A comparative study of responsible care and ISO 14001 as an effective environmental management system in the chemical and allied industry in South Africa.
With the ever increasing promulgation of environmental legislation in recent years in South Africa, enforcement of these laws is a threat to the chemical and allied industries. In order for these industries to secure operating licences and facilitate international trade, the need for environmental management systems has become imperative. South Africa, being behind the rest of the first world countries in adopting Environmental Management Systems(EMSs), had only recently in the 2000s started to realise the importance of the EMSs in ensuring environmental legal compliance and increasing trade across barriers. The chemical and allied industries chose to adopt Responsible Care and ISO 14001.2004 in South Africa. ISO 14001.2004 is an international standard and Responsible Care is a standard that was developed by the Canadian Chemical Producer‟s Association and is used in numerous countries around the world. This study was undertaken to determine whether implementing and running two EMSs in organisations is necessary and if both standards add value. The reason for the study is that both EMSs have similar requirements and the same objective in ensuring environmental legal compliance and reducing the environmental impacts of the industry. The study was conducted via a questionnaire which surveyed organisations that had implemented both EMSs. Various questions were asked on the benefits and challenges of the EMSs implemented and results were analysed via SPSS (Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences). Both EMSs had similar objectives in increasing legal compliance and ensuring that the environmental objectives of the organisation were met. From the results it could be concluded that ISO 14001 was a preferred standard in the South African chemical industry due to its recognisability, ease of implementation, ability to be exported and flexibility although it was an EMS that was more expensive to implement. Industries however, agreed that both systems did add value and the time, money and resources invested in having two EMSs were justified. This could be attributed to the fact that Responsible Care covered Product Stewardship, Community Interaction, Process Safety and Health and Safety. The recommendation is that the South African chemical industry could look at adopting an integrated Responsible Care 14001 which is an amalgamation of the two EMSs.
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