The Flash is Enhesa's free bi-monthly news publication, which offers the headings of new regulations worldwide and related articles by Enhesa's EHS Consultants.

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Issue 71 July 2013

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Enhancing Product Stewardship

Will your products face insurmountable market entry problems because of new environmental restrictions on materials and substances?

  Governments around the globe are increasingly scrutinising the environmental and human health impacts of products placed on the market today and are taking more strident measures to improve environmental quality by focusing on the product as distinct from the manufacturing process. Downstream customers and the ultimate consumer increasingly demand that products be environmentally benign throughout their life-cycle. Policymakers seek a new paradigm of “shared responsibility” between industry, consumers and government to improve the environmental performance of products and to progressively eliminate products and substances deemed “environmentally undesirable”.

Concepts such as “Producer responsibility”, “product liability”, “product stewardship” and “life-cycle product management” have caught the attention of global manufacturers and are forcing them to focus on a new dimension within the core issues of their businesses: the quality of their products The concept of quality has increasingly been stretched beyond the specific characteristics of the use of a product to cover the products’ interaction with all environmental media throughout their entire life cycle. Being “environment-friendly” has ceased being an easy marketing device and has become one of the key demands of both customers and regulators.

Understand the EHS demands of the markets

  Most of our clients face growing regulatory pressures aimed at reducing the overall environmental and human health impacts of manufacturing processes and the use and final disposal of their products. There are also growing demands by downstream users on their suppliers to certify the environmental acceptability of their inputs.

Such pressures are moving in the direction of increasingly complex environmental criteria and specifications for substances and materials, including "design for environment" requirements.

Open and Develop New Market Opportunities

 Enhesa helps companies to identify, analyse and anticipate current and future product related EHS  issues, trends and requirements to help them open and develop new market opportunities. We track the major market, regulatory and policy trends and help clients take these into consideration when determining the most appropriate approach to product stewardship in their key markets:

  • Producers are increasingly required to take moral, if not legal, responsibility for their products from design, through manufacturer and use to final disposal at the end of life (i.e. packaging requirements, product take-back, design for environment criteria, toxics reduction and “substitution principle”, etc.).
  • Customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental quality issues, as a result of, and resulting in, the increasing use of fiscal and economic instruments in environmental policies (i.e. rising costs for waste disposal, energy taxes, strict liability for environmental damage in case of use of hazardous chemicals during maintenance, etc.); in many instances this sensitivity is a result also of the increasing adherence to international environmental management standards such as ISO 14001, OHSAS 18.000 and EMAS.
  • Both producers and customers are driven by public environmental policies which are increasingly based on meeting environmental quality standards and requiring environmental risk minimisation for operations and products.
  • The short-term and chronic health impacts of environmental pollution are receiving increasing attention. Feared chemical and biological “time-bombs” (e.g., endocrine disrupters, carcinogens, etc.) as well as the effects of emissions impacting the ambient environment, e.g. electromagnetic radiation, are generating major public demands for better controls, and potentially major liability risks to those manufacturing and placing offending products on the market.

But Enhesa works with clients to turn these challenges into opportunities, and not just to better communicate the environment-friendly attributes of their products, but to identify the growing and future needs of their customers and of consumers overall for products and services that avoid giving rise to environmental concerns in the first place. Reducing and redesigning packaging to meet new or anticipated regulatory requirements or market demands can be a means for enhancing customer satisfaction while saving on the cost of packaging materials. Improving energy efficiency of equipment decreases the environmental impact of the product use and represents cost savings for the customers. Providing raw material inputs that degrade rapidly to harmless substances in the environment help alleviate concerns about negative environmental fate among customers when using them in their processes and products. Actively seeking less toxic, less hazardous and less environmentally disturbing substances and substituting these for those currently used will not only meet growing regulatory and policy obligations but will satisfy customers that companies are doing their utmost to preserve the environment, and to help their customers do so as well.

