Indications are emerging that changes to the EuropeanRestriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive that place responsibilityfor ensuring IT equipment meets compliance standards on resellers anddistributors could cause administrative chaos, and it is unlikely muchnon-compliant kit will even be found.
As reported by MicroScope, the draft changes - that have no legal status yet - mean distis or importers will have to physically open each box to inspect it, and resellers will have to ensure manufacturers and distributors have met their obligations. If the dealer suspects kit may not be compliant he will not be allowed to place it on the open market.
One distributor who declined to be named said similarproposals had been drafted before but were thrown out for being unworkable. Hehinted it could potentially throw volume distributors into administrativemeltdown.
However the original directives have now been in force since2006 and at the time major vendors such as Cisco, HP and IBM invested heavilyin making their kit compliant through the elimination of toxic metals andchemicals such as cadmium and mercury.
The only area where there were concerns was around smallerAsian vendors, but even here many have cleaned up their act.
Barrie Desmond, business development director at distributorVADition, which handles many new vendors, said RoHS was not at the top of his agenda.
“Our engineering team goes through a checklist with newvendors, which includes regulatory compliance, but it’s not been an issue forus,” Desmond said. “Most new vendors shout from the rooftops about the factthat they meet legislation.”
Networks First managing director Peter Titmus welcomed thechanges, saying they could force resellers to compete on a level playing fieldand suggesting increased compliance could be a blow for grey trading.
“We try as hard as we can to comply with the rules andregulations but there are always competitors that bend the rules and buy greycomponents,” he said.
However, a concerning lack of information about RoHS hasalso come to light, with some dealers apparently unaware that the directive wasa Brussels-mandated scheme in the first place.