Through voluntary industry initiatives like Responsible Care® and the Global Product Strategy, ICCA is committed to help improve the sustainability and safe management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle.

ICCA and the Road to 2020

At the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) joined with other stakeholders and governments to establish the goal that, by the year 2020, chemicals should be “used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.” Guiding this journey is the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a policy framework that calls on the most advanced countries to step up and share their knowledge and expertise with developing economies to help promote chemical safety around the world. ICCA is a strong supporter of the SAICM multi-stakeholder approach to create a world where chemicals can be produced and used sustainably.


We believe sound chemicals management is achieved through a combination of science and risk-based regulation and voluntary industry initiatives. To that end, in Dubai in 2006, ICCA introduced two voluntary initiatives – the Responsible Care® Global Charter and the Global Product Strategy – as our primary contributions to achieve the objectives of SAICM. Each of these programs aligns closely with SAICM’s Overarching Policy Strategy and reflects ICCA’s commitment to elevate the global standard of product safety and harmonize the safe management of chemicals.


The Responsible Care Global Charter

The Responsible Care Global Charter is a pledge that CEOs of leading chemical companies have signed to create and foster a common global vision to improve the environmental, health and safety performance of chemical producers in the more than 60 nations that currently implement the initiative. In 2014, we updated and strengthened the Responsible Care Global Charter to address ongoing stakeholder expectations and evolving challenges, and to enable industry to speak with a common voice about its global commitments. As of January 1, 2016, more than 90 percent of the world’s top 100 petrochemical and chemical manufacturers have signed on to the revised Global Charter.

GPS thumb

The Global Product Strategy

Through our Global Product Strategy (GPS), ICCA members are on a journey to improve the safe management of chemicals around the world. We actively engage in activities where we believe SAICM can make the most progress toward its vision for sound chemicals management. For example, in countries that currently lack the capacity for sound chemicals management, ICCA is working to put that capacity into place. We provide governments with step-by-step guidance for implementing risk assessment and product stewardship best practices into a risk-based, national chemical safety program. And we work together to improve transparency and access to important chemical safety information so that all stakeholders can be confident in our progress.


    First published in 2006, the Responsible Care Global Charter was revised in 2014 to address ongoing stakeholder expectations and evolving challenges, and to enable industry to speak with a common voice about its global commitments.

The Global Charter’s Six Elements

Signatories to the Responsible Care® Global Charter commit to actively strengthen Responsible Care worldwide by dedicating their company, people, technologies and business practices to the Charter’s Six Elements:

A Corporate Leadership Culture that proactively supports safe chemicals management through the global Responsible Care initiative.
Safeguarding People and the Environment by continuously improving our environmental, health and safety performance; the security of our facilities, processes and technologies; and by driving continuous improvement in chemical product safety and stewardship throughout the supply chain.
Strengthening Chemicals Management Systems by participating in the development and implementation of lifecycle-oriented, sound-science and risk-based chemical safety legislation and best practices.
Influencing Business Partners to promote the safe management of chemicals within their own operations.
Engaging Stakeholders understanding and responding to their concerns and expectations for safer operations and products and communicating openly on our performance and products.
Contributing to Sustainability through improved performance, expanded economic opportunities and the development of innovative technologies and other solutions to societal challenges.

A Worldwide Commitment to Continuous Improvement

The commitment to excellence and continuous improvement can’t be effective unless it is embraced broadly by the industry. CEOs from nearly 100 of the largest chemical companies in the world have signed the Global Charter as a sign of our industry’s commitment to safe chemicals management.


    ICCA’s Global Product Strategy (GPS), launched at the first International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) in 2006, builds on and extends industry’s product stewardship efforts and is pivotal to industry’s implementation of SAICM.

The Four Pillars of GPS

Through its signature capacity building workshops and accompanying guidance materials, GPS is designed to help those countries which may lack the capacity to manage chemicals safely to learn how to put that capacity into place – and maximize the social, economic and environmental benefits that come with a safe, strong and sustainable manufacturing industry. To accomplish our mission, we focus on achieving progress in four key areas:

Product Stewardship

The responsibility to understand, manage and communicate the health and environmental impacts of chemical products at each point in their life cycle.

