Many terrorist incidents result from the illegal use of chemicals in home-made explosive devices.

The UK’s Chemical Business Association (CBA) has a reputation for its expertise on measures to improve the security of the international chemical supply chain.

Here, chief executive Peter Newport provides an overview of CBA’s national and international work to improve the resilience of the chemical supply chain.


The industry’s first task was to put its own house in order and bring in processes and procedures that helped companies to improve the security surrounding their sites, handling, and distribution of their chemical products.

We therefore developed a series of related initiatives under the sector’s Responsible Care programme.

Security Code

CBA’s supply chain Security Code, the first of its kind in Europe, is designed to protect employees, contractors, property, products, information and information systems by enhancing security – including security against potential terrorist attack.

The Code requires CBA member companies to carry out a five-step security process proportionate to the nature of their operational activities. This covers: the identification of potential threats; establishing what is to be protected; how the risk can be reduced; documenting results, and to periodically review the assessment.

Responsible Care

In 2016, CBA modified the ‘eight guiding principles’ of its industry-wide Responsible Care initiative to make security an explicit element of appropriate elements of the programme.

The Security Guidelines for CBA member companies established best practice consistent with the Guiding Principles of Responsible Care and implement a security policy.

The members report on the implementation of this policy, security measures, and processes in their annual Responsible Care Indices of Performance Report and Self-Assessment Questionnaire. More advanced members elect for third party verification of their security provisions using the pan European SQAS ESAD module. In 2015 CBA signed an earned recognition Memorandum of Understanding with DfT that allows SQAS assessed companies to benefit from a reduced frequency of inspections in relation to Security Plans, depending on the responses to the security specific questions in the SQAS assessments.

Trade Controls

Introduced in the 1990s, CBA’s Code of Conduct on Trade Controls was originally developed jointly with the UK Chemical Industries Association \ Crop Protection association and is recognised by UK Government Departments.

More recently it aims to supplement the Responsible Care Security Code and help companies contribute to continuous improvements in the security of the chemical supply chain.

The Code covers organisational arrangements and allocates responsibilities for security procedures in relation to substances subject to trade controls. It also recommends a series of administrative processes designed to screen new customers and practical arrangements to ensure the security of premises and storage areas.

The Code was subsequently utilised as the basis of the European Association of Chemical Distributors (Fecc) Model Agreement on Trade Controls that now operates on a pan-European basis. The Fecc Model agreement was then used both as the basis of the International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA) Model Agreement and the source document for the original European Commission guidelines for explosive precursors

High Consequence Dangerous Goods – Security Plan

CBA chaired the UK joint government and industry Working Group developing guidance for the industry wide application of the international ADR regulations containing the requirement for companies to address chemical transport security and, where required, create a security plan.

The Working Group published in 2002 helpful templates, tools, and checklists to aid companies to comply with regulations.

This approach has been used by INDA, a forum of European associations interested in hazardous goods transport, operating on a pan-European basis since 2005.

Know Your Customer

Developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office in conjunction with the Chemical Industries Association and CBA, the ‘Know Your Customer’ campaign aims to remind the industry of the need for vigilance in vetting new customers – and provides a checklist and posters for companies’ sales staff.

If there is anything suspicious about the customer, companies are asked to contact the Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789321.

Secure Your Chemicals

Produced by the Home Office and the Health & Safety Executive in conjunction with CBA and CIA from the original Know Your Customer programme, the ‘Secure Your Chemicals’ initiative extends best practice to the users of hazardous chemicals in the metal surface treatment industry.

International Chemical Trade Association (ICTA)

ICTA represents 1,300 chemical distributors worldwide and, in 2018, developed its own Responsible Care Security Code, based in part on the CBA system, as well as adopting the best practices contained in the CBA Code of Conduct on Trade Controls.

I serve as the Director of Security for ICTA.

European Representation

CBA is a member of the European Commission’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear and Explosives Committee and a member of the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Explosives Precursors.