Do distributors and re-branders have REACH obligations? How about consumers?

Distributors and re-branders (and retailers and storage providers) do not have a standard REACH role as “manufacturer”, “importer” or “downstream user”. Nonetheless, they do have obligations under REACH. Although consumers are technically end-users, they are not downstream users under REACH and hence have no regulatory obligations.

To categorise as a REACH distributor, you may only store and make substances and mixtures available to third parties (e.g. resell). Distributors include:

  • Retailers, who sell substances and mixtures to private consumers and/or professional users in retail stores.
  • Re-branders, who affix their own brand to a product that somebody else has manufactured.
  • Storage providers, who store substances or mixtures for third parties.

Please note: if you solely store and place articles on the market for third parties (i.e. neither substances on their own nor in a mixture), you are not a distributor according to the definition in the REACH Regulation and hence have no REACH obligations.

As long as you do not perform any operations or activities with substances that would be defined as manufacture, import or use under REACH (e.g. re-filling or mixing paints in-store), your obligations are limited to passing information up and down the supply chain. Most notably, this means you have to provide REACH and CLP compliant SDSs to your (non-consumer) customers in an official language of the Member State where you put the product on the market.