Risk Assessment & Risk Management

The scientific evaluation of a chemical’s hazards, uses and exposures to determine the probability that it will cause adverse effects under real-world conditions, which determines if steps are needed to reduce the risk of harm or misuse.

Stronger Chemicals Management Globally

Promoting risk-based chemicals management through a mix of government rules, voluntary industry programs, and publicly-sponsored training and recognition programs, particularly in countries without robust chemical management systems.


Providing health, safety and environmental information about chemicals to stakeholders and the public to enable customers, regulators and consumers to understand how chemistries can and should be used safely.

Continued Progress Toward GPS Implementation

The Global Product Strategy requires that all ICCA national chemical associations develop plans to implement GPS. Today, more than two-thirds of ICCA member companies report they have already begun to implement the program’s product stewardship best practices.

Building Capacity Throughout the Network

Capacity Building is aimed at promoting awareness of and knowledge on chemical hazards, managing the risks associated with manufacturing and use of chemicals and developing the necessary national infrastructure and capacities for regulatory and voluntary approaches on chemicals management.

ICCA and our partners have targeted small and mid-sized chemical companies (SMEs) to help ensure good chemicals management is an integral part of their business.

In addition, to address the needs of both emerging and developing economies, ICCA has developed different workshop formats, ranging from awareness-raising for beginners, to intense technical training for more advanced audiences.

Experts from ICCA member associations and companies share their expertise as trainers in about 20 GPS Workshops annually. Since ICCM1 in 2006, ICCA and our partners have provided capacity building support for 195 projects in 46 countries, totaling more than US $1.8 million.

GPS Guidance Materials

To support our global capacity building initiative, ICCA has developed a set of innovative tools and materials designed to help countries implement best practices in risk assessment and product stewardship into their own risk-based, national chemical safety legislation.

Regulatory Toolbox for Developing Countries

Our Regulatory Toolbox launched in 2013 and provides guidance to governments in developing countries on how to integrate GPS into their own risk-based, national chemical safety legislation.

Guidance on Chemical Risk Assessment

ICCA’s Guidance on Chemical Risk Assessment is available in more than eight languages and describes a step-by-step process for assessing chemicals for safety.

Product Stewardship Guidelines

Product Stewardship Guidelines help companies design and implement best practices for enhancing the health, safety and environmental performance of their products.

The GPS Chemicals Portal

The GPS Chemicals Portal is a publicly accessible online database with detailed product summaries for more than 90 percent of the world’s most highly traded chemicals (as of April 2016). The summaries provide the most relevant product safety information from companies on the chemical products they manufacture in a language that non-specialists will find easy to understand. Anyone can access the GPS portal to find out more about chemical products in use today.


The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) placed partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society as central to achieving global sound chemicals management and sustainable development goals. Today, government officials, NGOs and civil society, and experts from industry are each contributing their perspectives and knowledge to build a stronger foundation for sound chemicals management.


The innovative research program of the ICCA Long-Range Research Initiative (ICCA-LRI) is designed to improve the quality of chemical safety assessments.

Although societal and political drivers vary around the world, the three regional LRI programs in Europe, the U.S. and Japan identify common scientific topic areas that industry regards as important to form the core of the global ICCA-LRI program.

Through the ICCA, the independently managed LRI research programs support complementary areas of scientific investigation.


After many years of cooperation, in September 2010, ICCA and UNEP signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in order to further our common goals of developing and implementing effective chemicals management systems.

The partnership agreement leverages public and private resources to promote implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

The MoU embodies our wish to elevate our long-lasting partnership to a new level in order to set the framework for a successful future collaboration.

ICCA and our members are looking forward to similar declarations that include additional partners in the years to come.

ICCA and Pure Earth

Legacy pollution is often found at sites contaminated by past mining activities, at abandoned industrial or chemical sites, or at obsolete pesticide storage facilities.

In response, ICCA and our partners are working together to improve chemicals management through the value chain to prevent future chemical contamination issues.

ICCA has been proud to partner with NGO and IGO organizations to help prevent human exposures from legacy contamination.

We have provided expert advice and support to Pure Earth / Blacksmith Institute — an international organization that works to remediate contaminated sites in the developing world — to address contamination at an abandoned, former government-owned and operated chemicals site in the Ukraine.

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