Responsible Care


Responsible Care® is the global chemical industry’s voluntary initiative to drive continuous improvement of performance in health, safety and the environment.

Regardless of legislative and regulatory compliance, the chemical industry has developed a code of ethics with a view to fostering sustainable development.

The Responsible Care initiative began in Canada in 1985 and was adopted by the Hellenic Association of Chemical Industries (HACI) in 1994. HACI is a full member of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), which is responsible for advancing the programme and ensuring its consistent implementation across Europe. Cefic is the voice of 29,000 large, medium and small chemical companies in Europe, which provide 1.3 million jobs and account for one third of world chemicals production.

At international level, the responsible body is the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) representing 60 countries, whose chemical companies account for more than 70% of global chemicals production.

Responsible Care – Presentation


Based on guidelines, best practices and management systems, this individual and collective initiative enables the chemical industry to establish its reputation in a world where chemicals are considered more as possible risks than as elements that contribute to every one’s well-being. Every step taken towards this direction is a source of benefits. Responsible Care® offers added value.


The success of Responsible Care® relies on regular communication and dialogue with employees, members, the public and competent bodies: actions and processes are more effective when planned and implemented in consultation with all stakeholders.


Responsible Care ensures that the chemical industry can go beyond its regulatory obligations to offer its members additional benefits that involve all stakeholders of a company.

Benefits for the Management:

  • Securing support from the sector and exchanging best practices
  • Boosting corporate image
  • Fostering a positive work environment and internal communication
  • Reducing costs from saving energy and resources.
  • Reducing costs for emergency management

Benefits for employees & partners:

  • A safe and healthy work environment.
  • Trust that the company operates on Responsible Care guidelines as a sign of ethical behaviour
  • Proper assessment of activities

Benefits for the local community:

  • Protection of the local environment by minimising pollution risk
  • Trust in the company and its safe operation

Benefits for the general public:

  • Use of safe products
  • Protection of the environment
  • Trust of the public in the chemical industry

In Europe

Cefic’s role is to promote Responsible Care® in Europe and to ensure consistency of implementation by national member federations. Each Cefic member federation is responsible for developing and running its own national Responsible Care® programme with its member companies, and for overseeing implementation by those companies.

Responsible Care® Management Framework

In 2020, Cefic renewed its Responsible Care® management framework for Europe. The Responsible Care® management framework is a guidebook explaining the concepts and overall approach. This is accompanied by a Responsible Care self-assessment webtool, a multiple-choice questionnaire available in 18 languages.

Click here for more information about the Responsible Care® management framework, new Self-Assessment webtool and access all supporting documents.

The European Responsible Care® Security Code

In 2010, Cefic and its member federations adopted the European Responsible Care® Security Code, whose role is to advance Responsible Care® in Europe promoting and ensuring consistency of implementation by national member federations. Each Cefic member federation is responsible for developing and running its own national Responsible Care® programme with its member companies, and for overseeing implementation by those companies. Cefic also focuses on engaging with stakeholders, increasing the involvement of SMEs and extending Responsible Care® throughout the value chain.

The European Responsible Care® Awards

The European Responsible Care® Award is a recognition of the chemical industry’s work to enhance safe chemicals management and achieve performance excellence. Since 2005, the Responsible Care® awards have acknowledged chemical companies and federations from all over Europe, and strengthened European commitment to the Responsible Care® programme.

This year, given the devastating humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine, our European chemicals industry would like to share its efforts to support the daily life of the people of Ukraine and mitigate the long-term adverse effects of the energy crisis towards a sustainable European economy.


The Responsible Care® Global Charter

The Responsible Care® Global Charter creates and fosters a common global vision to improve the environmental, health and safety performance of chemical producers by uniting the commitment of more than 580 CEOs of leading chemical companies. Updated in 2014, the Charter addresses ongoing stakeholder expectations and evolving challenges and enables industry to speak with one voice about its global commitments. By 2016, more than 90 percent of the world’s top 100 petrochemical and chemical manufacturers had signed on to the revised Global Charter (list of signatories).

On 3 February 2021 Cefic Director General, Mr Marco Mensink, and Cefic President, Mr Martin Brudermüller, signed a declaration of support for the Responsible Care Global Charter. By demonstrating this commitment to performance excellence, Cefic is playing its part in actively safeguarding people and the environment, demonstrating its contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and enhancing the collective quality of life.

The voluntary programme has been implemented by 63 chemical associations in more than 70 economies around the globe, including 30 countries across Europe.