What is Responsible Care?

Responsible Care is a voluntary initiative of the global chemical industry focused on improving performance, communication and accountability. Responsible Care commits companies, through their national/regional chemical associations, to work together to continuously improve the health, safety and environmental performance of their products and processes. It is a major contribution by the industry in achieving sustainable development.

Who runs the initiative?

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) manages Responsible Care at the global level. National chemical associations commit to Responsible Care through the ICCA, and go through a formal application process administered by the ICCA's Responsible Care Leadership Group. The national association is responsible for overseeing implementation of the initiative by chemical companies operating in their country. The ICCA aims to extend Responsible Care to all chemical-producing countries. You can find out more about how Responsible Care is applied in each country by contacting the relevant association directly.

What is the Responsible Care Global Charter?

The Responsible Care Global Charter was launched publicly at the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-1) in 2006. They are the foundation of ICCA’s contribution to the UN’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). The Responsible Care Global Charter seeks to harmonize, govern and expand the ethic globally, commits ICCA to a renewed and strengthened focus on product stewardship throughout the supply chain, and embodies industry’s contribution to sustainable development.

Global CEOs of nearly all the world’s leading chemical companies have signed a Declaration of Support for the Charter. See the list of CEOs

Do all chemical companies belong to Responsible Care?

No, it is a voluntary initiative but a number of leading national associations have made commitment to Responsible Care a condition of membership. Virtually all the world's leading chemical manufacturers have signed up to Responsible Care. The initiative was started in Canada in 1985; 54 associations representing 60 economies around the world had been accepted as members of ICCA’s Responsible Care Leadership Group by end 2010.

How does Responsible Care work?

Responsible Care is a commitment, signed by a chemical company's Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent in that country) and carried out by all employees, to continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental performance, and to openness and transparency with stakeholders. It helps companies improves performance by identifying and spreading good management practices, and promotes mutual support between companies and associations through experience sharing and peer pressure.

How does Responsible Care involve external stakeholders?

Responsible Care commits chemical companies to be open and transparent with stakeholders at the local, national and international level. It encourages dialogue and cooperation, and has helped industry work much more closely with local communities, governments, trades unions, international organizations, environmental groups and others to understand and address their concerns. Responsible Care also promotes co-operation with governments and organizations in the development and implementation of effective regulations and standards, and helps companies to meet or exceed these requirements.

What is Product Stewardship?

 Product stewardship is Responsible Care applied to products, and covers more than just production and use of chemicals: it extends to other parts of the product chain such as transport, storage, use and eventual disposal. To be effective, product stewardship requires the close co-operation of everyone involved in the product's life cycle. Companies are working with their suppliers, customers, distributors and user groups to spread Responsible Care throughout the supply chain.  In 2006, ICCA launched the Global Product Strategy under which it has carried out a number of important actions to further strengthen its commitment to the safe management of chemicals throughout their entire life cycle.

If you have questions about Responsible Care that are not addressed here, contact us and we will do our best to help.