GPCA Announces First Regional GHS Standard in Collaboration with GCC Standardization Organization

The standard has been adopted with immediate effect on the territories of the six GCC states and will ensure the safe labeling of chemicals in the region

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5 June 2022 – The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the voice of the chemical and petrochemical industry in the Arabian Gulf, and the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO), the regional organization for national standardization bodies of GCC states, are pleased to announce the successful publication of the first regional Global Harmonized System standard on the occasion of World Environment Day 2022.

The standard, entitled GSO 2654:2021 ‘Global Harmonized System (GHS) in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ was developed by GPCA and adopted by GSO with immediate effect on the territories of all six GCC states. Its adoption marks a major milestone for the chemical and petrochemical sector in the Arabian Gulf, as it will help to build momentum to collectively implement the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) in the region.

GHS was developed by the United Nations as a single worldwide system for classifying and communicating the hazardous properties of industrial and consumer chemicals. Transporting hazardous chemicals can pose a significant risk to people and the environment. As a major hub for the production and export of chemicals and petrochemicals, it is particularly important for the GCC region to have robust EHS&S standards that would prevent the devastating impact of chemical accidents and successfully communicate the hazards associated with chemical transportation.

To put things in perspective the GCC chemical industry produced 150 million tons of products worth USD 54.1 billion[1] in 2020. This figure is estimated to be significantly higher in 2022 as a result of a buoyant market, which saw petrochemical demand and product prices grow significantly.

As the first of its kind in the GCC region, GSO 2654:2021 will become the standard for product stewardship and will help to dramatically transform the environment, health, safety, and security (EHS&S) landscape across the entire chemical and petrochemical value chain.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented: “GPCA is proud to announce the culmination of our joint work with the GSO over several years into the region’s first GHS standard. This comprehensive benchmark has been adapted to serve the region with its unique requirements and continue to ensure the healthy EHS&S performance of the GCC industry on a global scale. Working together towards one unified standard will ensure we continue to improve on our product safety record across the chemicals value chain, where every player – however big or small – will have the power to make a difference towards a more sustainable and safer future for the region, our roads and our communities.”

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About the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association

The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) was established in 2006 to represent the downstream hydrocarbon industry in the Arabian Gulf. Today, the association voices the common interests of more than 250 member companies from the chemical and allied industries, accounting for over 95 percent of chemical output in the GCC. The industry makes up the second largest manufacturing sector in the region, producing over US$108 billion worth of products every year.

GPCA supports the petrochemical and chemical industry in the Arabian Gulf through advocacy, networking and thought leadership initiatives aimed at helping member companies to connect, share and advance knowledge, contribute to international dialogue, and become prime influencers in shaping the future of the global petrochemicals industry.

Committed to providing a regional platform for stakeholders from around the world, GPCA manages six working committees – Plastics, Supply Chain, Fertilizers, International Trade, Research and Innovation, and Responsible Care – and organizes six world-class events each year. The association also publishes an annual report, regular newsletters and various other industry reports.


[1] GPCA Facts and Figures Report 2021 (Figures refer to 2020)