Chemical & Engineering News,
May 29, 1995

Copyright © 1995 by the American Chemical Society.

Long-term members of Chemical Manufacturers Association's public advisory panel critically assess Responsible Care

"Responsible Care can be the industry's savior. But the chemical industry must continue to strive for improvement to health and safety of the public. It must realize that Responsible Care is a long-term process, and it must not become complacent or despondent. The commitment of resources - both people and finances - know-how, and desire are all essential ingredients and will be needed more in the future than they were in the past."

- Press L. Robinson, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, and chemistry professor, Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.

"This is still a program that has good goals, but I don't think they have all been achieved, and I don't want to see companies give up. I want them to renew their commitment to Responsible Care as it goes into its second half-decade. I want companies to continue to work with the public and try to respond to the concerns they hear. I think the real test is still in whether companies are changing performance in response to public concerns. You can look for specific examples and see where that has happened. I think there just need to be many, many more."

- Diane B. Sheridan, environmental policy facilitator/consultant

"Responsible Care is the best industry environmental program around, but it has not yet arrived at where it needs to be, and it still suffers from public skepticism. I believe that additional action in four areas will move far toward closing the public credibility gap: continued performance improvement; comprehensive standardized reports from all member companies with performance goals and data; third-party auditing of management implementation; and cultural change to enhance listening to, and collaboration with, those outside the chemical industry, so as to address in concrete and recognizable ways public concerns."

- J. Andy Smith III, director of ethical and social responsibility in investments for the National Ministries of the American Baptist Churches USA

"The new and better industry culture that Responsible Care promises is not yet a reality and is probably as seriously threatened today - by such inconsistencies as industry's current lobbying efforts and continued local mischief by some companies - as it has been since the original commitment to Responsible Care."

- J. Ross Vincent, environmental consultant and chemical engineer

CMA's public advisory panel was formed in 1989 and has played a pivotal role in advising the chemical industry on Responsible Care. Today, the panel has 16 members, all actively involved in a broad range of public issues. Members have been selected for the diverse constituencies they represent and for the different parts of U.S. they come from. They were not chosen by CMA, but by its facilitator, PDA Inc. of Toronto. The unpaid panel meets four times a year.

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