NEED FOR RESPONSIBLE CARE: A GLOBAL INITIATIVE OF CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES

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Responsible Care (RC) is a safety movement, initiated in the year 1984 for chemical Industries sustainability. Responsible care is a voluntary code of conduct developed, enforced and monitored by the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), United States of America. Before its initiation, it was a voluntary code which could be discussed and analysed by non-profit groups, industry associations and individual planners. Responsible care, was initially started in Canada in the year 1985 to address public concerns about the manufacturer’s distribution and use of chemicals. It is all about Chemical Industries commitment to continuous improvement in the environment, health and safety performance of chemical produce, all around the globe. A huge number of chemical associations and more than 52 Nations follow this basic rules of responsible care.
Responsible Care goes beyond legislative and regulatory compliances by adopting Cooperative and voluntary initiatives with local, regional and national Government and stakeholders. RC is more about commitment that seeks to build confidence and trust in a chemical industry and is essential to improve standards and quality of life. It helps to reduce the harmful emissions in an chemical industry and also lessen the number of chemical accidents. It also helps in the reduction of accidents by transportation of hazardous chemicals, which in long term, benefit the consumers, community and stakeholders.
It was way back when Chemical Manufacturers Associations (CMA) the oldest trade and industry Association in the United States founded in the year 1872, took a decision by the formation of 15 sulfuric acid manufacturers, joining together to develop common policies on the safe transportation of their product after the Bhopal Gas tragedy and a series of major chemical accidents reinforced an old perception among the masses and the stakeholders that a chemical industry can not conduct its operation without harming human health and damaging the environment. As a result, citizens group, non governmental organisations, legislatives demanded stringent regulated interventions. It was during those crucial times, the future of chemical industry was not looking so great. It was way back in 1983 CMA developed a set of principles to be followed by a chemical industry and the ways by which the industry should conduct business and relate to stakeholders. In the year 1985, public accountability office activities was introduced and CMA proposed a voluntary program called Community Awareness and Emergency Response. Eventually community awareness and emergency response became one of the six codes of responsible care. Later CMA formed the public perception committee composed of top industry executives. In the days that followed, public perception committee recommended CMA to launch Responsible Care. Responsible care is CMAs program initiative for improving the industries image and performance in the areas of environment health and safety. This initiative was launched in Canada in the year 1985 and later it was introduced in United States in the year 1988.
The International Council of Chemical Associations through Responsible Care continue to undertake actions consistent with the environmental principles of the United Nations Global compact. Responsible Care is governed by a Charter and following are the elements of the Global charter.
1. Adept Global responsible care core principles
2. Implement fundamental features of national responsible care programs
3. Commit to advancing sustainable development
4. Continuously improve and report performance
5. Enhance the management of chemical products worldwide – product stewardship
6. Champion and facilitate the extension of responsible Care along the chemical Industries value chain
7. Actively support National and local responsible care governance process
8. Address stakeholder Expectations about chemical industry activities and products
9. Provide appropriate resources to effectively implement responsible care

Responsible care charter was initially launched in the year 2006 and the motive was the extension of the process of continuous improvement beyond chemical manufacturing to other activities especially those associated with the safe use and handling of products along the value chain. Responsible care is an attempt by the chemical industry to regain public trust by demonstrating that chemical firms are responsible citizens who can self regulate (Mullins, 1994). It is a wonderful initiative to do business as well as serve the society and environment.

(Views Expressed Above Are Personal and based on Personal Research into the subject and References)
Writer :
Mainak Majumdar
Government Affairs, Disaster Management, Policy Specialist

Website:   http://www.theideas.in 

References:
1. Rc_Globalcharter2006 [1]
2. cefic.org/responsiblecare/
3. wikipedia.org/wiki/responsible_care
4. Sage Journal, Responsible Care: An Assessment, June 1, 2000

BUILDING HOMES THROUGH SOCIAL HOUSING

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Home is just not a structure for residing, it’s a place where one find solace and a shelter where one is together with loved ones. When human civilization evolved, caves use to be the place where men & women use to take shelter, which slowly modified into huts and later ameliorated into homes.

