CIAC introduces first Responsible Care® Codes for equity, diversity and inclusion 

After extensive consultation with members and stakeholders, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) has updated Responsible Care Codes for 2023 to include new, auditable commitments in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). 

Founded in Canada in 1985, Responsible Care is the global sustainability initiative for the global chemistry industry, in place in more than 70 countries and recognized by the United Nations as a leading corporate responsibility practice.  

CIAC is the first national association to explicitly include ED&I codes into Responsible Care Codes which are in alignment with the UN Social Development Goals: 8 Decent work and economic growth; and 10 Reduced Inequalities. 

Following global demonstrations in 2020 that shone a light on issues related to inequality, the CIAC Board of Directors committed to incorporating clear, auditable commitments for diversity, equity and inclusion within Responsible Care by the end of 2022. During the past two years, CIAC and member companies have engaged key stakeholders and expert organizations in the field of diversity and inclusion to inform these new commitments.  

The CIAC working group, comprised of several members, worked with the Canadian Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), who provided review and advice on the codes drafted by the working group, the language used, and the approach taken to embed ED&I into Responsible Care. 

In approving the new commitments at its October 2022 Board of Directors meeting, CIAC Vice Chair and President of BASF Canada, Apala Mukherjee commented that “At BASF, we believe diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to progressing as a business and developing an engaging culture. I am proud that all CIAC members share this common belief and that CIAC is again leading the way among the global Responsible Care organizations while continuing to drive positive impact in the community.” 

“Responsible Care was established to ensure Canada’s chemistry industry was aware of and responsive to society’s expectations,” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO.  “These new commitments in the area of diversity and inclusion complement the commitments to Indigenous engagement and reconciliation that were added to responsible Care in 2019. This demonstrates the continued relevance and responsiveness of Responsible Care.” 

The new diversity, equity and inclusion commitments compel CIAC member companies to: 

  • Strive to create an environment and culture that recognizes the value of equity, diversity and inclusion; 
  • Provide resources and engagement opportunities for employees, contractors and others engaged in company operations; 
  • Identify, pro-actively engage and maintain working relationships with underrepresented groups as they exist in plant communities; 
  • Periodically solicit feedback and evaluate performance in areas related to equity, diversity and inclusion. 

For more than 35 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. 

Click here for more information on Responsible Care. 


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 including equity, diversity and inclusion; 
  • 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 164 code elements 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. 

Effective January 2023, new codes have been added to the Responsible Care program to formally address equity, diversity and inclusion within the program. The new codes supplement Responsible Care’s Accountability and Operations Code requirements. These additions encourage members to create an environment and culture that recognizes the value of equity, diversity and inclusion within their organization and the communities in which they operate. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Codes 

Operations Code – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 

The company shall strive to create an environment and culture that recognizes the value of equity, diversity, and inclusion; they shall strive for continuous improvement in these areas and benchmark against established best practices.  

In relation to equity, diversity and inclusion, the company shall for its employees, contractors and others engaged in the company’s operations: ​ 
OP 81. have programs in place to advance these objectives​ 

OP 82. provide resources and engagement opportunities ​ 

OP 83. have a process in place to periodically​ 

 (a) solicit feedback, ​ 

 (b) measure and evaluate performance. 

Accountability Code – Underrepresented Groups 

This section refers to typically underrepresented groups that are located in the area near a company owned or leased production facility.  

The company is expected to identify those aspects of these 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 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: 

AC 158 

a. Identifies and seeks to pro-actively engage with such underrepresented groups as they exist in the community; 

AC 159 

b. Seeks to develop and maintain a working relationship with individuals in such groups to enable an environment of trust and belonging that allows for effective communications, dialogue or response to questions or concerns expressed so they are addressed in a timely and respectful manner, and in a way that meets the unique needs of the individual; 

AC 160 

c. Provides support as appropriate, to allow such groups the capacity to engage equitably with the Company; 

AC 161 

d. Periodically reviews the effectiveness of the outreach, communications and engagement process with such groups.