GPCA: Responsible Care earns applause

25 June 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

GPCA began its Responsible Care journey almost two and a half years ago at a grassroots level. All the essential ingredients for the successful start-up of such an initiative - notably support from CEOs, guidance material, assessment methodology, logo ownership, etc - were entirely non-existent at that time.

On top of this, a lack of basic understanding of the initiative itself was the main hurdle for member companies in making decisions that could pave the way for a successful establishment of the initiative.

At the regional level, these issues were compounded even further, creating a challenge for the GPCA itself. It knew that, in the presence of limited resources, the future of the initiative depended largely on a successful start-up.

A positive outcome would also pave the way for implementation of other programs and initiatives that would be forthcoming in the wake of GPCA's associated membership of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA).

GPCA members believed in the Responsible Care initiative and were of the firm opinion that the initiative's implementation would result in a safe, secure, environmentally friendly and conducive workplace and surroundings for people, employees and communities. They also believed this would not only pave the way for a better environment, but also help the petrochemical and chemical industry to fulfill its social responsibilities.

This was the basis under which GPCA members put their trust and confidence in the GPCA's Responsible Care Committee. In two years, the initiative has not just taken roots, but is firmly established within most of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, resulting in the establishment of the initiative across members' facilities.

In order to gauge member companies' performance, ICCA has established a set of eight indicators based on the fundamental features of the Responsible Care Global Charter. All associations in 55 countries across the globe are assessed on these for their Responsible Care performance.

GPCA exceeded all milestones set by the ICCA. As a result, it took the top slot from among the associations across the 55 countries.

GPCA and the Responsible Care Committee take this opportunity to congratulate its members for their support and confidence, which have enabled GPCA to become the youngest-ever association in the world to achieve this top ranking, which it has done within a short span of just two years.

PROGRESS ON ALL POINTS

The fundamental features that serve as the performance indicators for associations are listed below, with GPCA's progress outlined for each of these indicators:

Guiding Principles
ICCA member associations are required to develop a set of guiding principles to help member companies to develop a Responsible Care program within their facilities. GPCA established a set of 12 guiding principles as a high-level document signed by GPCA's chairman and secretary general, as well as the chairman of the Responsible Care Committee. This set of guiding principles has been distributed to all members of GPCA and is available on its Responsible Care web page.

Responsible Care Logo
GPCA has registered the Responsible Care logo with Arabic and English taglines in six GCC Countries. GPCA grants permission for use of the logo under set criteria. So far 18 members have permission.

Codes of Management Practices
GPCA's Responsible Care Committee established seven task forces in 2011 to develop and finalize the seven codes of management practices, namely: community awareness & emergency response (CAER); product stewardship; distribution; process safety; health & safety; environmental protection; and security. The task forces finalized these codes at the start of 2012 and they were then handed over to a technical expert. The codes have now been released to members with a self-assessment tool developed by Borouge for GPCA. These codes will become mandatory within a couple of years, with final dates to be decided by the Responsible Care Committee.

Performance Indicators
Along with the seven code task forces, an eighth task force was formed to tackle the issue of performance metrics. After many deliberations, the task force finalized a set of 21 performance metrics, with six of these on occupational safety, three on process safety, eight on emissions/discharges to environment, three on resource utilization and one on product distribution.

The final performance metrics, along with a guidance document, were issued to members in 2011 for base year 2010 compliance. Eighteen members submitted metrics. A similar request for compliance was sent to members in 2012 for base year 2011 data. The task force has now been renamed as a permanent sub-committee on performance metrics. GPCA has engaged the services of a consultant, who will carry out data analysis of these data sets and report in September 2012.

Best Practices Sharing
GPCA has issued a toolkit called "Lessons Learned and Best Practices". Members have started to share their experience through GPCA and to put examples on the website for viewing and download. GPCA plans to build a database of best practices. In addition, a chat room facility is being developed for use by members to exchange issues of common interest, with response from experts.

Encouragement
GPCA members who have attained excellence in any focus area under the Responsible Care or environment, health, safety and security (EHSS) are helping other members by providing technical expertise. This builds a teamwork concept and helps member companies benefit from these resources in a viable and feasible manner. A number of such regional meetings and workshops have been carried out during the last two years.

Verification
So far 18 member companies have carried out self-assessment. Third-party verification for RC 14001 has been successfully carried out by five companies for single-site certification. One member, SABIC, has been successfully certified along with 19 affiliates under the corporate certification scheme. This year, another 5-6 members have plans for third-party certification.


By: John Baker
+44 20 8652 3214



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