Skip to main content

What is Responsible Distribution®

Responsible Distribution is a management system for the safe handling of chemicals for the chemical distribution industry in Canada.  This program is driven by a Code of Practice that has been written and approved by the membership of RDC. It is based on eight guiding principles, that govern member company actions related to all aspects of the distribution of chemicals, chemical products, and chemical services.

Responsible Distribution® Code of Practice

As a condition of membership, the member companies of Responsible Distribution Canada are committed to Responsible Distribution®. This Code of Practice governs member company actions to meet the guiding principles as they relate to all aspects of the distribution of chemicals, chemical products, and chemical services.

Why do we need Responsible Distribution?

As Canadians and people around the World become more concerned about the chemicals and the effects on health and the environment, it is imperative that programs such as RD and Responsible Care exist.

The program known as Responsible Distribution is not only a responsible management system, but is an ethic that is intrinsic in all that chemical distributors do. The program is a commitment to be accountable through the life cycle of the product and be socially responsible at all times.

Responsible Distribution Third Party Verification Program

RDC’s members accepted third party verification as a condition of membership in May 1998. The factors that contributed to this decision were:

Continued Stakeholder pressure:

The pressure on the industry from legislators and stakeholders continues to increase. It is essential for us to demonstrate continuous improvements in all aspects of our businesses in the areas of health, safety and environmental management. It is essential to have an independent assessment of these improvements. To that end, RDC’s members made reporting of this data a condition of membership in June 2006.

International trend:

Third party verification is rapidly becoming an international standard. It has been in North America for twenty years, with Canada leading the way globally. Experience shows that where third party verification is mandatory, industry standards are more highly regarded by legislators and other stakeholders.

Commercial Benefits:

For any customer or supplier doing business with a RDC member verified by an independent auditor, they can have comfort in knowing that the business is managed in a responsible manner.

Supply Chain Pressure:

Several major suppliers – Dow, Shell, Solvay, Lyondell, and Exxon to name a few have indicated that they will require their authorized distributors to comply with the Code of Practice.

RDC’s program is monitored, audited and maintained by SAI Global, a globally renowned company with reputation and integrity.

SAI Global helps organizations manage risk, achieve certification and drive improvement by providing audits, training, and supplier management programs that can improve business performance. With more than 800 auditors and 24,000 registrations worldwide, SAI Global is a global leader committed to exceptional customer service and advancing business excellence.

SAI Global has a history of registration in the chemical sector, and has registered the first company in North America to ISO 14001. With an average of 13 years in the industry and over 10 years in management systems, SAI Global’s auditors and verifiers provide added value to their audits and verifications.

The Program is set up in such a manner that a new member has three years to get into compliance with all aspects of the Code of Practice.  During this period, the member must establish/write a manual with their policies and procedures, issue, implement and use their manual, and at this point the Verifier does a verification of the manual opposite the RDC Code of Practice.  After the manual has been recommended for certification, the auditor sets a date to visit the member on-site to ensure that the implemented policies and procedures are being performed as prescribed in the manual.  This verification can take from one to three days based on the complexity of the member’s facility.

After successful completion of the on-site verification, the site must be verified again on a three-year cycle (both manual and the on-site verification).



1 (844) 237.4039

© 2023 Responsible Distribution Canada