How complicated is the regulatory landscape for materials used in automotive manufacturing? Very complicated.

Consider: The Global Automotive Declarable Substance List contains 3,284 substances of concern; and the World Bank estimates that automobiles and their components are sold or manufactured in 192 countries. With each country potentially setting environmental health and safety (EHS) rules for each listed substance, that works out to more than 600,000 possible national regulations. Add to that the separate regulatory regimes of sub-jurisdictions in some countries, and the fact that restricted substance lists and jurisdictional requirements continually change over time. Yes, this regulatory landscape is very complicated indeed.

Given this extreme complexity, no software vendor is able to maintain complete, up-to-date databases of relevant substances and all the regulations that pertain to them. Such vendors lack the resources to retain automotive EHS subject matter experts with the expertise and geographic distribution to keep the needed database constantly up to date.

In 2017, we provided an outside-the-box answer to this seemingly impossible problem: a global network of volunteer experts, each serving as a “regulatory antenna” in tune with developments in one small part of the world. An automotive EHS professional living and working in California—or in the Basque provinces, or in Guangdong—already knows all about the chemical regulations that affect the automotive industry in that region. For professionals like these, having such knowledge is a basic job requirement.

Under our system, each regulatory antenna uses a simple template we developed to upload a monthly update on local regulations. The templates are standardized, and these volunteers are already gathering the essential information as part of their job, so the additional effort required is minimal. Many of them find that the discipline of scheduling a monthly review of local regulatory changes sharpens their skillsets and makes them more effective employees. And, in exchange for providing monthly updates, each regulatory antenna receives access to free monthly updates from 191 other top-notch subject matter experts on automotive chemical regulations around the world. That is how the Global Automotive Industry Regulatory Portal (GARP) operates.

If you are interested in signing up to be a regulatory antenna for your home jurisdiction, please select your country/jurisdiction and complete the application to be considered. The following video explains GARP in more detail.

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