New CENELEC standard: With EN IEC 63000:2018, European environmental standards conquer the world  

The European Union (EU) has one of the most advanced environmental legislations in the world. It is indeed a necessary step to reach the ambitious objective it has set itself: becoming a leader in the protection of the environment. The good news, both for Europe and the environment, is that sometimes, European standards or practices on environmental issues are adopted at the international level and recognised as globally valuable.

This is the case of recently approved EN IEC 63000:2018. CENELEC has adopted this IEC-made standard, dedicated to providing guidance on the technical documentation for the assessment of electrical and electronic products (EEE) with respect to the restriction of hazardous substances. But, in turn, EN IEC 63000 is extensively based on EN 50581:2012, a fully European harmonised standard  developed to implement the EU’s Directive 2011/65/EU on the “restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment”, also known as RoHS Directive.

More specifically, EN IEC 63000:2018 specifies the technical documentation that the manufacturer compiles in order to declare compliance with the applicable restrictions in chemical substances that have been identified as dangerous for the environment. The implementation of the standard ensures the assessment of electrical and electronic equipment, with respect to the restriction of hazardous substances, and therefore increases trust in EEE manufacturers.

In setting the necessary technical documentation requirements, EN IEC 63000 is almost identical to the text of EN 50581, even if any wording specific to the EU RoHS Directive has been removed: it aims at addressing different substance regulations worldwide while ensuring the same approach from manufacturers everywhere. The normative references of EN 50581:2012 were updated in EN IEC 63000 in order to reflect the latest international development of analytical test methods and material declaration.

EN 50581:2012 is a harmonised standard meaning that its application gives presumption of conformity with the requirements of the RoHS Directive. Considering that a large number of products on market are referring to it in their Declaration of Conformity, a transition period of 5 years (60 months) has been granted for manufacturers to adapt before EN IEC 63000:2018 supersedes EN 50581:2012. In practice this means that during this transition period both standards will coexist, allowing the manufacturers to smoothly migrate to EN IEC 63000:2018.

The update of EN 50581 in its new international form EN IEC 63000 is good news for the environment, the European Standardization System and also for manufacturers, who will see regulatory burdens and trade barriers diminish. Furthermore, it is a successful example of the productive cooperation between CENELEC and IEC, in building the global standardization system with a specific attention to the environment.

The standard was developed by WG5 of CLC/TC 111X ‘Environment’, the TC dedicated to ensure that environmental aspects are taken into account in standardization for electronic and electrical equipment. WG05’s convenorship is held by CEB-BEC, the Belgian Electrotechnical Committee, while the CLC/TC 111X is currently managed by NEN, the Dutch National Standardization Body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, please contact Andrea Nam