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.