Ninety-five percent of chemical companies, surveyed by the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM), have said regulations are not being effectively enforced in China. This is considered the biggest obstacle to initiatives such as Responsible Care.
In a white paper on the future of multinational chemical companies in China, published by AICM last month, the companies say other barriers to take-up of the voluntary health and safety programme include:
- a conflict of interest between different stakeholders;
- a lack of knowledge or competence among local companies;
- resistance to regulatory change because of the initial investments required; and
- the fragmented nature of the industry.
This last point, they said, makes it difficult for the government to manage and control the implementation of regulations on its own. Industry, therefore, needs to be self-disciplined and associations need to help the government with regulation.
Because of this, they suggested AICM should work with other associations, such as the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF), or on its own, to:
- influence government and help shape new regulations and amend existing ones;
- educate the government that there is no “one size fits all” solution, as multinational and local companies are at different levels in terms of evolution and operational advancements;
- collaborate with government and industry groups to improve the implementation of regulations through training, education, promotion and the sharing of best practices; and
- set up task forces to educate companies on Responsible Care.
Agreement with SAWS
This month, AICM signed a long-term memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Registration Center for Chemicals, at the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).
Jan Kreibaum, AICM board director, said the MoU will establish a strategic partnership. The AICM will use science- and risk-based knowledge to help develop regulations and standards, and use global best practice to promote a sound legislative system.