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© andreadonetti-dreamstime.com General | April 01, 2014

European Manufacturing and Environmental Protection

If anyone thought we forgot to play a trick on you; you thought wrong. In case you hadn't already figured it out, this article was our April Fool's joke.
The European Union has initiated a new campaign concerning electronics manufacturers. Or rather the entire supply chain for the electronics industry.

A new memo on environmental protection could well be spelling trouble to a number of companies within the electronics industry in Europe.

A few years back, it was proposed that - to be able to sell electronics within the European Union - 45% of the end product had to be manufacturer in the region. Aimed at getting electronics manufacturing back to the continent and to boost manufacturing companies here in Europe, the initiative never really took off.

Now it seems that the EU have commenced proceeding for a different kind of regulation. And THAT might as well spell trouble for most of the smaller companies.

We are talking environmental protection. The memo - send to us by sources familiar with the matter - states that companies will in future be required to not only follow ISO 14000 (environmental management), but also a new regulation which calls for even more stringent measures.
  • The new proposal includes some changes and updates of previous regulations, but also a couple of information gathering additions. The EU wants to map out and better understand where greenhouse gas emissions are coming from and will improve our ability to make informed policy, business, and regulatory decisions. Therefore, the commission proposes to launch a Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GGRP), which would include all manufacturing within the EU.

  • In compliance with the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht proposition for responsible trading strategy for minerals from conflict zones – the Commission proposes a draft Regulation setting up an EU system of self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold who choose to import responsibly into the Union.

  • To increase public accountability of smelters and refiners, enhance supply chain transparency and facilitate responsible mineral sourcing, the EU aims to publish an annual list of EU and global 'responsible smelters and refiners'.

  • Incorporation of a Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. Aiming to evaluate and regulate substitutes for the ozone-depleting chemicals that are being phased out under the stratospheric ozone protection provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

"This would be rather a nightmare for us. Manufactures will be spending some 80% of their time chasing documentations. I cannot see that this will be helping to bring back manufacturing back to Europe in any shape or form. Soon we will have only military manufacturing left", says Mikael Svensson, CEO of EMS-provider TeknoGreen Manufacturing. "If they also follow through on the fines than we can pack our bags right now. Small companies - such as ours - cannot pay EUR 50'000 per slip-up. It will be the death of small and mid-sized companies."

After a few unanswered calls, we also managed to get a statement on this proposed regulation.

"Of course there will be a lot of anxiety among electronics companies. It is understandable. I believe that this proposal will help Europeans electronics manufacturing to get back on its feet. We will not only have a the most modern manufacturing environment, but also the most ethical supply chain. In today's age, something - I believe - we should all strive for", explains April Margaretha Fool. "However, I want to point out that this is still in the proposal state. We are still collecting ideas and suggestions."

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