Responsible Care – industry self-regulation

Responsible Care is the chemical industry’s global initiative to drive continuous improvement and achieve excellence in environmental, health, safety and security performance.

Responsible Care embraces the development and application of sustainable chemistry, helping our industry contribute to sustainable development while meeting the world’s growing need for essential chemicals and the products those chemicals make possible.

Launched in 1985 by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, and practiced today in around 60 national chemical manufacturing associations and thousands of chemical manufacturing sites worldwide, Responsible Care is an essential part of ICCA’s contribution to the United Nations’ Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

The foundation of industry’s commitment to SAICM is the Responsible Care Global Charter. First published in 2006, the ICCA Board approved a new, strengthened Global Charter, along with implementation guidance, in May 2014, to respond more effectively to current stakeholder expectations and address industry challenges. Company CEOs signing the Charter are expected to implement Responsible Care in their own organizations and lead implementation efforts worldwide. As of October 2015, leaders from 536 global chemical manufacturing companies, including 90% of the world’s top 100 petrochemical and chemical manufacturers, had signed on to the revised Charter.

Responsible Care also has fostered the development of the ICCA Global Product Strategy (GPS), which seeks to improve industry’s management of chemicals and communicate information about chemical risks throughout the supply chain. Through Responsible Care, the chemical industry is tracking and reporting its progress on critical elements of product stewardship and making further improvements to its current processes.

At the national level, member associations are responsible for implementing Responsible Care in their countries. Individual national programs are at different stages of development with different emphases, and are monitored and coordinated by the ICCA Responsible Care Leadership Group.

The Responsible Care network continues to expand to new regions, countries and companies, fostering capacity building, sharing of environmental, health, safety and security information and employing an increasingly rigorous system of checklists, performance indicators and verification procedures.