Effective data management for international compliance: Hints and tips

Emma Trevor offers some great tips and hints on how to gather data for both UK and international compliance data submissions.

In recent months, many of us have experienced significant changes to our “normal” working practices and have needed to adapt to ensure we carry on working efficiently. With this in mind, we have prepared some advice to help every business in any sector to manage their data submission(s), especially for those that need to submit data to multiple countries, while working away from the office.

Data gathering

Every company will have different data systems and requirements; however, a general checklist can be drafted, which will help to ensure all necessary details are captured for submissions. All obligated businesses will at least need to report on product type, sales and packaging weights regardless of industry sector. It is also important consistent data collection methods are used, otherwise inaccuracies can occur. For example, using a different set of scales for weighing or naming the same pieces of packaging can lead to inconsistent results.

Varying data requirements

Data submissions may also vary considerably from one country to the next. Some countries will request total weights or numbers of units, such as Germany, whereas others, such as France and Spain, will ask for detailed breakdowns of packaging elements per product line. It is therefore vital to ensure all required data fields are captured and that battery and electrical product weights are not overlooked.

Plastic polymer types

Packaging submissions require the greatest level of detail, including a breakdown of plastic polymer types. However, recording polymer type has been a fruitful endeavour for many companies, as it not only simplifies the data submission process to various countries across Europe, but has also proved useful when businesses attempt to phase out polymer types that are more challenging and / or expensive to recycle.

Useful information to gather

Other useful information to gather includes:

  • Imports/exports
  • Product type
  • Detailed packaging information
  • Unit of weight
  • Sale quantities
  • Plastic polymer type
  • Plastic rigidity
  • Packaging level (sales packaging or back-of-house)

Submitting your data

Once data has been gathered, the next step is to compile and submit a report. It is important to familiarise yourself with reporting frequencies, as these can vary – annually, bi-annually, quarterly or monthly. Your diary could soon be full of reminders to make data submissions to various European schemes. As well as the number of units and weights of products or packaging, it is important to know if you can deduct returns. Depending on the tonnage or sales turnover of a company, you may be eligible to submit a simpler version of the declaration. For example, in Belgium companies with a turnover of less than €15 million can submit a simple declaration, submitting the number of units of product placed onto the market.

Scoping requirements for materials and products can also vary between countries, so it is vital to check how materials should be declared and the categories electrical products should be declared in.

Finally, ensure that you are familiar with the method of submission, as some schemes may ask for the data to be submitted via an online portal or sent via email.

Valpak can help

We have assisted hundreds of organisations with their data submissions and are experts in managing large volumes of data – from multiple product lines to high product variation, or complex supply chains across diverse business sectors.

Our International Compliance and Data Insights services are underpinned by our product and packaging weights database, EPIC (Environmental Product Information Centre), which holds over 20 million weights from a robust sample of products. And our methodology complies with the Environment Agency standard – data must be as accurate as reasonably possible. This means we can ensure greater international data submission accuracy.

Our International Compliance customers are allocated expert account managers, who are the main point of contact for all technical questions. They check client data for inaccuracies and our system allows for a full and clear audit trail from sales reports through to declaration submission.

We also organise regular weighing days, using our weighing equipment and methodology, to improve weights coverage. We choose critical products that can be applied to multiple product lines where possible.

Our Data Insight Platform provides more clarity, as it allows customers to view their own data on a granular level, meaning they can investigate any issues such as use of bad materials in certain product lines. The system pinpoints where improvements can be made and provides a clear and concise look into data that would otherwise be less visible.

Contact us

To find out more about international environmental legislation and how we can help please call us on 03450 682 572 or complete our online enquiry form.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation