Global Product Strategy - Wacker Chemie AG

Global Product Strategy

More Information for Enhanced Product Safety


Increasing globalization and worldwide trade with chemicals and chemical products means that it is becoming ever more vital to establish uniform standards for communicating risk. The ability to ensure that chemicals are used in an equally safe way worldwide is contingent on the universal availability of the same information on each product (identical information allowing identical handling).

The participants of the Johannesburg 2002 second World Summit for Sustainable Development picked up on this insight and committed themselves to developing a strategy for the international management of chemicals. At the International Conference on Chemicals Management in Dubai in 2006, over 100 environment and health ministers adopted the voluntary initiative "Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management" as the basis for a worldwide standard for the proper and safe handling of chemicals. The implementation progress was reviewed at the third International Conference on Chemicals Management in Nairobi in September 2012.

SAICM is intended to lead to the closing of safety gaps in the use of chemicals and, notably, to extend the availability of information about the safe use of chemical products to developing countries.

In its role acting centrally for the global chemical industry, ICCA developed its "Global Product Strategy" for the concrete implementation of SAICM, containing uniform rules for the assessment of the properties of chemicals and for the communication of measures for their safe use.

In Europe, most of the requirements of the Global Product Strategy are satisfied through the implementation of the European chemicals regulations REACH and CLP. GPS takes the idea of universally available and easily understandable information on the properties, risks, protective measures and safe use of chemicals especially seriously and commits manufacturers to publishing so-called GPS Safety Summaries. These summaries are descriptions written in layman’s terms on the safe and environmentally sound use of chemicals, and are available to anyone via the internet.

ICCA describes the Global Product Strategy on its website.

Global Product Strategy

The chemical industry through the ICCA is committed by its global program on Responsible Care® and the Global Product Strategy (GPS) the chemical industry has committed itself to improving the responsible handling of chemicals throughout the value chain. This can only be achieved with open communication. ICCA’s GPS chemicals portal gives not only its members but also the public direct access to information on the responsible handling of chemicals.

To date more than 2,000 chemical safety summaries are available and the number of substances covered is increasing daily.

We believe better public access to relevant information on chemicals in a risk-benefit format will increase public awareness and will lead, in turn, to greater accountability on the part of industry.

[Our Global Product Strategy] advocates for a combination of regulations and voluntary programs consistent with our principles. [It] aims to harmonize global … product safety assessment by:

  • Defining a “base set of information” for chemicals in commerce
  • Sharing of relevant information for safety assessment between companies
  • Promoting a tiered process for evaluating risk and identifying appropriate risk management actions for chemicals in commerce
  • Extending the guidance for safety assessment (e.g. ICCA Product Stewardship Guidelines) on a global scale
  • Helping to define safe use conditions for chemicals and provide guidance to companies to enable them to meet safe use conditions
  • Calls for measuring industry performance and public reporting
  • Improves product stewardship cooperation with downstream customers of the chemical industry
  • Supports partnerships with intergovernmental organizations and others to enhance product stewardship
  • Enhances outreach and dialogue with customers, the public and other stakeholders

Global Product Strategy of ICCA

Our member associations and companies will be more transparent about their product safety assessment processes and provide access to information in a suitable format to coproducers and customers to increase public confidence that governments are fulfilling their role and industry is meeting its voluntary commitments and regulatory requirements. We will, of course, share this information with governments to meet regulatory requirements and improve industry performance in countries where such regulations are not yet in place. Along the way we will provide capacity building for smaller and medium sized enterprises in our industry, as well as downstream customers and governments in developing countries. GPS aims to reduce existing differences in the safety assessment of chemicals between developing, emerging and industrialized countries.