Times changed and with increase of technology after million of years, houses have become more sophisticated due to technological advancements. Today we have beautiful homes but few takers. With the increase of population, home building have been constrained due to land and space. Hence the solutions were skyscrapers with higher floors and great interiors. The biggest challenge was the cost as there were less floor space but high exotic interiors. These were specially targeted for the higher income group and not for the middle or below middle class people. The innovative concept was providing room in the skies. For many real estate players it was a profitable business and a fantasy world for the lower income groups.

As every business has its expansion and saturation, the real estate players now started wooing the middle class and as days passed homes were designed with extremely beautiful interiors at a cost so that common people may book the same with their savings. New townships became the mantra with all facilities. These initiatives did develop the regions in a massive way and we witnessed more vibrant greener regions as time elapsed. To add to these initiatives and as a helping hand, financial institutions like banks came forward to give loans under interests payable monthly. The real estate market was flourishing but again faced a saturation point where there were lesser buyers and more homes. These were times of global recession, national inflation, rising costs which hampered the growth. Then came the new concept of affordable housing where you get good quality shelters under affordable costs. The buying amount though varied from cities to towns, but still the purchasing value was on the higher side for middle income group to invest. Some observed that the high price was due to huge costs of the land, time consuming clearances etc. But the main untapped region was the lower middle income group, rural and slum dwellers. It’s a huge market and also had great demand. These problem was addressed through SOCIAL HOUSING.

Social Housing is a very innovative concept with the agenda – Housing for all. These was the opportunity where Real estate Developers can work with the Government to make affordable housing under public private partnerships. It’s very popular amongst the masses and people from all across the regions use to apply for the homes to be built under the social housing schemes.

Social housing also has its own challenges as some homes are built in places where there are less transport connectivity or communication. Dwellers use to find it extremely challenging if there are difficulties in water lines, gas pipelines etc. So, there may have been incidents, where even though Homes were allotted but has no takers. Inspite of problems, social housing has great demands with Government and Real estate Developers working on the same to make life easier. In fact social housing is the key to the bigger challenge – Housing for all.

Personally speaking social housing are the most innovative way to address the needs of the common people towards shelter for the shelter less. Corporates through their corporate social responsibility may like to help the common people so that Government and Private Sector join hands to create a nation where there are houses for all. These will also ensure overall development of the nation. Due to increasing population, we have food shortages, lack of clean drinking water and less homes. It’s through Social Housing opportunities the world can solve one of the biggest problems of shelter. With green technology and earthquake resistant designs, these houses can be the wonders of the world. Imagine a world where no one is homeless and we have homes for every family. That’s where I want to see my world progress. It’s our dream and let’s look forward to it in our near future.

(Above are my personal thoughts and views)

Mr. Mainak Majumdar, CSR (Disaster Management & Environmental Affairs) & Government Affairs Specialist

