Promoting the safe use of Diisocyanates and Polyols along the value chain | 3 Questions to Ronald van den Bosch, Chair of the ISOPA Product Stewardship Cluster

n today’s economy managing regulatory pressure combined with product stewardship is of key importance to ensure industrial products’ highest standard.

Particularly for ISOPA, it is quintessential that those involved in producing, selling, using and disposing of products have a shared responsibility in making sure that products or materials are managed in a way that minimises their potential impact, throughout their lifecycle, both from a human health and environmental perspective.

This is why product stewardship programmes are the cornerstones of ISOPA’s activities. Today, Ronald van den Bosch, Chair of the ISOPA Product Stewardship Cluster explains what makes ISOPA one of the leaders in product stewardship.

What is the motivation behind promoting product stewardship programmes? Is there a programme you are particularly proud of?

We can be proud of the holistic approach ISOPA has taken over the years in order to promote product stewardship along the polyurethane value chain. Overtime, ISOPA has committed to providing information and expert advice based on research and data about the health and safety profile of diisocyanates and polyols, the building blocks of polyurethane. This commitment to the chain has scaled up with more and more stakeholders following ISOPA’s example.

All in all through its programmes ISOPA not only promotes the safe use of diisocyanates and polyols along the value chain but maximises its impact through stakeholder interaction.

Good examples are “Walk the Talk”, “One Step Ahead” and the Logistics programmes.


“Walk the Talk” is ISOPA’s programme with the aim to improve safety, health and environmental standards across the European polyurethanes industry. It focuses on the behavioural safety in the industry through an ongoing process of information exchange and dialogue. It is available in 26 languages and since its launch 2006 a large number of employees have received special modular training tailored to the specific situation on their work sites.


“One Step Ahead” is ISOPA’s programme that aims to increase awareness and safety standards on the use, unloading and storage of diisocyanates and polyols in Africa and the Middle East since 1998. ISOPA is planning “One Step Ahead” seminars on a regular basis across the targeted regions in order to provide tailored guidance based on the region’s needs.


Through its “Logistics” programmes ISOPA materialises its commitment to ensuring the safe transport of diisocyanates in Europe. After all, it is up to all participants in the supply chain from manufacturers of MDI/ TDI to the transportation company and the receiver of the products to be properly trained in order to minimise the risk for accidents. For this reason, ISOPA has developed a series of tailored material to be used by different members of the value chain in order to ensure the highest levels of safety in the transportation of chemicals. This program was initiated in 1999.

Concretely, how have ISOPA’s member companies implemented ISOPA’s guidance?

From the beginning of ISOPA’s product stewardship activities its members have demonstrated their unconditional support to increasing safety across the value chain. They have been participating actively in the organisation of training sessions and events focusing on different aspects of product stewardship, particularly transportation.

For example, every second year ISOPA organises an Emergency Response exercise with Carriers and Emergency Services, followed by a workshop with the Carriers. Historically this has been hosted by one of the Member companies. The objective is to demonstrate that consumer safety is a shared responsibility.

What has ISOPA planned in 2015 to build on its existing initiatives?

Every year, we go a step further – and we’re proud of it. For 2015, ISOPA plans to extend and improve its programs in close cooperation with the Polyurethane product associations with national authorities. More specifically, in the coming months ISOPA will organise:

  • A One Step Ahead Workshop in Casablanca on 27 May 2015
  • The Carrier Safety Days on 21 and 22 September 2015 with live emergency exercise in collaboration with BASF Antwerp

For coverage on these events do not hesitate to take a look at our website and to receive live updates via our Twitter account.