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Graham J. Stuart

Graham Stuart is a partner in Baker McKenzie's London office specialising in product regulation and environmental, health and safety law.

In our final week of the Annual Compliance conference, we focussed on key issues being faced by companies on ESG, supply chain and product compliance. Specifically, we discussed the new legal landscape in the EU and UK on product compliance and liability, supply chain due diligence trends and developments, and how to manage environmental, social and governance risks and increasing legislation in the US, UK and EU aimed at cracking down on vague, misleading, or unsubstantiated green claims.

In recent years, through the introduction of the Green Claims Code, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has taken an interest in the green claims made by businesses. This interest has included the CMA reviewing and investigating descriptions and labels used to promote ‘eco-friendly’ products. The Green Claims Code applies wherever a green claim is made by a business for a consumer.

As part of this interest in the green claims made by businesses, to date the CMA has focussed on two main sectors – the fashion retail sector and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (“FMCG”) sector. While the CMA has already investigated businesses in the fashion retail sector, the CMA has more recently launched a review of environmental claims made by businesses in this FMCG space.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new online content hub, the Product Risk Radar. The hub includes the latest important legal developments in product regulatory and liability risk impacting the UK and EU and we will post regular updates to help you navigate this increasingly challenging landscape. The areas covered include regulatory requirements, product liability and market surveillance and general product safety.

On 25 July 2023 the UK government announced that increased extended producer responsibility (EPR) fees for packaging waste will be deferred by a year from October 2024 to 2025. In the same week the government also launched a consultation on the draft legislation to implement the new EPR regime which will include the introduction of mandatory packaging recyclability markings for the UK market.

On 1 August 2023, the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) announced an indefinite extension to the use of CE marking in Great Britain beyond the previous 31 December 2024 deadline, giving businesses flexibility to choose between the CE marking and the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking for the Great Britain market for the foreseeable future.

The announcement covers the regulations falling within DBT’s remit including the regimes applicable to toys, EMC, radio equipment, PPE, machinery and LVD. It confirms that other government departments will communicate their plans in respect of other CE/UKCA marking regimes (such as Ecodesign and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)) in due course.

On 28 July 2023, Regulation (EU) 2023/1542 concerning batteries and waste batteries was published in the Official Journal. The new Regulation repeals and replaces the existing Batteries Directive (2006/66/EC) and seeks to make all batteries placed on the EU market more durable, safe, sustainable, and efficient. It takes the extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime created by the existing Directive and expands it significantly through the introduction of more detailed mandatory design, content and conformity assessment requirements aimed at ensuring the sustainability and circularity of batteries. It also introduces new mandatory supply chain due diligence requirements from August 2025 to address the social and environmental risks inherent in the extraction, processing and trading of certain raw materials and secondary raw materials used in battery manufacturing.

On 19 April 2023, the European Parliament adopted the final text of a new EU Regulation aimed at tackling deforestation and forest degradation (the “Deforestation Regulation”) requiring companies to undertake due diligence into the source of a wide range of commodities, including cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm-oil, rubber, soya and wood, to ensure…

Our latest sustainability guide, ESG Policy Guide – The Future of Sustainability Legislation for Luxury, has been developed in collaboration with Positive Luxury, the company behind the Butterfly Mark, a unique mark awarded to luxury lifestyle brands, retailers and suppliers in recognition of their commitment and verified actions to creating a positive impact on our world. It features recent and upcoming developments in ESG legislation and policies in the US, UK and the EU and explains how these impact the luxury, fashion, and cosmetics industries.

In a recent EPSCO meeting, the European Commission finally confirmed that it intends to extend the transitional period under the Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745. In parallel, the Medical Device Coordination Group has published a Position Paper (2022-18) which offers a supplemental or short-term solution, allowing manufacturers to benefit from an exemption under Article 97 for a temporary period.