It is those who manufacture, import or sell chemical products, pesticides or articles who are responsible for ensuring that the products comply with the regulatory requirements. This applies regardless of whether you sell them in a physical store or in an online store.
If you sell products on the internet, you are responsible for ensuring that your products are safe and comply with the chemical regulations. This applies to those who sell chemical products, such as glue, paint and detergents. But those who sell articles, such as toys, electronics, clothes and furniture are also subject to chemical regulations. Remember that the packaging of your product is also an article that is covered by chemical regulations. As a person who conducts e-commerce, you may for example be required to follow regulations that mean you are responsible for ensuring that
- your products do not contain prohibited substances
- you inform your customers if the products contain certain hazardous substances
- your chemical products are clearly labelled in Swedish
- the pesticides you sell are approved for sale and use in Sweden
- you report information regarding your products to the relevant authorities
- you provide certain information on the website where you market the product.
Roles and responsibilities
In order to know what responsibilities and obligations you have, you must first identify your role within the distribution chain and check which regulations apply to your articles and chemical products.
Those who manufacture or import products directly from countries outside of the EU/EEA often have a greater responsibility than those who only sell products from suppliers within the EU/EEA. In the latter example, you are considered to be a distributor. A company may have more than one role, such as being both an importer and a distributor.
The regulations apply regardless of the size of the company and regardless of whether you sell the products in a physical store or on the internet.
Impose chemical requirements on your suppliers
To be able to ensure that your products comply with the regulations, you need to receive sufficient information about the content of your products and materials. We therefore recommend that you set specific chemical requirements in the agreement with your suppliers. This is especially important if you import products directly from countries outside of the EU/EEA, as products that are allowed in these countries may be prohibited for sale in Sweden and the rest of the EU.
A Nordic enforcement project on e-commerce reported in 2020 shows that 78% of the controlled products purchased directly from companies outside the EU did not meet the requirements of the European chemicals legislation. The corresponding figure for products purchased from companies within the EU is 32%.
Requirements for information in e-commerce
When marketing and selling chemical products and pesticides on the internet, you may, among other things, be required to inform customers regarding the products’ hazardous properties. For example, certain information on the label on the packaging should be visible on the website where you market the product. This provides customers with information regarding the dangers of the product before the purchase.
When marketing pesticides, the website must also contain additional information, such as an indication that the product should be used safely and take note of the information on the packaging before use.
Those who sell toys on the internet may also need to provide certain information about the product on the website. In some cases, special warnings must be provided on websites where toys are marketed to consumers.
There are also general regulations that apply to those who conduct e-commerce. For example, there are regulations contained in the Electronic Commerce Act and the Marketing Act that place demands on those who sell articles on the internet.