What is a consortium?
REACH requires that manufacturers/importers of the same substance cooperate with each other in preparing a joint submission, by sharing data and costs. However, REACH does not provide detailed rules for such co-operation. The attainment of REACH objectives will therefore entirely depend on the manner in which the industry organises itself. A consortium is an efficient form of co-operation for potential registrants of a substance, or group of substances, to fulfil the REACH requirements in time with the consortium agreement providing a legal framework for safeguarding the essential business interests of the participating companies.
What are the benefits of a consortium?
Membership of a consortium provides legal certainty regarding the co-operation of parties involved, and ways to share costs, and ensures the most efficient use of human and financial resources through industry co-operation. The consortium itself provides leadership within industry regarding the difficult and complex requirements of REACH and offers all operators the opportunity to contribute to the direction of that leadership. Most importantly, the early formation of a consortium allows significant progress to be made towards registration and will generate a full dossier rather than just a set of individual studies needing additional work. Membership of a consortium can reduce the individual work involved in discussing cost and data sharing within the SIEF and provides additional credibility for participants with ECHA and also for the joint dossier itself. Consortium membership also provides a means for choosing the best quality studies, whilst protecting confidential business information.
SIEF vs Consortia
Substance Information Exchange Fora are described in the REACH Regulation; participation in a SIEF is obligatory to all registrants. Consortia on the other hand are not specified in REACH; they provide a voluntary form of co-operation of the industry bound by legal agreement.