Today marks the 30th Anniversary of Responsible Care in the United States. Responsible Care is the backbone of the chemical industry’s sustainability commitment, helping chemical manufacturers operate with health, safety and environmental protection as a top priority.
- Responsible Care implementation means the chemical manufacturing industry is committed to safe operations. In fact, Responsible Care companies are five times safer than the U.S. manufacturing sector as a whole, and almost three times safer than the chemical industry overall. Altogether, Responsible Care companies have reduced recordable injury and illness incidence rates by 79 percent since 1990.
- Responsible Care means we stand behind the safety of our products. We assess the health and environmental impacts of our chemical products, taking into account how consumers will use them, and sharing information with our customers and the public openly and transparently.
- Responsible Care means we make security enhancements to safeguard our facilities and communities. ACC member companies have invested more than $21 billion to further enhance facility security since September 11, 2001.
- And – perhaps most importantly – Responsible Care means we listen to our stakeholders – the people who live in plant communities and the people that use the products of chemistry. We face performance challenges head on and undertake initiatives to improve.
Responsible Care began in 1988 and has evolved over the past three decades to continually respond to stakeholder needs:
- Starting in 1994, Responsible Care required ACC members to report company performance on worker and process safety, transportation incidents and facility emissions. ACC members began publicly reporting individual performance in 2007, and over the years, increased the number of required reporting metrics to include a variety of environmental, energy impact, and worker and facility safety metrics. Today, ACC is working to further expand its reporting to incorporate a range of sustainability-related topics.
- In response to increasing demand for chemical safety information, ACC and its member companies launched the Responsible Care Product Safety Code in 2013 to drive continuous improvement in chemical product safety and stewardship. As part of this framework, ACC member companies make information about chemicals available so consumers can make informed decisions about the products they purchase.
- More recently, through Responsible Care, ACC members have undertaken a series of initiatives to enhance process safety and occupational safety performance across facilities, resulting in significant improvements. In fact, in 2016, ACC member companies reported an overall total recordable injury rate of less than 1 injury or illness per 100 full-time employees, an all-time low.
As the next natural progression, the chemical industry is building out a broad-reaching sustainability initiative. The chemical industry is at the forefront of sustainability – innovations made possible by the chemical industry are the force behind life-saving medical devices like blood bags and incubators, energy-efficient hybrid cars and solar panels, water treatment technologies that supply clean water to billions of people around the world, fertilizers that enhance crop yields, packaging that keeps food fresher longer, and more.
This past June, ACC unveiled a set of industry-wide Sustainability Principles, which articulate the industry’s contributions to sustainability and commitment to advancing safe, innovative, effective chemical products, materials and technologies that are essential to a sustainable future.
As we plan for our industry’s future for the next 30 years and beyond, ACC will continue to articulate and build its sustainability vision, one that encompasses and complements the elements of Responsible Care.