Reach impacting on innovation in EU, says Commission unit head

18 June 2013 11:28  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--The costs of Reach compliance are impacting on the capacity of European chemicals manufacturers and importers to innovate, a European Commission unit head said on Tuesday.

Reach registration compliance spending is cutting into investment in research and development by European companies, according to Bjorn Hansen, head of unit for the Commission’s directorate-general for the environment (DG Environment).

Innovation is one of the most key drivers of the future competitiveness of the European chemicals sector, he said. “Innovation is our capital,” he added.

“What we’ve seen in the Reach review is that there is a shift of [the resources of] manufacturers and importers from innovation and research into Reach compliance,” Hansen said.

However, the increased availability of high-quality data as a result of Reach is leading to greater levels of innovation on the part of downstream users, he added.

“What we also see is that downstream users are innovating thanks to the better information they are getting from their manufacturers and importers,” Hansen said

“One could say that the shift of resources from manufacturers and importers from research to compliance is promoting innovation downstream. It may be more banal innovation, but it is innovation all the same, and it is innovation that gives us better products,” he added.

According to Hansen, the quality of dossier information remains one of the key issues with Reach registration.

 “The quality issue of registration dossiers is a concern ... quality issues that lead to non-compliance are the main fault that we need to deal with.”

Issues also remain with the cost burden of the Reach programme on small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), he added.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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