IPC Asia Members Are Attuned to Environmental Regulations

By Fanyu Zhang, Environmental Fellow for IPC in Beijing, China; Kelly Scanlon, IPC Director of Environmental Policy and Research

IPC Asia members are concerned about a variety of government regulations on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues, but especially those involving toxic substances and originating from the United States and Europe. 

Those are the key results of an IPC survey conducted in February 2021 among IPC Asia members, in which we sought to learn more about their interests in EHS regulations. We received feedback from 121 members, primarily in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, plus a few from Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The responses came from members representing the full electronics manufacturing supply chain including board fabricators and manufacturers, EMS/assembly/ODM and contract manufacturers, suppliers, and OEMs.

The environmental policies that interest survey participants most are those regulating the use of toxic substances. Sixty-six percent said they are most interested in any regulations modeled on the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) directive; and 48% said they are concerned about rules like the EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Several participants mentioned that adhering to REACH- and RoHS-style regulations in Asia will impact their business greatly. Twenty-one percent were interested in chemical storage and transportation regulations; and a collective 25 percent mentioned a range of other regulations affecting halogen, lead, and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs); solid waste management; and occupational health and safety.

The specific regions in which environmental policies and regulations are of most interest to IPC Asia members are the EU (59 percent) and the U.S. (44 percent). Other than these two regions, survey respondents mentioned Japan (17%), Canada (5%), and all others (12%), including Mexico and various Middle Eastern and other Asian countries.

It is interesting but perhaps not surprising that the European and American regulations are of greatest concern to our members. These regions’ regulatory practices influence the regulatory approaches of many other countries.

About 80% of the participants said they pay close attention to environmental regulatory news, and most acquire such information from online sources, including IPC newsletters, emails, and websites. Other sources include other EHS professionals, workshops, and conferences.

If you are an industry expert and would like to participate in future educational events on environmental regulatory topics, or if you have EHS-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.