Responsible Care®


An ethical framework towards safe chemicals management and performance excellence

Responsible Care® is the global chemical industry’s voluntary initiative, which – beyond legislative and regulatory compliance – commits companies, national chemical industry associations and their partners to:

  • Continuously improve the environmental, health, safety and security knowledge and performance of our technologies, processes and products over their life cycles so as to avoid harm to people and the environment.
  • Use resources efficiently and minimise waste.
  • Report openly on performance, achievements and shortcomings.
  • Listen, engage and work with people to understand and address their concerns and expectations.
  • Cooperate with governments and organisations in the development and implementation of effective regulations and standards, and to meet or go beyond them.
  • Provide help and advice to foster the responsible management of chemicals by all those who manage and use them along the product chain.

Launched in 1985, Responsible Care® activity has since extended beyond chemicals manufacturing to other activities, especially those associated with the safe use and handling of products along the value chain.

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

European 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, the awards programme will showcase projects that contribute towards climate-neutrality, circularity, resource efficiency, while supporting during the pandemic; by caring for the mental health of company employees or accelerating the production of medical devices.

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

Supporting Documents and Guidances

Responsible Care Management Framework and Self-Assessment Tool Q&A

Responsible Care Guidance

Responsible Care Status Report 2018

Responsible Care Global Charter

Responsible Care is the global chemical industry’s environmental, health and safety (EHS) initiative to drive continuous improvement in performance. It achieves this objective by meeting and going beyond legislative and regulatory compliance, and by adopting cooperative and voluntary initiatives with government and other stakeholders.

Responsible Care Security Code

The Responsible Care Global Charter arose from an examination of chemical industry practices and performance that has evolved since the mid-1980s, and was shaped by considering the recommendations of independent stakeholders (SustainAbility Survey published February 2004).