Responsible Care management practice standards contribute to Sustainable Development Goals

The Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) has member companies that are responsible for a majority of the volume of goods traded by the South African chemical industry value chain. South Africa is ranked among the top 25 chemical supplying countries in the world, with the sector contributing approximately 5% to the country’s gross domestic product, 25% to manufacturing output and employing over 200 000 people.

“The Responsible Care® programme, launched in 1985, is the prevailing ethic that guides the health, safety and environmental performance of the global chemical industry,” explains Deidré Penfold Executive Director of CAIA. “There are over 65 countries with Responsible Care® implementation and more than 150 of the world’s global chemical companies are signatories to a global charter.

“CAIA members commit to self-assessments and independent audits of their implementation of eight Responsible Care® Management Practice Standards (MPSs) that encompass this industry’s voluntary, global commitment to sustainability.”

The Management Practice Standards (MPSs) are:

  1. Management Commitment
  2. Health and Safety
  3. Storage, Distribution and Transport
  4. Pollution Prevention and Resource Efficiency
  5. Emergency Response
  6. Community Interaction
  7. Product Stewardship
  8. Process Safety

“These MPSs can be directly linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ratified by the United Nations at the September 2015 UN summit and underscore the chemical industry’s commitment to sustainability in South Africa.

“This article looks at the first pillar of Management Practice Standard, with subsequent articles discussing the other MPSs and their impact on the industry,” concludes Penfold.

Business and sustainable development

Key to the achievement of sustainability is the responsibility of the executive to these goals and this is covered by the Management Practice Standard (MPS) - Management Commitment.

CAIA considers this an overarching goal, as the commitment of management to sustainable development is the most important element to consider. The decisions taken by management will result in the most appropriate actions being taken by the company. Management commits to the Responsible Care® initiative; this requires the investment of financial and human resources to achieve the continuous improvement in safety, health and environmental performance, which can include research, development and innovation.

SDGs achieved

The implementation of Management Commitment assists in fulfilling the following Sustainable Development Goals

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Decent work and economic growth
  7. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  8. Reduced inequalities
  9. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  10. Partnerships for the goals

Management Practice Standard (MPS) - Management Commitment

The objective of this standard is to provide guidance to member companies, for their business units or sites that commit to Responsible Care®, as well as in terms of their responsibilities for crosscutting elements of the initiative.

Due to the major implications and responsibility associated with the management team of a company, the MPS for Management is very specific and sets out the following requirements:

1 Leadership and commitment

  • Implement Responsible Care® as a key component of the company business strategy
  • Understand and support for Responsible Care® by the company board
  • Incorporate Responsible Care® performance goals / targets / objectives into employee performance evaluations
  • Provide opportunities for employees to participate in developing, implementing and reviewing Responsible Care® within the company
  • Provide resources to implement Responsible Care®
  • Introduce mechanisms to ensure that public comments, concerns and complaints are taken seriously. Establish dialogue with the communities adjacent to sites in order to address any concerns relating to operations and to foster understanding and appreciation of the Responsible Care® ethic

2 Policy

  • Ensure the provision of written policy, plans, programmes and procedures for achieving continuous improvement of performance.

3 Management review

  • Ensure the measurement of performance, reviews and audits for compliance and implementation of corrective actions.
  • Ensure timely investigation, reporting and follow-up of incidents.

4 Legislative requirements

  • Ensure the identification and dissemination of all applicable legislation and Responsible Care® requirements covering the full product lifecycle.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable legislation.
  • Strive for performance beyond legal compliance.
  • Co-operate with all other interested parties, Government, NGOs, STANSA and other chemical companies in creating responsible laws, regulations and standards to safeguard the workplace and environment.

5 Organisational responsibility

  • Establish clear management accountabilities for specific aspects of Responsible Care®, e.g. an organisational chart, clearly defined RC duties and delegation of responsibilities.

6 Personnel

  • Integrate Responsible Care® into all relevant training courses.
  • Identify the skills and knowledge necessary to perform each job.
  • Provide training for all employees to reach and maintain proficiency and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their jobs.
  • Demonstrate and document skill proficiency prior to assignment to independent work and periodically thereafter.

7 Communication

  • Raise awareness of the Responsible Care® ethic with all stakeholders.
  • Report on Responsible Care® performance, e.g. in the annual report and to employees.

CAIA launched the Responsible Care® programme in South Africa in 1994. This is the global chemical industry’s unique initiative to improve health, safety and environmental performance and to communicate with stakeholders about products and processes. In addition to this programme, CAIA provides linkages to sustainability in the chemical industries’ value chain through advocacy, training, support of educational drives in maths and science and the advancement of these concepts into sub-Saharan Africa.

CAIA is a member of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the worldwide voice of the chemical industry, representing chemical manufacturers and producers all over the world and is recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These international alliances allow the Association to source best practice in training, information, advocacy and legislative compliance.

For more information, go to or call +27 (0) 11 482-1671.

Issued on behalf of: The Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA)
Contact: Deidré Penfold - CAIA Executive Director
Tel: +27(0)11 482-1671
Fax: +27 (0) 11 726-8310
Date: 28 June 2016
Issued by: Freelancers Writing Services
Contact: Gwen Watkins

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