BIG DATA ON NEED TO SAVE ENVIRONMENT

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‘Mother Earth’ was created may be around 4.54 billions years ago and today, we humans are in the process of creating its annihilation news.  Change in the global climate is a proven fact and  we are not heading in the right direction. Environment may not affect us directly now, but natural catastrophes do. Continuous cutting down of forests and dumping of pollutants in water bodies is a major cause for rising temperatures and call for an environmental disaster.
For all these billion years, this environment has provided us, food to eat, clothes to warp, clean water to drink and air to breathe. Humans have only taken its resources and have not sufficiently given back. Today I wonder, if our future generations will ever see clear sky, breathe pollution free air and drink clean water. I will not be surprised; if our future generations could only see forests in there digital tablets and may not observe the same in real life. The coming years do have a great scope for technological advancement and vast job opportunities in areas, which uses more resources from the environment only to exhaust and call our own doomsday.
Though chances are rare, have you felt the fresh air when you wake up early morning, have you ever watched those birds fly in that clear sky, have you ever seen the clear stream flowing in its own rhythm, have you ever seen those birds chirping from the forests these days? Imagine if all this vanishes one day and we have to go to a shop and ask for oxygen cylinders as we buy mineral water!
Go to any university and you may see that there are lesser students taking environmental studies as a course curriculum, as most think that it might not provide much monetary value as a career like other job courses. Most of us are not so much eager to know about our surroundings and hence we understand issues about environment less and provide more importance to technologies which ultimately destroys human’s very existence. Long back when I enrolled a course in Masters in Environmental Sciences from Bangalore University, many asked about the future in monetary terms. To them I replied that ENVIRONMENT is in itself the future for human’s existence and that it’s more about the passion to make our world green than about earning money. Today, there are openings in various Government, academic and non-Government organizations on environment.
Saving our environment can only be a reality, if we maintain a balance. Environmental Studies helped us to understand that we need to keep a balance and that we need to find some sustainable approach to keep a balance. The approach should be in areas concerning water, land, food and the air we breathe. All these are the basics of human survival. Let us take the example of water. It’s not the simple expansion of irrigation. It had an ecological and social dimension as well and was the key to rural transformation. Providing a limited but assured quantity of water to all urban households irrespective of their landholding is the key for water conservation. Now, to serve such dispersed need, the systems required had to be entirely different – technologically and socially. The population of the world tripled in the 20th century and now the use of renewable resources have grown six fold. Within the next fifty years the World population will increase by 40%-50%. Now this population growth coupled with industrialization and urbanization will result in an increasing demand of water and will have serious consequences in the environment.
Already there is more waste water generated and dispersed than at any other time in the history of our planet: more than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people (Estimation for 2002, by the WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2004). One must know that these figures represent only people with very poor conditions.
Less availability of water leads to water stress. Water stress results from an imbalance between water use and water resources. The depleting resource leads to many tensions over neighbour’s, communities, districts, states and countries. So, it is a real fact that there is a water crisis today.
With this current state of affairs, correcting measures still can be taken to avoid the crisis to be worsening. There is an increasing awareness that our freshwater resources are limited and need to be protected both in terms of quantity and quality. This water challenge affects not only the water community, but also decision-makers and every human being. “Water is everybody’s business” was one the key messages of the 2nd World Water Forum.
We have the power to change our Earth in our own ways, if only we join hands. Let’s plant trees and let’s close all our water outlets when not in use. The Earth is our Home and let’s save it. Let’s Dream for a more Safer and Greener World for us as well as for our future generations.

The Above are my Personal Views:
Mr. Mainak Majumdar
(The writer is winner of two Gold Medals in Masters in Environmental Science and for last twelve years has been associated with assignments on Developmental Initiatives, Disaster Management and Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives in National Level)

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PLANNING WITH THE CHANGING TIMES

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The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) is generally taken as a help done by the industries and corporate out of their profits. If we go back to the age of our forefathers, it was the elites, who use to generously donate due to their philanthropic attitude or due to fear of being ostracise. Generous people were more or less naïve then and this desultory made them grant money to those who may or may not require the same. We had moved a long way since then and these days we have CSR experts and institutions, which come up with white papers on the ways to ameliorate finances so that the money can be used for the larger help of the society.

The word philanthropy has its origin from Greece and it has its source from the word:  philanthropia which was used during the year 1600 – 1610 and meant love for mankind. The Greeks in those days use to donate money as one of the educational ideals and also to please Gods. This concept they first embodied in the benevolent God Prometheus, who dared to share divine fire with mortals and suffered Zeus’s wrath.  It was not just the Greeks but also the Romans, who took special interest in Philanthropy. As years passed philanthropy began to mean generosity. In recent years, philanthropy took new form, as helping the less benefitted in the society. Today it’s an idea to effectively fund the have-nots, so as to cope up with their present situations and is a responsibility for organizations. Hence it is now a serious discussion topic in board rooms and finding ways to spend percentage of their profits for the welfare of the society.

