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1 intRoduCtion
This Guideline is written primarily for exporters of natural ingredients from South Africa to provide information about the way that the European Union regulates the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals and the obligations placed on European Union manufacturers, importers and downstream companies to comply with those regulations.
With a better understanding of the obligations faced by their EU customers, South African exporters will be able to support them with the information needed to meet CLP obligations for the South African natural ingredients being exported to the EU.This is expected to increase opportunities for South African exporters to do more business with customers in the European Union.
1.1 Background and history
The European Union Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of Substances and Mixtures (Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008) entered into force on 20 January 2009. CLP is based on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System (GHS) and its purpose is to ensure a high level of protection of health and the environment, as well as the free movement of substances, mixtures and articles.
The momentum to establish a Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals dates back to the Earth Summit in 1992 (more formally known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development). At this conference, the adoption of Agenda 21 provided the international mandate to complete the harmonisation of classification and labelling across the workplace, consumer sectors and the transport sector.
The first edition of the GHS, which was intended to serve as the initial basis for the global implementation of the system, was adopted in December 2002 and published in 2003. Since then, the GHS has been updated, revised and improved every two years as needs arise and experience is
gained in its implementation.The eighth revised edition of the GHS published in 2019, is the most recent published revised edition. The ninth revised edition is due to be published in 2021.
In September 2002, the Plan of Implementation agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg encouraged countries to implement the new globally harmonized system for the classification and labelling of chemicals as soon as possible with a view to having the system fully operational by 2008.
The European Union implemented the GHS from January 2009 through the CLP regulation. It is similar, but not identical, to the way in which the UN GHS is introduced into the legal framework of countries outside the EU, such as South Africa. In South Africa, the South Africa National Standard SANS 10234:2019 covers the harmonised criteria for the classification and labelling of chemicals (see SANS 10234:2019) (and there may be differences in how UN GHS is implementation in individual countries).
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