SOURCE: Perchards

October 11, 2006 11:41 ET

Perchards and webix Join Forces on Compliance Software

Extended Producer Responsibility -- the Challenge to Companies

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 11, 2006 -- Ewire -- Producer responsibility policy consultants Perchards and reverse logistics software developer webix solutions GmbH have teamed up to develop XPReS, a range of software to facilitate compliance with European producer responsibility legislation on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), packaging and batteries. The first release under the XPReS brand will be a cost-effective sales data reporting tool for electrical and electronic equipment, which will convert producers' existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data into the reporting formats required by the relevant national agencies. Future releases will include report alerts, legislative tracking and compliance cost comparisons.

Extended Producer Responsibility legislation makes producers responsible for financing the management of waste arising from their products. It has been implemented for packaging and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) in EU member states and neighbouring countries, and batteries will follow. Failure to comply can have serious consequences -- negative media exposure, fines and even exclusion from the market.

Rules and requirements differ from country to country, so compliance is complicated and expensive. For WEEE, for instance, there are differences in who takes responsibility (manufacturers or distributors), the financing arrangements, how products are categorised, and even whether they are covered by the national legislation at all. WEEE legislation is still evolving, but a producer who is not fully aware of the requirements in each country where he is active can make expensive mistakes.

Manufacturers or distributors must report periodically to the relevant national agencies, on all electronic products within the scope that they place on the market. But the data required, reporting procedures, reporting periods and deadlines vary and so does the categorisation of products: in Austria for example the collection category and product name must be selected from a list of around 1000 items, while Belgium and the Czech Republic provide their own lists of hundreds of equipment names. Germany requires reporting by broad equipment categories defined by industry. In France, the 4-digit customs code for each product must be specified, while other member states use more detailed levels of the customs codification.

Producers not only need to register but must also either join a collective system or organise the take-back and treatment of their products individually. There are currently about 240 collective systems for WEEE, batteries and packaging in Europe, and more than 110 for WEEE alone. A producer active in six member states will typically be involved with some 15-20 collective systems. Producers need to find the most cost-effective solution, which means having up-to-date information on what each scheme offers and on the fees it charges.

"Sorting out the matrix of national requirements is a nightmare, particularly for companies marketing a wide range of products," says David Perchard, a partner in Perchards. "And the registration rules are often available only in the national language," he adds.

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