Chemical Compliance Advisory Services discusses the role of trade associations and welcomes collaboration from all parties interested in the optimisation of health, safety and environmental protection and the goal of better regulation.
Chemical industry trade associations can play an important regulatory role by representing their members in advocacy matters, responding to consultative documents, participating in collaborative studies, providing technical training and producing guidance documents.
It is often difficult for individual organisations, especially smaller or medium sized enterprises to directly interact with legislators and their representatives. Trade bodies can co-ordinate and represent member interests more efficiently. Larger organisations and multi-national corporations also benefit from trade association membership, gaining from collective representation and bargaining. Trade association membership is therefore an important asset to many businesses.
Some trade associations will be positioned more to offer support to members by producing technical guidance and training through the work of committees, rather than in the thrust of an advocacy role. Trade organisations undertaking an advocacy role may focus solely on this, or as part of a wider remit.
Trade bodies will be expected to survey members and provide factual based evidence and specific examples, when representing their members with regulatory bodies. Some trade associations will undertake media campaigns and commission research.
Another important role of trade associations is standardisation, promoting an expected level of commitment to achieving good standards of health, safety, environment, quality and service. Trade associations will often achieve this through written procedures, guidance documents, technical briefings, information notes and general news.
Trade associations may function is a number of different ways, some will operate for profit; others operate within a not-for-profit structure, typically using revenue gained from membership fees to operate, and channelling any surplus revenue towards added value initiatives and objectives. Most trade associations operate according to a code of conduct and expect members to comply with their role in this, particularly to ensure compliance with defined standards and competition law.
Trade bodies are usually governed by a board of directors or executive committee, responsible for establishing policy and monitoring activities and initiatives. Board and committee members of non-profit trade associations are mainly volunteer experts from members companies. Depending on structure, the Board may be accountable to the Members and will communicate through various means, including annual assemblies, where important matters are voted upon by members.
Important partner relationships can be developed by trade associations for the benefit of their members. This may be with other trade bodies, suppliers to their members and competitors, particularly through the work of Committees.
Here at Chemadvisory, we fully support collaborative working and welcome contact from trade bodies, companies, individuals and all interested parties to optimise health, safety and environmental protection and the pursuit of better regulation.
Page published July 2018
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