Previously corporate used to donate generously towards education sector, making it affordable for all. Now, researches are being done to find ways to make CSR serve causes in the social sector viz. building schools, roads, empowering women, helping institutions for the differently-able people etc. Industries are now investing with a premonition that through development, society will change for better.

Some Industries are however looking into a broader aspect in terms of their CSR. It’s not just about the Social Value Model, where companies are investing only about specific issues for non-economic reasons, but also extending it to business models where Industries are expecting better brand image and higher economics. Board rooms are also discussing on a third model, where the social investment can serve the cause, as well as bring business in a different ways. That model tends to work better as it helps the members of the public to learn from corporate, help their own income as well as help the industry make profits. That keeps all stakeholders in the same boat and it sails quite smoothly.

The question that crop up is what industries should do to make a good CSR plan with effective policies towards its implementation? The plan could be made based on an Industry’s core strength i.e. its product line. Based on the product line, effective planning can be made so as to move forward. For example, if the industry is based on hand washes, kitchen gels, then it’s quite clear that the industry is more focused on sanitation and its benefits. That’s one way of preparing policies towards effective CSR, which will help the masses as well as will improve brand image.

Secondly, CSR not only serves human development, but also it helps to restore development in times of crisis. For example, an area which is struck by a natural disaster needs help during those golden hours. Through CSR industries render relief during those hours of need, helping the tormented and distressed people in their life’s utter crisis. These help the industry to exhibit its social side and also gain trust of a brand as an organization which stood with its consumers during their time of crisis.

Corporate which serve both these purposes are amongst the most respected brand. Interestingly, most of the CSR initiatives are now targeted at community relations. It’s about understanding the community better and their needs and plan CSR according to that. It’s also about helping with your expertise to those who do not have the same skill to move forward. The best part of this strategy is to help and dream together. That’s how a successful CSR policy could be prepared to help for a social cause as well as build a better brand image for effective economic returns.

It is seen that long lasting community development projects does improve the image of the corporation than merely doing charities. It’s a reflection that people need help about solving their problems than getting benefited by money. This sentiment helps in increasing brand image and contributes towards higher trust and superior place in the stock market.  It’s in times of crisis; this reputation becomes an asset which was built over time and pay huge dividends. Hope through CSR one day we can create a more developed world for us as well as for our future generation.

(My Personal View)

Writer:  Mainak Majumdar

Government Affairs, CSR & Emergency Management

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‘Government Affairs’ is one of the crucial departments in an Industry. An Industry thrives when you do business for profit as well as have a social responsibility and abide by the law of the land. Desultory in any sector encourages loss and the company is sapped of its strength. All  is well till ‘Poseidon’ strikes and the Industry have to look beyond its abilities to control the predicament. Policy Makers start working day and night to control the situation as the law states that everything needed to be alright in a given territory. Amongst all the conundrums the onus falls on the head of the Government Affairs Specialists to come out with effective solutions.

Government Affairs do have a lot of functionality and one of them is to produce its brand as one of the best to media as well as the Government. When you connect with the needs of the Government and the agenda, you may push through your product line and market the same. Policies have always been an area of concern and delight for these specialists. This is justified by the fact that not all policies of Government and Regulatory Bodies go well with the Industry Goal or its product line, which makes the position of a Government Affairs specialist more complex. It’s the networking skills, diplomatic skills and negotiation skills that matters to ameliorate the situation. These experts need to transcendent their skills so as to normalize the situations. An effective ‘Government Affairs’ is just not about policies and media relations, it’s also about responsibility to deliver. When one negotiates and make promises, trust is gained when the organization as a whole delivers.

