What is EPR?
Increasingly, product manufacturers, importers, and distributors are responsible for the end-of-life management of products e.g. electronics, paint, tires, textiles, batteries, and packaging, also known as the Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPR). Embedded in these requirements are sustainability-oriented incentives to reduce waste from the product life cycle, promote sustainable material selection, and collect and properly dispose of post-consumer products, batteries, and packaging.
The difference between EPR and Product Stewardship
Product sustainability is an increasingly mainstream business requirement. Aside from the legislative and regulatory concerns, ignoring the origin of components and materials, the management of toxic and harmful substances and the sustainability impacts of consumption, disposal and recovery, can lead to significant business risks. Product stewardship and EPR overlap even further where more recent initiatives combine tax laws as well as end of life take-back programmes. New policies are rolling off the regulatory production line at an alarming rate. New requirements are trying to tackle issues like material use and security at the design stage of the supply chain e.g. plastic packaging tax and prohibited substances and materials, then consumption and disposal at the end of life e.g. consumer information and recycling take-back programs.
Given that the requirements vary greatly between jurisdictions and schemes, organisations often require deep subject matter expertise to help deal with the array of requirements and implementing bodies. Continuity of legislation through European Union Directives and OECD membership are not always as apparent as one might expect and can lead to serious misunderstandings affecting organisations on the ground activities and jeopardizing route to market.
“Extended Producer Responsibility schemes are a vital part of any nation’s path towards achieving a circular plastics economy.”
Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership and Member, Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum
The EPR Compliance Landscape
The traditional approach of EPR is implemented into national legislation with mandatory requirements affecting organizations, as seen in packaging, products (electronics, WEEE or e-waste) and batteries, being the most common. Since some of these requirements have been around for 20 year, there is a on-going need for policy reform to reflect the latest product design, types, consumption trends, and resource or waste management.
Current EPR policies and similar, undergoing reform:
- eco design – introducing new requirements on product performance and energy labelling
- chemicals – PFAS updates on restricting manufacture and sale, forcing a move to alternatives.
- plastic – prohibited use of materials e.g. microplastics and EPS, and taxation models for Single Use Plastics (SUP’s)
- packaging – major reform in EPR costs as part of implementing EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan e.g. UK full net recovery of packaging waste x10 cost increases
- batteries – EU Regulation impacting material supply product design, recognizing batteries role as part of low carbon economy in products and electric vehicles (EV’s).
- closed loop recycling –a drive to achieving more of a circular economy, by retaining control of material, limiting international waste shipments and banning export of certain waste materials thereby increasing costs of disposal, and encouraging more investment into recycling e.g, Basel Convention updates.
- Emerging policies – in markets where EPR previously did not exist, governments are rapidly rolling out measures to combat the challenges of product consumption and disposal and appease the NGO, public and industry demands. We’ve recently seen Singapore implement new requirements, and up-and-coming nations in Latin America are next e.g. Chile and Argentina.
What organizations must do
The frameworks of requirements for EPR are quite similar with a declaration of responsibility and financial fulfillment element that is linked to sales volumes. This is how Anthesis can bring together the local operations and market intelligence together with a single information and data management solution. The main stages an organization must follow are:
Qualify; understanding supply chains and route to market is half the challenge, before looking into the actual legal text of what requirements an organization needs to meet.
Apply; EPR and similar product stewardship laws, typically holds a registration requirement for obligated businesses to declare they have those responsibilities.
Report; regular reporting is necessary for EPR to quantify requirements. This step is really important because it quantifies the costs for an organization and is made on a declaration basis as an accurate and correct account of volumes by a business leader. In addition to data, information and takeback programs may also be required for the consumer.
Review; not only will policies, targets, and requirements change, so most definitely will the organization itself. These changes impact the requirements, scope and costs to an organization, so those responsible for compliance must remain on top of the latest updates.
Benefits of Anthesis EPR solution
- Greater transparency in liabilities and costs in disparate markets
- Reassurance of compliant product sales, labelling and supply chain operations
- Greater opportunity to reduce or offset compliance costs with collection partners
- Agility in assessing new markets, products, and services
- Local experience and teams already operating globally able to respond and adapt to changes quickly
- Ability to promote what you are doing via corporate communications
- Improved business resilience (flexibility of an outsourcing model)
- Reduced duplication of effort and data records across multiple countries
- Better budget control and forecasting across global market base
- Improved and tailored understanding of upcoming legislative changes
- Support external sustainability certifications requirements such as EPEAT
Our Extended Producer Responsibility Services:
Anthesis is strategically positioned in key global markets across the value chain to meet the specific needs of multiple industries. Our expertise in extended producer responsibility consulting and product stewardship, can be split into three main sections – compliance, implementation and thought leadership.
- Compliance – including responsible sourcing including conflict minerals due diligence requirements, supplier material compliance data management and analysis, and managing product and packaging takeback services from data analysis to report construction and regulatory data submissions.
- Implementation– developing innovative and disruptive business models, managing business process outsourcing and integrating software and systems e.g. EPR compliance management solution.
- Thought leadership– providing analytics and reporting, research and develop and strategic communications.
Our product stewardship services ensure products meet global regulations and define clear strategies to achieve set standards. We also offer product sustainability impact assessments as part of our services to help brands create better and sustainable products.
- (ACDC) Anthesis Compliance Data Collectionis a free spreadsheet-based tool to facilitate data capture and conversion between industry standard formats including IEC 62474, IPC 1752 v1.1 and IPC 1752A. This tool alleviates the common barriers to efficient data exchange and promotes reuse of declarations across the supply chain. The Anthesis CDC is IPC1752A certified.
- ACS (Anthesis Compliance Suite) is a web-based system which augments your existing enterprise ERP and PLM based platforms and provides for efficient product compliance and conflict minerals data exchange. Available only as a combined business process outsource (BPO) and ACS solution, we take compliance management to the ultimate level of quality and automation and provide custom view dashboards and reports mapped against client KPIs.
Anthesis has a solid track record of contributing meaningfully to the advancement of the 'resource management' sector through the work it delivers for governments, businesses and other high profile clients.
We chose to work with Anthesis, who from the start have demonstrated their ability to manage complex and moving workstreams and their expertise in advanced recycling technology processes, waste management infrastructure, and data analysis and visualization. We value their thought partnership and are continually impressed with the depth and detail in their work and presentations.
We'd love to hear from you
Anthesis has offices in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Finland, Colombia, Brazil, China, the Philippines and the Middle East.