SRI has grown its base of industrial customers since its inception in 1991 to include important American industries including chemicals and lubricants. ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 have been instrumental to our clients and these industries as they have grown and demonstrated the strength of their quality and environmental management systems, and SRI has been a proud and long-time partner.

The chemicals industry, through the American Chemistry Council (ACC, formerly the CMA), has now launched Responsible Care(r) to supplement the value of ISO 14001. Once again, SRI continues to serve its industrial base and is ready to provide RC14001 and RCMS services to its clients and the industry.

Click here to learn more on RC14001.

The History of RC14001 and RCMS

The chemical industry launched the “Responsible Care” initiative in the late 1980’s with the aim to gain more credibility before the public over the safety of their processes and products. And, to make the industry more environmentally responsible and responsive to growing public concerns. Initially, the American Chemical Council (ACC), then called the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), developed six codes of management practice: product stewardship, process safety, transportation, distribution, emergency response and community care.
Adoption of “Responsible Care,” RC, became a condition of membership in CMA. Central to RC was the idea of self-evaluation. Participating companies reported progress in dealing with issues such as air and water emissions, waste reduction, and implementing the principles in the six codes to CMA who then compiled data and released figures to the public. Unfortunately, this well-meaning “honor code” became a source of friction with environmental groups and apparently did little to affect the public trust gap.

RC14001 Requirements are Born

After more than a decade using this RC approach, not much change in public perception of the chemical industry had occurred. Many ACC member companies were Tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry and as such were required to obtain certification to ISO 14001. By the end of 2000, these factors and others influenced ACC to identify a more robust, rigorous process.

A team of ACC Members, ISO 14001 auditors and staff from the Registrar Accreditation Board (now ANAB) joined to develop a joint certification standard between Responsible Care and ISO 14001. In October 2002, the ACC and RAB approved the RC14001 standard and thus created this first-of-a-kind industry sector specific standard based entirely on the ISO 14001 structure with blended unique Responsible Care requirements. For example, the Security Management Code was added to Responsible Care in 2004 and is incorporated by reference in the 4.4.7 Emergency Preparedness element of the standard.

RC14001 – Next Big Wave for ISO 14001?

RC14001 is not just ISO 14001 with some added elements. It is a comprehensive new technical specification that includes all of the requirements that are contained in ISO 14001 plus, for every core element, health and safety are added as stipulated requirements. The unique Responsible Care ideas that are expressed in the original Management Codes are blended into the structure. The result is an RC14001 technical specification that is more comprehensive and is organized in a manner that permits a company to qualify to receive either an ISO 14001 certificate, or an RC14001 certificate, the latter signifying that the management system meets all RC system requirements.

RC14001 audits are similar to ISO 14001 but differ in some key respects:

  • More and different personnel are involved. In the process industries, many service functions are centralized at the corporate office such as transportation, distribution, and product & process stewardship. Health and Safety Professionals are involved at the plant site and the corporate office
  • Community interaction – communications with interested parties and systems to assess stakeholder concerns is given huge emphasis in RC14001
  • Additional time – because of the quantity and content of the additional requirements, expect to spend more time assessing an RC14001 management system
  • To audit RC14001 effectively, the auditor must have an understanding of the 106 risk management practices that are in the Responsible Care Codes

SRI has prepared itself to assist interested companies in achieving RC14001 Registration. If you are ready to pursue RC14001, please call for information or request a quote.


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