MORE businesses in the chemical industry need to be aware of environmental issues and they should adopt a “green corporate culture,” says National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He said this was needed to avoid future incidents like the Sungai Kim Kim toxic waste dumping incident.
“The tragedy has shown that if the industry did not make peace with the environment, the destruction will be all the greater in the future,” he said when opening the Chemical Industry Dinner 2019 organised by Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM).
Lee said multinational and large local companies should lead the way in lending support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to achieve a higher level of health, safety and environment performance.
He noted the mentor-mentee approach was effective since more than 90% of the companies in the chemical industry are SMEs and the industry continued to be a major contributor of manufactured exports at 6.9% in 2018.
“The safe and responsible use, handling and disposal of chemicals are important to ensure a clean and safer environment for the public.
“As the main players in the whole value chain, chemical companies must self-regulate and play their role in ensuring safety at the workplace as well as the health of their employees and surrounding public,” he added.
With the advent of the green corporate culture, Lee said there was a need for businesses to be more conscious of environmental issues and realise there was more to gain by preserving the environment.
Lauding CICM’s effort in making the chemical industry a safer one, he said such an initiative augured well for Malaysia’s image.
“A good safety track record will not only ensure continuous operations but will also contribute to productivity, thus making the Malaysian chemical industry a more responsible and sustainable one,” he elaborated.
Globally, he said there was already the Responsible Care initiative by the chemical industry, which had been adopted by Malaysia since 1994.
“Led by CICM as its sole custodian, local chemical companies have pledged their commitment to the Guiding Principles and implement the Codes of Management Practices, which goes beyond legislative and regulatory compliance,” he said.
Responsible Care is a set of ethics and a commitment by the chemical industry that builds confidence and trust in the global chemical industry.
Lee said the chemical industry played a vital role as a supplier of raw materials and served as a building block for the manufacturing of end-user goods and other economic sectors such as agriculture and construction.It also provides opportunities for supporting services to the chemical industry to flourish, such as logistics, transportation, distribution and warehousing.
Lee said it was reported that the approved investments in chemicals as well as chemical and petroleum products amounted to RM20.8bil in year 2017 and RM37.9bil in 2018.
During the launch event, 20 companies in the petrochemicals, oleochemicals and general chemicals sub-sectors were given recognition for their roles in promoting the Responsible Care’s Six Codes of Management Practices in their organisations.
The awards were presented by Lee and CICM chairman Datuk Dr Abd Hapiz Abdullah.
IOI Pan-Century Oleochemicals Sdn Bhd won the inaugural Grand Award in recognition for their outstanding performance in CICM Responsible Care Awards 2017/2018. The company won four Gold and two Silver awards.
The company’s chief operating officer Gurdev Singh was also announced as the winner of the Leadership Award 2017/2018 in recognition of his achievements and contributions to Responsible Care beyond his own organisation.