The situation is more eased when Government Affairs is clubbed with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). That helps as CSR in itself is a noble task and coupled with good business strategy one can make good breakthroughs. Some may disagree with the statement; however CSR gets added power when Government Affairs also join hands. Any Corporate Social Responsibility gets done by the Corporate, also brings visibility to the brand and people often tends to buy brands based on their ethics. That’s the reason; the World has some respected brands which Government of Countries and masses admire because of their ideologies and ethics. When CSR and Government Affairs are clubbed as one department, its add teeth to the existing forum. CSR deals with the policies related to welfare of the society at large and Government Affairs deals mostly with policies related to products sellable to Government through its projects. Both these departments have one similarity, that is scalability in terms of brand image and brand ethics keeping aside the business strategy. That saves an Industry as well as the corporate from a disaster. 

All through this analysis, it is now being felt by some that Government Affairs together with CSR do provide an interesting and challenging opportunity coupled with roles that help Industries to make a good brand image. Both departments have the ability to initiative projects which may be beneficial for the nation as well as for the Industry. 

(The Above Are My Personal Views)

– Writer:   Mainak Majumdar

GLOBAL WARMING & NEED FOR DISASTER MANAGEMENT

These days it is discussed in some reports that Global Warming may increase the chance of extreme flooding as the warming climate will hold larger quantities of moisture, which will lead to a heavier rainfall.

Report states that Delhi, India faces one of its warmest winter in 114 years. Now the weather experts predicted that the summer of 2016 is going to be more blazing one in this South Asian Continent and the people may face decline in food grains, production leading to vertical food prices, farmer suicides after crop failures, heat wave causalities etc.

No rainfall in the northeast India and sudden floods in ‘barren’ Rajasthan was some incidents which still looms in one mind. Forget it, here are some interesting facts. People are finding hail storms in UAE region and parts of Europe saw a blinding heat wave, which killed many, especially the elderly, since they just don’t know how to cope with these unpredictable extremities.

The irrefutable scientific truth is that there is an evident increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans in recent decades. Some states that the warming documented over the last 50 years is due to human activities. The increasing amount of carbon dioxide and other green house gases are the principle reasons behind the human – induced reality of global warming.

Although carbon can be reduced suddenly and naturally into the atmosphere from volcanic activity, it takes many thousands of years for it to be removed permanently by natural processes such as rock weathering. Global warming has assumed serious proportions and is causing the Greenland ice cap to disintegrate far faster than anyone has predicted. A study of the region’s massive ice – sheet, warns that sea levels may as a consequence rise more dramatically than expected. Scientists have found that many Greenland’s huge glaciers are moving at an accelerating rate – dumping twice as much ice into the sea than 5 years ago – indicating that the ice –sheet is undergoing a potentially catastrophic break up.

The term “Weather” refers to the day changes in the state of the atmosphere at a specific location. It includes variables such as temperature, humidity, windiness, cloudiness and precipitation. Climate can be defined as the average weather, but the climate of a given region is also defined by the expected year – to – year variation in the weather variables. That is two regions that have the same mean annual or seasonal temperature, but where one region experiences much greater variation from one year to the next, have different climates. The climate of a given region however depends on much more than just the atmosphere. It rather depends on all the components that interest together to form part of the climatic system.

This climate system consists of the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryoshere (ice and snow) and lithosphere (Earth’s crust). Each of these components influences and is influenced by others, so that they form part of a single system. The Sun in contrast, is not part of the climatic system because the climate cannot affect the Sun. Rather, the Sun is said to be the external forcing. The components of the climatic system are linked by flows of energy and matter. The energy flow occur as solar and infrared radiation, as sensible heat (heat which can be directly felt or sensed) as latent heat (related to evaporation and condensation of water vapour, or freezing and melting of ice) and through the transfer of momentum between the atmosphere and oceans. The major mass flow involves water, carbon, sulphur and nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and nitrate.

