Question: My company has requested compliance data from our suppliers, but some are reluctant to provide information if we haven't purchased any of their products in the past couple of years. In many cases, we are still using the parts we previously bought from them in products we are currently putting on the market.
How should we handle this situation? Shouldn't the suppliers provide this information when we ask for it?
Answer: If your suppliers are based in the European Union, they are required to keep this information for 10 years, per the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. As such, they should be able to provide it. Even if the suppliers are not in scope of REACH and/or RoHS, various other laws have different requirements for data retention, and it's a best practice to keep this information for at least several years. So in theory, the supplier(s) should have this information.
You may want to check your sales or purchase agreements to see if the supplier(s) committed to providing compliance information upon request for a set period of time. If the supplier(s) won't provide a declaration but can provide a non-proprietary full material disclosure (FMD) or full substance declaration (FSD), you can also use this information to determine REACH/RoHS compliance. Receiving an FMD/FSD means you do not have to ask the supplier for information about that part in the future.
Ultimately, however, there is no way to make a supplier provide information if they are unable or unwilling to do so. If the supplier can't or won't help, your company will need to move on to risk assessment and/or testing, and be sure to carefully document your considerations and decisions.
Article is current as of 2021-05-04.