Canada’s chemistry sector commits to enhancing engagement with Indigenous communities
January 20, 2020
The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) has updated its United Nations-recognized Responsible Care® Codes for 2020 to include new commitments for Canada’s leading chemical companies to engage Indigenous communities through proactive and formal processes.
While developing the codes, the CIAC engaged with Indigenous communities and their leaders, and these new commitments for CIAC members will taking effect this month.
CIAC members’ efforts to meet these important commitments will be assessed during their obligatory Responsible Care verification process, which is undertaken regularly by third parties with results made available to the public on CIAC’s website.
“Since the beginning of Responsible Care in 1985, CIAC members have been obligated to be accountable and responsive to the public, especially local communities who have the right to understand the risks and benefits of what they do,” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO. “In extending that obligation to specifically include Indigenous communities, Canada’s chemistry sector demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Responsible Care and its ability to be responsive to evolving societal expectations for the industry.”
Responsible Care commitments require CIAC member companies to:
- Engage with Indigenous People in a manner that respects their unique history, culture and rights;
- Provide appropriate supports to ensure Indigenous communities have the capacity to engage the company in a meaningful manner; and
- Provide Indigenous communities with equitable access to employment, contracting and business opportunities.
For more than 30 years, Canada’s chemistry sector has led the journey towards safe, responsible and sustainable chemical manufacturing through its U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative, Responsible Care. Founded in Canada in 1985, Responsible Care is now practised in 73 countries and by 96 of the 100 largest chemical producers in the world. All CIAC members commit to and are publicly verified to the Responsible Care Ethics and Principles for Sustainability and the Responsible Care Codes, which cover all aspects of the company’s business and product lifecycle.
For more information on Responsible Care, visit our website
Responsible Care® Indigenous Communities Code Elements
Responsible Care is the flagship program of the chemistry industry that ensures CIAC members innovate for safer and greener products and processes, and work to continuously improve their environmental, health and safety performance. Launched in Canada in 1985 (and now adopted in 73 countries and recognized by the United Nations) CIAC member-companies strive to “do the right thing and be seen to do the right thing.” This is our commitment to sustainability – delivering results for the betterment of society, the environment, and the economy.
Responsible Care® Ethics and Principles
The Ethics and Principles for Sustainability are the bedrock of Responsible Care. Commitment to these ethics and principles is a condition of CIAC membership and extends through to our transportation and service company partners.
Responsible Care is driven by the following core ethics and principles:
- Work for the improvement of people’s lives and the environment, while striving to do no harm;
- Be accountable and responsive to the public, especially our local communities, who have the right to understand the risks and benefits of what we do;
- Take preventative action to protect health and the environment;
- Innovate for safer products and processes that conserve resources and provide enhanced value;
- Engage with our business partners to ensure the stewardship and security of our products, services and raw materials throughout their lifecycles;
- Understand and meet expectations for social responsibility;
- Work with all stakeholders for public policy and standards that enhance sustainability, act to advance legal requirements and meet or exceed their letter and spirit;
- Promote awareness of Responsible Care and inspire others to commit to these principles.
Responsible Care® Codes
The Responsible Care Codes influence the decisions our member-companies make every day. The most senior executive of each CIAC member-company must renew his or her corporate commitment to these principles annually, and this corporate commitment is put into practice through the implementation of a robust management system that drives continuous improvement towards meeting the Responsible Care codes.
Responsible Care is guided by 152 codes of practice covering Operations, Stewardship and Accountability, as described below:
- Operations Codes: outline how Responsible Care companies should manage their facilities and equipment to ensure that they’re operated in a safe and responsible way. Companies must work to continuously improve the environmental performance of their facilities and processes and reduce their resource consumption.
- Stewardship Codes: outline how companies must regularly review the value, impact and safety of the products that they make, and the services and technologies that they use. They must also work with their business partners – suppliers, distributors, transporters and customers – to ensure the stewardship and security of their products over their entire life cycle
- Accountability Codes: outline how companies communicate the risks and benefits of their operations to those who live beside their plants, or in communities along transportation corridors, as well as to other stakeholders, and to work to address any concerns that they may have.
As of January 2020, new codes have been added to the Responsible Care program to formally address Indigenous community engagement within the program. The new codes supplement the existing Responsible Care’s Accountability Code requirements to encourage proactive engagement, effective and timely communications and dialogue respecting unique history, culture and rights and seek equitable access for employment and contracting opportunities. The new codes are detailed below:
Indigenous Communities Codes
This section refers to Indigenous Communities that are located in the area near a company-owned or leased production facility.
Engagement with such Indigenous Communities shall be undertaken with respect for their unique history, culture and rights.
The company is expected to identify those aspects of the Indigenous code elements that are appropriate for the size, scope and risk profile of the company, including nature, scale and impacts of its operations, activities, products and services.
These Indigenous code elements are intended to supplement the requirements of the other sections of the Accountability Code.
The company shall implement and maintain an ongoing process that:
Identifies and seeks to pro-actively engage with such Indigenous Communities
Seeks to develop and maintain a working relationship with such Indigenous Communities to enable effective communications, dialogue or response to questions, suggestions or concerns expressed so they are addressed in a timely and respectful manner;
Provides support, as appropriate, to allow such Indigenous Communities the capacity to engage meaningfully with the Company;
Periodically reviews the effectiveness of the outreach, communications and engagement process with such Indigenous Communities;
Provides Indigenous Community members equitable access to employment and contracting opportunities, including procurement and supply chain.