The behaviour of the climatic system depends on how these energy and mass flows change as the system changes. Thus any change in the major mass flows will lead to a disturbed climatic system and thus lead to a natural disaster. This is the time, when you can hear strange phenomenon like   “DESERT INTO A SEA…” The increasing size of the ozone hole adds to the problem.

Human made green house gases are being released into the atmosphere are almost ten times faster than it was before. The more we pollute the air, the more music we are going to face.

At last, this simple brain of mine, is just left with one thought: Is it is a HUMAN MADE DISASTER or NATURE’S WRATH?

To end I quote:

We are the birds of

the same nest,

We may wear

Different skins,

We may speak

Different languages,

We may believe in different religions,

We may belong to different cultures,

Yet we share the same

Home – OUR EARTH.

Born on the same planet

Covered by the same skies

Gazing at the same stars

Breathing the same air

We must learn to happily

Progress together

Or miserably perish together,

For human can

Live individually,

But can survive

Only collectively.”

 

(My Personal View)

Writer:

Mainak Majumdar

NEED FOR SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS AND ITS DEMERITS

Our modern world is full of technologies, useful gadgets and all these had become part of our daily routine life. Today, we are in a web of connectivity, a world where electrons and protons do compose larger part of our life style and devoid of these tools we find difficult to survive. The flashy digital pictures, the ability to share in an electromagnetic speed reaching thousands; all adds to our scientific progression as we enjoy with awe the science miracles.

Many a times we discuss amongst us these themes and as we converse, we are mesmerized with the modern world and its wonders. Sometimes this heart asks this innovative brain as to how the 17th century and 18 century people use to live without electricity, without internet, without this spider web of connectivity of phone, emails, networking websites and all other facilities. What was the world then and what is the difference with the World of today. Are we much better than the populace who lived then with our increasing technologies thriving daily?

A reply from this soul stated that we have increased our progression in so many aspects of life and at the same time we have lost many wonderful things, which use to bring enormous joy to ones senses. The art of letter-writing, that purchase of a post-card, to write a letter with the fountain pen, still mesmerizes this heart. A father from a distant reads in an inland letter and enjoys every line that his son had written about his life in the Silicon Valley then. The same feeling is equally reciprocated, when I received an emotional letter from my biological parents about their loneliness from home far away in Bengal. These days’ short messaging service and electronic mails have reduced the gaps, but it had failed to gather the emotions attached with the paper envelope.

Life has become so easier, yet so complex that in today’s world there are huge number of health problems, which were not visible then and we now have common words like blood pressure, blood sugar and so many types of problems due to stress and an emerging urge for competition. There are people who get emails every second which increase their stress level and we no longer have the time to stand for a moment and enjoy the forest, that watershed, that beauty of a flower or write a letter to our near and dear ones through post. Greeting cards have also now emerged as an online solution to our lessening time and the feeling of buying a card, writing on the same and devoting some good thoughts are gradually ‘deleted’.

The humans earlier though had their own problems but they were not stressed. On the other side they were more peaceful and had the time to exchange greetings. Life is even wonderful today and one will enjoy more of it, if one moves out of that connectivity to be with one’s family where no phone calls from office, no emails and no short messaging services haunt.

I and my wife still love listening to music, find time to watch theaters and do love to buy greetings cards and post them. We find time to switch off our ‘connectivity’ and listen to old radio stories narrated by orators. These may sound to be old fashioned but my inner heart loves to extract joy from things which are gradually becoming extinct.

The modern world is slowly giving way to old world’s rituals of early rising, performing yoga, limiting to lesser connectivity and giving time to oneself, family and friends. Some does gardening, some does writing, some listens to music and some loves reading. Modern world provides the comfort and the Old world provides food for our soul and a proper balance of both makes one’s life perfect and joyful.

(My Personal Views)

Writer:

Mainak Majumdar

The write-up is dedicated To my wife Chetana and my cousin brother Arindam for their inspiration always.