The VCI is taking stock

25 years Responsible Care programme in the German chemical industry

Success story for the chemical industry: Responsible Care has changed the sector around the globe. This term stands for the claim of the industry to achieve progress in safety and environ-mental protection, beyond the relevant legal requirements. For 25 years now, the German chemical industry has been a party to the international Responsible Care (RC) programme. In the future, the industry will give even more focus on product stewardship along the value chain, chemicals in consumer articles and the security of plants.

Responsible Care obliges the companies to make industrial chemistry safe for workers, neighbours and the environment – at the companies’ own responsibility - and in Germany already since 25 years.
Responsible Care obliges the companies to make industrial chemistry safe for workers, neighbours and the environment – at the companies’ own responsibility - and in Germany already since 25 years.

Back in March 1991 the president of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) transposed the guidelines “Chemistry and Environment” into the German RC programme. With this step, the VCI and its member companies joined the worldwide Responsible Care initiative, which is today being implemented in almost 60 countries.

Gerd Romanowski (VCI Director Science, Technical and Environmental Affairs) on the anniversary: „Responsible Care obliges the companies to make industrial chemistry safe for workers, neighbours and the environment – at the companies’ own responsibility. Beyond existing legal requirements, the companies and their staff turn the initiative into a reality in their everyday practice – with fewer emissions, better protection at the workplace, and safer production and products. The positive effect of the initiative is recognized by both public authorities and non-governmental organizations. Also for this reason, Responsible Care is a true success story for our industry.”

Chemical companies are working on continuous improvements In the six original RC fields of action (environmental protection, product stewardship, occupational health and safety, process safety, transport safety and communication). An outstanding example from environmental protection is the VCI agreement with the port of Rotterdam on reducing the release of harmful substances into the river Rhine; this agreement stretched over 15 years to 2006. Over that period, the direct releases of heavy metals by chemical companies were significantly reduced not only into the Rhine but nationwide – until heavy metal releases finally reached their analytical detection limit. Major progress was also achieved, for example, for clean air, climate protection, occupational and transport safety.

Romanowski: “But with regard to the great global challenges, the chemical industry is constantly called upon to find new and better solutions. In the future, the industry will give even more focus on product stewardship along the value chain, chemicals in consumer articles and the security of plants.” Against this backdrop, security was added in 2012 as another field of action.

Since 2013 Responsible Care has been a programme in its own right under the umbrella of the sustainability initiative Chemie3 of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE) and the German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC).

With Responsible Care the companies cover the so-called ecological dimension of sustainability. VCI director Romanowski emphasizes: “This is why the RC initiative is part of our 12 sustainability guidelines; it is expressly mentioned in the guidelines 1 and 8. Thus, Responsible Care is an important constituent of Chemie3.”


The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2015 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 190 billion euros and employed 447,000 staff.

Contact: VCI Press Dept., Phone: +49 69 2556-1496, E-Mail: presse@vci.de

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Contacts

Monika von Zedlitz

E-Mail: zedlitz@vci.de