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Global Chemical Industry to Highlight Product Stewardship Progress

March 26, 2009
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), a coalition of leading chemical trade associations around the world, will soon issue a report on important product stewardship progress made by the industry in the past few years. At the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-2), to be held in Geneva May 11-15, industry representatives will detail progress in improving the safe management of chemicals. Furthermore, ICCA will explain how the global chemical industry will continue to demonstrate its economic, social and environmental commitments around the globe.

During a recent media teleconference, North American representatives of ICCA previewed the forthcoming report on chemical industry initiatives. Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Dave Weidman, chairman and CEO of Celanese, and Richard Paton, president and CEO of the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA), said that “the global chemical industry is part of the solution for a better environment and a more sustainable society,” and that “ICCA, its member associations, and the companies they represent are improving product stewardship worldwide to ensure chemicals are manufactured, handled and used in a safe and environmentally-sound manner throughout their life cycles.”

At ICCM-1, held in Dubai in February 2006, the industry undertook two new initiatives, the Responsible Care Global Charter (RCGC) and Global Product Strategy (GPS), to help fulfill the objectives of the U.N.’s Strategic Approach of International Chemicals Management (SAICM). SAICM is the international policy framework that encourages governments, industry, and other stakeholders to work together to realize the goal established at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development: that by the year 2020, chemicals will be produced and used in ways that minimize adverse impacts to human health and the environment. The GPS includes a 2018 target date for assessing the safety of chemicals in commerce and an interim 2012 target for companies to report on their progress for making these assessments.

In Geneva, ICCA will report on many important milestones including: creation of a base set of hazard and exposure information for conducting chemical safety assessments; development of global product stewardship guidelines for use by member associations and companies to accelerate the implementation of chemical management programs; development of a process to enhance transparency and information exchange between co-producers, along the value chain, with governments and the public; capacity building projects and new partnerships to improve chemicals management performance in a number of developing countries; extending the Responsible Care network to include a pilot project with Chinese national companies, and outreach in Eastern Europe and the Persian Gulf; a broadened commitment to strengthening the scientific foundation for public policy and commercial decisions through independent quality research.

In London, Brussels, and Tokyo last week, representatives of leading chemical trade associations (Cefic and JCIA) echoed similar comments.

“At ICCM-2, the industry is eager to report its progress in implementing the Responsible Care Global Charter and Global Product Strategy (GPS)” said Christian Jourquin, president of ICCA. “The Global Charter goes beyond the elements of industry’s existing Responsible Care safety, health, and environment programs to address the growing public dialogue over sustainable development, public health issues relating to the use of chemical products, and the need for greater industry transparency. And the GPS both advances and measures industry’s product stewardship performance and improves communication with stakeholders.”

For more information on the Responsible Care Global Charter and the Global Product Strategy, visit ICCA online at www.icca-chem.org.