Products and Sustainability | Fieldfisher
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Products and Sustainability

Our Products and Sustainability practice accompanies the full life cycle of products placed on the EU market, from design to manufacture, retail, use and end-of-life management, taking into account the growing body of EU legislation developed under the European Green Deal with an increasing emphasis on the circularity of products, materials and practices and elimination of waste across the entire supply chain.

We adopt a practical “product defence” approach to help our clients not only to understand, anticipate and comply with incoming and existing regulations and to navigate through the complexities of the EU legal framework and decision-making, but also to defend their products against unjustified regulatory restrictions.

Our services

We assist clients in pre-market compliance with EU and Member States product safety rules and CE marking, providing preliminary and in-depth overviews on the applicable legislation on the placing on the market of regulated products. Our expertise includes devising strategies for conformity assessment and liaising with the European Commission as well as Member State Competent Authorities to flag critical aspects concerning design and safety features of products.

We also advise on obtaining regulatory approval for technical products, market access and free movement of goods issues.

In particular, we specialise in EU product defence. We work with many of the world’s largest companies with regard to product defence strategies for both consumer products, including toy and childcare products, cosmetics, sports equipment and medical devices, and non-consumer products. We monitor development of the relevant legislation so that our clients  can  adapt  their  supply  chain and product design sufficiently in advance.

We guide clients through horizontal legislation on product safety such as the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR)  and Product Liability Directive. We also provide legal support in relation to product specific legislation such as the Toy Safety Directive, Radio Equipment Directive, Vehicle General Safety Regulation, Low Voltage Directive, Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive, Machinery Directive and Construction Products Regulation. Additionally, we have specific knowledge on transportation and packaging of  products.

Thanks to our longstanding experience in the EU Regulatory law on chemicals, we also advise on the interplay between the above-captured legislation and the REACH Regulation, CLP Regulation, PIC Regulation, RoHS II and F-Gas Regulation as well as WTO TBT provisions. These areas cover the use of chemicals in the client's products.

The team advises on all aspects of packaging compliance under EU regulations, taking into account the inter-relationship with areas of specific legislation such as food contact materials, plastics, labelling, etc…) and anticipated measures under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR).

We work with both our clients in this rapidly evolving area to ensure compliance with packaging requirements across all Member States, including variations in the national transposition of EU rules.

We also provide advice on plastics in products and packaging, including single-use plastics, microplastics and biobased, biodegradeable and compostable plastics.

We advise global manufacturers of consumer goods on the design and realisation of their products in the context of the current rules on eco-design, including the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) and Right to Repair Directive, and the new Batteries Regulation.

Our advice also takes into account waste management obligations under the Waste Framework Directive and sector specific legislation such as the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive.

We also advise on compliance with EU rules on labelling and environmental claims under existing legislation and the  forthcoming Green Claims Directive. This includes advice to a number of multinational consumer goods companies with respect to the implementation of current legislation in all EU Member States in areas such as food products, textiles and electronics, and advice to pharmaceutical manufacturers on green claims in relation to medicinal products.

In response to the growing public and political focus on the sustainability performance of businesses, the team accompanies clients in their preparation to comply with new and far-reaching rules on monitoring and reporting.

We advise on the new sustainability reporting standards introduced under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. We also advise on compliance with supply chain due diligence obligations under the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, as well as new rules on deforestation-free and forced labour-free products, and the development of the recognition of ecocide as a criminal offence at EU and Member State level.

As such, the team plays an integral role in the Brussels office’s cross-departmental ESG offering.