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Responsible Care: 'Guiding Principles'

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Internal CMA documents show clearly that the entire concept of a commitment to improved performance was not based on any shared, industry-wide sense of responsibility, but, rather, on feedback from polls and focus groups. (view entire document) Responsible Care was, and remains, primarily a public relations effort to polish the image of a notorious industry that has consistently fought against meaningful health and safety precautions for workers or communities. During the 1990s, CMA spent $1 million to $2 million a year on implementing Responsible Care at its member companies, but more than $10 million a year on advertisements about the program. (view entire document)

The ads (view entire document) proclaimed the "Guiding Principles" of Responsible Care, which included:

Quoted Text
(view entire document)

The Responsible Care Guiding Principles are not higher standards for the chemical industry that can be objectively and openly verified by the public, independent scientists, or government regulators. They are poll-tested, focus-grouped platitudes that served only to lay the groundwork for a five-year image campaign. Nothing in Responsible Care commits any company or facility to measurable goals for reducing chemical hazards, to timelines to meet such goals, or to objective assessment of progress by independent outside authorities.

Since Responsible Care is voluntary, participating companies do little more than comply with current environmental laws. In effect, the industry did not bother to develop new programs for Responsible Care. According to the plan, the industry would simply "re-introduce" existing programs "under the Responsible Care banner." (view entire document)

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last updated: march.27.2009

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