECHA’s plans to track substances of concern throughout the supply chain. The group of industry representatives is working to develop global standards for material data, which are interoperable with the IT systems used by different sectors. In June, the EU’s Council of Ministers called on the Commission and ECHA to develop harmonised tools to ensure that substances of concern in materials can be traced through the supply chain by 2030, including end-of-life operations. One of the co-initiators of the Proactive Alliance, Hyundai environmental manager Timo Unger, told Chemical Watch that its discussions were “going in a similar direction” as those announced by the Council of Ministers and “may therefore serve as a foundation for the Commission’s related activities”. Martin Führ, a professor at Darmstadt University, who is coordinating the alliance with his research group Sofia, said its goals aligned with the Commission’s plans because they are both looking at ways to track substances throughout the supply chain. However, he said, it is looking at developing standards rather than tools. At the alliance’s next meeting in September, they plan to define common criteria for possible standards and decide how many standards are needed. The criteria could potentially include a combination of basic and more advanced requirements for ambitious companies, said Professor Führ. The alliance hopes to formally submit the standards in the first quarter of 2019. “If the Proactive Alliance is successful in its efforts, I think the Commission would be well-advised to build upon this. It would be my hope that they are not reinventing the wheel,” he said.

Chemicals and waste

The alliance’s work would also assist with ECHA’s forthcoming database on SVHCs in articles, which must be created by January 2020, Professor Führ said. The requirement is part of an amendment to Article 9 of the waste framework Directive, which entered into force in July this year. “We’re speaking to the people from ECHA because they have the task of building this waste database. It’s a huge task and they only have 18 months,” he said. Companies will have until the end of 2020 to submit information on SVHCs if they produce, import or sell articles that contain REACH candidate list substances. Professor Führ said the database would only work with effective supply chain communication, which the alliance can help with. An EU spokesperson said the Commission was aware of the Proactive Alliance and would “make every effort to ensure an efficient cooperation and coordination between all lines of work initiated by the Commission and ECHA under the REACH and the waste legislation”. They said this would be “in support of achieving effective supply chain communication about substances of concern all the way down to waste operators”. Further information is available at:

Council of Ministers conclusions

Chemical Watch, 21 August 2018 ;