The Industry v. ECHA: Understanding the SCIP Database

The Industry v. ECHA: Understanding the SCIP Database

Scip logo transpDuring the last week of October, the European Chemical Association (ECHA) launched the long promised SCIP database. SCIP stands for Substances of Concern in Products. Companies supplying articles containing substances of very high concern (SVHCs) on the Candidate List in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) on the EU market have to submit information on these articles to ECHA, beginning 5 January 2021.  According to the website, the SCIP database ensures that the information on articles containing Candidate List substances is available throughout the whole lifecycle of products and materials, including at the waste stage. The information in the database is then made available to waste operators and consumers.

This newly updated manual assists users in complying with their obligations under the Article 9(1)(i) of the Waste Framework Directive (promoting reduction of hazardous substances in materials and products).  It helps to identify the duty holders and the articles within the scope of the notification and explains the information required in a SCIP notification.

The manual also includes recommended solutions for the level of reporting in a SCIP notification by
– suggesting criteria to group articles in one notification and
– defining how many layers have to be reported in the SCIP notification of a complex object. 

A number of resources are available from the ECHA on the SCIP database website.

This week, ECHA recorded a webinar to help companies prepare. It includes a demo of how to create and submit a SCIP notification and explains what tools are available.

Industry Pushes Back

The industry has been less than enthusiastic about the timing of this Directive. While supporting the objectives of the circular economy, manufacturers say they need more time to implement the requirements.

In September, 40 European associations signed a letter to EU President Ursula von der Leyen calling for ‘urgent political action.’

The signatories representing a very significant part of the European Economy request urgent resolution of implementation issues in a database designed to support the circular economy as expressed in the European Green Deal. This “SCIP” database is required by Article 9.1 of the updated Waste Framework Directive.

The signatories of this letter ask President von der Leyen to take immediate action to: Postpone the SCIP notification deadline of 5th January 2021 by at least 12 months after the database will be finalised; Conduct a study on the usefulness, feasibility, proportionality and impact of the database, and; Instruct the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to adapt the SCIP database according to the outcome of such study.

They pointed out  that since ECHA failed to finalize the database development to the required timescale of January 2020, preventing companies from developing, testing and adapting their own systems to meet the January 2021 notification deadline.

Signatories have serious concerns regarding the workability, proportionality and value of the SCIP database, expressed repeatedly for the last two years, but their concerns have not been resolved by the European Commission, nor by ECHA. Contrary to the EU Better Regulation principles, Article 9.1 was added to the revised WFD during the final stage of the co-decision process without any prior stakeholder consultation or impact assessment. A proper impact study should help shape the way forward to deliver on the EU ambition for a circular European Economy.

The list of signatories to that document included IPC and SEMI. Subsequent industry letters have included more industry groups.

So far there has been no response from EU/ECHA to the industry objections. The January 5 2021 deadline is just around the corner. Stay tuned for more on this unfolding story.