To help our clients understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities this new paradigm presents, Enhesa provides a broad range of client-tailored services that are under continuous evolution to identify and track trends, forecast new developments, understand market pressures and respond proactively to new demands from customers and consumers in this ever evolving area of competition:

Country Product Regulatory Profiles

Enhesa develops country regulatory profiles describing in detail the relevant national, and applicable international, legislation, regulations and policies, as well as public and private institutions and organisations with influence over the regulation of the client’s products or range of products. The profiles typically detail both existing and upcoming requirements and include, as appropriate, relevant industry and competitor initiatives at the international and national levels. The Profiles also address issues such as Green Purchasing initiatives or Public Procurement Rules that take environmental issues into consideration. Product Profile Scope

Product Compliance Protocols

Working with our clients to better appreciate the nature, uses and environmental issues associated with their products and the processes in which they are used, Enhesa develops tools to assist their R&D and product development centers to take into consideration the myriad issues surrounding the regulatory compliance of the final product, either as a consumer product in its own right or as an input to further industrial processes. Our product compliance assessment tools enable companies and their marketing representative assure that new products will comply with applicable restrictions in all of their key markets. Product Protocol Scope

Issue Tracking and Regulatory Monitoring

ENHESA monitors EHS regulatory developments related to specific products and their components worldwide. This typically includes both current and proposed regulations and standards potentially impacting the manufacturing, placing on the market, and disposal of clients’ products. Regulatory Monitoring Services

Future Trends Forecasting

Based on our extensive knowledge of the developing regulatory, policy, and public concern issues related to the EHS aspects of our clients’ products’ lifecycles, Enhesa develops product- or issue-specific analyses of relevant future trends. The time horizon for such forecasting usually covers, with varying degrees of certainty, the short, medium, and long term, depending of the nature of the issues and the expected life span of the products. Recent forecasting exercises have looked at horizons up to ten years distant with a high degree of confidence based on current policy positions in the countries concerned. With our support, many clients have successfully redirected their R&D and product development effort to focus on those markets where there will be a real demand for products, inputs and services that meet customers future environmental concerns and assures greater market share for such products, while avoiding the development of products for which there will be little to no demand as a result of the changing regulatory or market conditions. See also Strategic EHS Management Support

Rapid Response to Product Compliance Questions

ENHESA provides a rapid response helpline service to clients seeking support for specific questions regarding the compliance of the products they place or plan to place in given markets. Such services frequently arise as a result of questions posed by customers, regulators or environmentalist organisations. Clients typically authorise a set maximum level of professional effort in order to better control costs and to assure that all research and analysis focuses appropriately on the specific concern at hand. If needs be, such short-term assignments can be expanded at the clients’ behest to encompass additional related issues or additional countries and markets. Helpline Service

Experience

 Enhesa's consultants have worked with dozens of clients in a broad range of industrial sectors - from specialty chemicals, energy and advanced materials to pharmaceuticals and medical devices, automotive to aerospace, information technologies and telecommunications to consumer electronics, food and beverage to entertainment, and beyond. Working with companies in a broad range of industrial sectors, from specialty chemicals to pharmaceuticals to consumer electronics, telecommunications and information technologies, Enhesa has helped develop or redirect product stewardship programmes to focus on seizing competitive advantage in increasingly environment-conscious markets.

  • Developed product compliance assurance tools for two specialty chemicals manufacturers with key markets in Europe to assure that new products will meet market entry requirements in some of Europe’s most stringently regulated markets. The tools addressed the full set of product life-cycle issues, from restrictions on substances, registration and notification requirements, product performance, end-of-life recovery and environmental fate.
  • Track regulatory and market trends concerning environmental and product safety issues for two major computer manufacturers for their key markets in Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America and advise on measures taken be competitors to meet the challenges of new substance restrictions, product environmental performance criteria and take-back and recycling obligations.
  • Investigated the major environmental trends affecting the market for a specific product group of a specialty chemicals (silicones) manufacturer, to identify new business opportunities for client’s products by expansion into new markets with existing products and by developing new products to meet future customer needs. The results of the study focused on supporting client objectives to identify three new business opportunities, each worth US$ 10 million in revenues.
  • Conceived, organised and co-chaired (with the American Electronics Association and Eurobit) an information technology roundtable meeting between industry representatives, company managers and government regulators from the European Commission, and national environmental administrations from Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the OECD to air industry concerns and suggested solutions to problems associated with conflicts between EU and international laws and policies on electronic product take-back on the one hand and transfrontier shipment of waste on the other.
  • Identified and advised on the implications of pending EU legislative proposals concerning phaseout of HFCs and methyl bromide for an electronic products manufacture.

  • Enhesa Regulatory Compliance for Electrical and Electronics Products (Download RFQ for more information)
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