What Is a Declaration of Conformity? A Guide to Writing RoHS Compliance Statements

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The EU Restriction of Hazardous Materials (RoHS) directive requires manufacturers to issue a declaration of conformity, also known as a compliance certificate or compliance statement, before electronic products are put on the market. 

This article briefly describes the RoHS directive itself before delving into the specifics of the RoHS compliance statement, including where the requirement came from, why the compliance statement is important, and what should be included in a compliance statement.

What Is RoHS?

The RoHS directive, issued in the European Union, restricts the use of ten hazardous materials in electronic and electrical equipment (EEE). A product is RoHS compliant if it does not exceed the allowable amounts of these restricted substances. All EEE sold in the EU must be RoHS compliant. 

Restricted Substances

To be RoHS compliant, EEE must not contain any of the following hazardous substances in amounts larger than 1000 ppm. These materials are deemed to be hazardous to human health and the environment.

Read more: What is RoHS?

What Is a Declaration of Conformity?

The declaration of conformity is the official name for a certificate or statement of compliance and is the final step a company must take in the RoHS compliance process. The declaration of conformity is a legal document that contains information about the product and the measures taken to ensure compliance. 

The manufacturer writes and signs the declaration of conformity before the product is put on the market to certify that the product is RoHS compliant. By signing the statement, the manufacturer assumes responsibility for ensuring that the product is compliant.

The compliance statement demonstrates to authorities and consumers that an EEE product meets all RoHS requirements. Under RoHS 2, manufacturers must produce a compliance statement before a product is put on the market.

[Note: The term ‘declaration of conformity’ is generally used interchangeably with the terms ‘statement of conformity’ or ‘certificate of conformity’ when referring to EU RoHS. All three terms refer to a document issued by the manufacturer to self-declare compliance. 

This is not to be confused with a Certificate of Compliance (CoC), a certificate used in the United Arab Emirates that refers specifically to a certificate issued by a governing body to the manufacturer to approve compliance. Read more: UAE RoHS].

Origins of the RoHS Compliance Certificate Requirement

Current RoHS restrictions are the result of one original directive, RoHS 1, and two updates known as RoHS 2 and 3. Businesses must comply with all requirements included in RoHS 2 and 3.

RoHS 1 and 3 are mainly concerned with the specific materials that are restricted under RoHS, listed above. RoHS 1 included six materials deemed to be hazardous to human health and the environment, and RoHS 3 added four more.

RoHS 2 includes more robust requirements that manufacturers must follow to achieve and demonstrate compliance, including issuing a compliance statement and affixing a CE marking. 

RoHS 2 also created additional categories of appliances subject to RoHS, as well as a larger list of exemptions.

Learn more about the differences between RoHS directives: RoHS 1 vs. RoHS 2 vs. RoHS 3

When Is a Compliance Statement Necessary?

All EEE material and products imported or sold on the EU market must have a certificate of compliance. All parts, components, and materials used in the product require documentation, not just the device itself.

The compliance certificate is necessary whenever a company needs to prove RoHS compliance, whether it is before the product is put on the market or after, if an authority requests to see the certificate.

Manufacturers should keep the declaration of conformity for at least ten years after a product is put on the market, as it will be necessary in the event that the product’s compliance is challenged. Having a declaration of conformity can also help manufacturers prove compliance and avoid RoHS non-compliance penalties.

Learn more about how to comply with RoHS: What Is ‘RoHS Compliant’?

Why Is the RoHS Compliance Statement Important?

The purpose of the compliance statement or certificate is for organizations to demonstrate compliance with RoHS. By writing and signing the statement, a manufacturer is confirming that they have taken all necessary steps to ensure their product is RoHS compliant. 

The compliance statement is a crucial part of RoHS’s emphasis on manufacturers’ self-regulation. The declaration of conformity puts the burden of compliance on manufacturers. 

Having employees of manufacturing companies write the statement themselves takes a burden off of authorities. When authorities investigate a product, the necessary background information on steps taken to ensure compliance is already compiled.

Compliance certificates are also helpful to manufacturers who rely on suppliers for smaller components in final EEE products. Companies can request RoHS compliance certification from their suppliers to ensure that all parts and materials are RoHS compliant. This simplifies the compliance process for the manufacturer. It is still the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure compliance.

What Does a Declaration of Conformity Include?

The description and requirements for the compliance statement are found in RoHS 2 in Article 13 and Annex VI (Directive 2011/65/EU). While the directive does not provide a specific form for manufacturers to fill out, it does provide a list and structure for what the declaration of conformity should include.

Annex VI

Annex VI provides an outline of what information must be included in the declaration of conformity:

  1. Unique identification of EEE product, such as a number and name
  2. Name and address of the manufacturer or his authorised representative
  3. The text: “This declaration of conformity is issued under the sole responsibility of the manufacturer (or installer).”
  4. A description of the object of the declaration (identification of EEE allowing traceability. It may include a photograph, where appropriate).
  5. The text: “The object of the declaration described above is in conformity with Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.”
  6. Where applicable, references to testing, relevant harmonised standards used or references to the technical specifications that were used to declare conformity. (The documentation does not have to be included in the statement itself, but must be available.)
  7. Additional information:

Signed for and on behalf of…

(place and date of issue)

(name, function) (signature)”

Article 13

Article 13 describes what the declaration of conformity is, and what it should include.

  1. The declaration should state that the manufacturer has met the RoHS requirements (described in Article 4 of the directive).
  2. The declaration of conformity should have the structure and information included in Annex VI, and should be translated into the language of the Member State market where the product is sold.
  3. By issuing a declaration of conformity, the manufacturer assumes responsibility for complying with the directive.

Additional Requirement for Demonstrating Compliance: CE Marking

The compliance statement works hand in hand with the CE marking, a visible marking that shows authorities and consumers that the product is RoHS compliant. Like the declaration of conformity, the CE marking includes certain requirements manufacturers must follow, such as proper testing of products and specific documentation.

Read more: What is the CE Marking?

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