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Chemical Week Magazine :: Cover Story

Responsible Care Charting a new course

10:20 AM MST | December 20, 2012 | —Kara Sissell

Next year will mark the beginning of a new direction for Responsible Care in the United States, with the launch of ACC’s product safety and process safety codes, says Sven Royall, v.p./global intermediates for Shell Chemicals and newly appointed chair of ACC’s Responsible Care board committee.
ACC has completed its strategic review of the Responsible Care program. Changes beginning in 2013 will help member companies better manage challenges facing the industry today, ACC officials say. Concerns about product safety have been a persistent challenge, and ACC says the new Responsible Care Product Safety Code will help industry better communicate product safety performance with customers, consumers, and regulators.
 “I believe the most powerful outcome of the strategic review is the new product safety code. It embodies our commitment to the safe management of our chemical products, and requires us to voluntarily abide by our commitment, regardless of whether the US government takes actions to modernize the US Toxic Substances Control Act,” Royall says. “Instead of waiting for the government to act, we are taking affirmative action through our new product safety code to manage chemicals throughout their life cycles, working with our value chains so that chemicals can be used safely and continue to contribute to sustainable solutions, from solar energy cells to lightweight, fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Responsible Care, launched in Canada in 1985 and adopted in the United States in 1988, was part of industry’s response to several high-profile incidents and accidents—including the disastrous 1984 methyl isocyanate (MIC) leak at Bhopal, India. The nature of industry’s priorities has changed significantly since then, in part because advances in process safety have made such catastrophic accidents much rarer. Now, increased concerns about product safety top industry’s agenda and have become the next area of focus for Responsible Care. The product safety code is ACC’s response to the proliferation in the United States of product-specific bans that make it necessary for companies to constantly monitor changes to state and local laws, including decisions about product reformulation.
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