THE HAGUE, Netherlands–17 January 2022–The International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA) has endorsed The Hague Ethical Guidelines, a set of principles developed under facilitation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to promote a culture of responsible conduct in the chemical sciences and guard against the misuse of chemistry under the norms of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The ICTA — established in 2016 to represent the interests of over 1,300 chemical distributors worldwide — stated that it has endorsed the Hague Ethical Guidelines citing “a clear directional overlap between the Guidelines and the ICTA Responsible Care/Responsible Distribution Programme. Key elements of both Programmes include the health and safety of people and planet, chemical security, education and training, and exchange of information.”
The Director-General of the OPCW, Mr Fernando Arias stated: “I welcome the ICTA’s endorsement of The Hague Ethical Guidelines, which will help to build awareness around the responsible use of chemistry among chemistry practitioners. The chemical industry is an essential partner in ensuring that chemicals are produced, handled, transported, stored, and used solely for peaceful purposes.”
The OPCW and ICTA established a formal relationship in 2020 to broaden dialogue with the chemical industry regarding the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The two organisations share a common interest in promoting chemical security, preventing the misuse of toxic chemicals, and supporting the peaceful uses of chemistry. The ICTA joined the Chemical Industry Coordination Group (CICG), which serves as a platform for dialogue between the OPCW and the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA).
The ICTA is the third major stakeholder to offer backing to the OPCW’s set of ethical recommendations, following the 2016 endorsement by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, a leading international scientific federation representing academic and industrial chemists worldwide, and the 2018 endorsement by the ICCA.
To promote a culture of responsible conduct in the chemical sciences and to guard against the misuse of chemistry, a group of chemical practitioners from 29 countries met in 2015 to formulate a set of ethical guidelines informed by the Chemical Weapons Convention – The Hague Ethical Guidelines.
A key element of the Guidelines is that achievements in the field of chemistry should be used to benefit humankind and the environment. The Guidelines seek to promote discussion and responsible conduct among chemical practitioners and decisionmakers in academia, industry, civil society, and government to guard against the misuse of chemistry.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.