EU companies are spending money on ensuring REACH compliance rather than investing in research and development, according to Giorgio Squinzi, president of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).
Speaking at ECHA HQ before an audience that included EU industry commissioner Antonio Tajani, Mr Squinzi highlighted the European Commission’s survey on the impact of REACH on innovation, noting that it found that 63% of respondents indicated that REACH could lead to the diversion of resources from truly innovative research (CW 2 July 2012).
“The data points to something that our industry cannot afford," he said. "And while REACH increases interactions at the interfaces of industries, this occurs in the context of data sharing through vehicles such as safety data sheets. It remains to be seen whether this type of activity really drives concepts such as open innovation.” He also stressed the impact of the costs associated with REACH, citing a European Commission study that indicates REACH has cost over €2bn to date (CW June 2012).
However, Mr Squinzi said he was “pleased” with the progress that the agency as made on flexibility in the interpretation of strictly controlled conditions (SCC) (CW July/August 2012). “Many of our smaller companies provide an invaluable role in producing intermediates for use in highly valuable end products," he said. "They are acting in a very responsible way, but feel threatened by the narrow interpretation of strictly controlled conditions which can lead to significant additional costs." Mr Squinzi called on ECHA to "build on the recent progress in this area, and formally amend the guidance to reflect the current best practice as soon as possible after the June 2013 registration deadline has passed".