Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Why you should be including telephone emergency response in your sustainability reporting

08 Mar 2023

There is a growing correlation between external financial investment in an organisation and its sustainability efforts. Stakeholders are increasingly asking what an organisation is pledging for its sustainability strategy and how those pledges will be implemented.

This blog explores how telephone emergency response best practice is an actionable step towards implementing an organisation’s sustainability framework.

How are the UN Sustainable Development Goals supported by telephone emergency response best practice?
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDGs are a global framework of 17 interlinked initiatives that aim to protect people and the environment and achieve a more sustainable future for the planet. Many of the SDGs apply to organisations that manufacture, transport or use chemicals.

Below we have outlined SDGs where telephone emergency response best practice can provide a positive impact:

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Target 3.9 focuses on reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals

Telephone emergency response best practice can reduce or prevent incidents from hazardous chemicals negatively affecting peoples’ health.  This comes from an emergency response team that is always available; able to receive calls in the language of the caller; capable of connecting the caller to a chemical emergency response expert within 3-5 minutes; and able to provide actionable advice to the caller at the point of a chemical incident. Whether the caller is a member of the emergency services, an employee or a member of the public, the sooner actionable advice is given, the lower the risk to the health and well-being of those at the scene of the incident.


Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation for all and Goal 14: Life below water

6.3 focuses on water quality and wastewater and Target 14.1, on reducing marine pollution.

Chemical emergency response experts should be technically qualified and have an expert knowledge and understanding of chemicals, their behaviour and hazards, including chemicals entering waterways and their effects on marine life. They should have the tactical awareness to understand the practical elements of responding to an incident, as well as access to a network of expert organisations, such as environmental protection agencies, if escalation is required for an effective response. These best practices ensure chemical response experts understand the full scope of a chemical incident and can work with those at the scene to reduce the chances of chemicals entering waterways and harming marine life.


Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Target 12.4 focuses on environmentally sound management of chemicals and Target 12.6 encourages large and transnational organisations to include sustainability information in their reporting.

Telephone emergency response best practice should be an integral part of an organisation’s chemical safety strategy to mitigate chemical incidents and protect the environment throughout the life cycle of chemical products. When it is included in an organisation’s sustainability reporting, it sends a strong signal to stakeholders and investors that the organisation is committed to taking action to support global sustainability frameworks.

A robust telephone emergency response provision that follows best practice supports other global sustainability initiatives, such as the EU Green Deal. Dr Gerhard Ahlbrecht, Responsible Care and Logistics Manager, European Association of Chemical Distributors (Fecc), said: “The EU Green Deal is the new 2030 Biodiversity Strategy that aims to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems by 2030. It is in line with the UN sustainable development goals and, of course, in emergency response, we have a role to play to mitigate the effects of incidents involving dangerous chemicals.”



Compare your existing emergency response provision to telephone emergency response best practice

Organisations across the entire supply chain have a responsibility to minimise the negative impact on human health from exposure to chemicals, protect water quality and maintain sanitation. We therefore recommend that you review your existing emergency response provision against the guidance from the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) to ensure your emergency response plan is best practice. Here are five steps to ensure your telephone emergency response service meets best practice guidelines.

Invest in telephone emergency response to support sustainability frameworks

If your telephone emergency response provision falls short of best practice, we recommend that you prioritise taking action to make improvements. It may be difficult to ensure the necessary processes, capabilities, and infrastructure to meet best practice, a third-party telephone emergency response provider could be a good option to consider.

Include telephone emergency response in your sustainability reporting

Showcasing a robust and versatile telephone emergency response provision in your organisation’s sustainability reporting demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your commitment to protecting people, the environment, and the organisation’s reputation when an incident occurs that involves your products or products that you are transporting. Demonstrating an actionable plan to address your sustainability reporting gaps may support you in receiving the necessary investment from stakeholders.

Why you should choose Ricardo as your telephone emergency response partner

Your organisation’s commitment to protecting people and the environment is important to us. You want to make sure, when an incident occurs involving a harmful chemical, advice is available to safely support those on the scene. Ricardo's emergency responders have extensive chemical and environmental knowledge. They provide advice and not just information. This means in the event of an incident, our emergency responders will advise beyond the information contained on a safety data sheet, helping to manage the risk of harm being inflicted on people or the environment.

Just having a telephone emergency response number on product and safety documentation is no longer enough and will not support organisations who manufacture, use or transport chemicals in making a positive impact on the SDG agenda. Telephone emergency response provision like Ricardo's provides advice beyond the safety data.

Our telephone emergency response service is aligned with the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) Guidelines for Level 1 Chemical Emergency Response and the Guiding Principles of Responsible Care®. We take full responsibility for and stand by the quality of the advice we provide, which is underwritten by our comprehensive liability insurance.

Our service is available 24/7 and 365 days of the year, through a network of international telephone numbers and local language speakers, so it looks and feels like a local service.

Our team of experts takes into consideration your organisation’s needs, as well as any global regulations, to build a service that will meet your requirements, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. We will work with you to create a service that supports your business in areas where telephone emergency response can play a role.

Learn more about our chemical policy and regulatory compliance solutions >