Reaching Forward

08 October 2015

The final June 2018 deadline for registration of phase-in substances under the REACH Regulations may not exactly be looming, but as we’re now well into the final lap of this Olympian task, it’s not an inappropriate time to take stock.

As a marathon event, rather than a sprint, we’d all be advised to be wary of hitting the ‘wall’ after a promising start and congratulating ourselves on running an exemplary tactical race so far. Whilst many businesses will now be well-practised and efficient in preparing dossiers of substance hazard and risk characterisation in order to complete registrations, there is the potential for being unexpectedly resource-constrained as a larger number of substances in the 1-100 tonne range, some of which are potentially more exotic, need to be addressed. 2018 will also see many importers or manufacturers specialising in chemicals used in smaller tonnages, including those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be a ‘chemicals company’, dealing with the process for the first time.

Until recently, high level messages on REACH focussed solely on registration, but as all the parts of the REACH master plan swing into action, it brings with it an increasing, rather than diminishing, workload. These resource intensive, and less predictive requirements include addressing dossier quality questions raised by the authorities as part of their “Evaluation” of substances registered in 2010 and 2013; managing the implications of an increasing number of entries in Annex XVII restricting the uses of certain substances of concern; as well as navigating through the newly chartered waters of Authorisation. The risk management measures of REACH are really starting to bite for substances picked up as meeting the criteria of being a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHCs).

With the Candidate List having grown to 166 SVHCs since 2008 and with 31 of these having progressed to the Authorisation List in Annex XIV, companies need to be vigilant of not only which substances are on the list today, but they must also be mindful of which substances within their product or use portfolio may end up on the list in the future and plan accordingly. This could mean embarking on a plan to look for a suitable alternative “greener” chemistry or applying for a time-limited authorisation if there is no viable alternative in the pipeline. For many businesses, the need to prepare authorisation dossiers, demonstrate adequate control, analyse alternatives and explain the socio-economic case for the continued use of its chemistries is just beginning. Experience tells us from authorisations applications that we have prepared for our clients, that assessing the business implications of substances subject to authorisation and restriction, and developing strategies to minimise the impact on business continuity is best done early. There is no substitute for engaging with suppliers and customers as early as possible so that evidence can be assembled in a timely fashion for the most robust defence of chemistry.

The experience of REACH, and the evidence and expertise that industry has compiled, also positions it well for a paradigm shift in strategy. The opportunity, from a comprehensively informed standpoint, is to consider the impact of regulatory developments in other jurisdictions, with their subtle differences, to weigh up the changing needs and objectives of customer. This will help articulate the benefits of products and the lost opportunity associated with unnecessary substitutions, and offers the prospect of the best possible product stewardship outcomes. Perhaps there has never been a better time for re-examination of one’s plans for addressing the future needs of global markets.

For more information on REACH and how the regulations may affect your organisation please contact:  

Simon Aumônier
Partner, ERM
[email protected]

Jo Lloyd

Partner, ERM
[email protected]


Jo Lloyd joins ERM from the CIA
We are pleased to announce that Jo Lloyd has recently joined ERM from her former role at the Chemicals Industries Association (CIA).

Jo was one of the key players in shaping REACH at the CIA having led the UK Chemical Industries Association’s (CIA) technical input into the debate at the National and European level from 2000 until 2006. Since its launch in early 2006, Jo led the development of the technical arm of REACHReady, a subsidiary of the CIA, and later took over as its Director.

From 2012 to 2015 Jo was responsible for setting the strategic direction of the work the CIA did on voluntary initiatives including Responsible Care, Product Stewardship and Product Sustainability as well as directing the CIA’s work on both chemicals management and HSE legislative developments such as the Industrial Emissions Directive and COMAH.

Jo has joined ERM as a Partner within our Product Sustainability Services team and will be working with our chemicals sector and chemical using clients to help them meet their regional and global chemicals management compliance obligations such as REACH, TSCA, K-REACH and hazard classification and labelling, and advising on how this can be underpinned by a good product sustainability programme.

ERM acquires ReachCentrum
We are also pleased to announce the acquisition of Brussels-based professional services body ReachCentrum, a niche player in the registration market for REACH. The acquisition is an important part of ERM’s growth strategy and builds its position in and access to the Chemical Sector. In time, we expect that additional services related to dossier registration and consortium management to be available, as a key part of ERM’s product sustainability offering. ERM will make its tools and support available to further extend the excellence of ReachCentrum’s services.

Learn more about this acquisition

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