ESAD Steering Committee

The ESAD (European Single Assessment Document) Steering Committee operates in partnership with Cefic since ESAD is conceived as a joint initiative between Europe’s Chemical Manufacturers and Distributors to develop and oversee a voluntary system for assessing the Health, Safety and Environmental standards of distributors’ operation, whilst simultaneously providing a third-party assessment for the distributors’ compliance to their Responsible Care Programme.

The objective of the Committee is to monitor the progressive development of ESAD within the SQAS system and identify, then resolve any issues of concern. The Steering Committee is responsible for ensuring the integrity of ESAD and encourages ESAD assessments being used by all involved parties.

ESAD – Questionnaire & Guidelines


The 2015 edition of the SQAS/ESAD questionnaires was launched in 2015.

The following questionnaires have not been revised and the 2011 version should therefore still continue to be used:
ESAD Chlorinated Solvents and ESAD F&G.

ESAD – Questionnaire & Guidelines

The assessments are carried out via structured questionnaires accompanied by detailed guidelines for the assessor. The objective is to assess a distributor’s performance against the Eight Guiding Principles of the Responsible Care Programme. The system provides a uniform assessment that avoids multiple assessments by different suppliers.


On the 15th October 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Fecc and Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, to support ESAD, a renewed European Single Assessment Document.

SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 provides a tool to assess the quality, safety and environmental management systems of Chemical Distributors against the Eight Guiding Principles of the ICTA Responsible Care Programme, carried out in a uniform manner by independent assessors using a standardised questionnaire thereby avoiding the costly practice of multiple assessments by different suppliers.

An SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 assessment by an independent accredited assessor does not lead to a certificate but results in a detailed factual report, which each individual distribution company needs to evaluate according to its own requirements. The questions are related to (European) legislation, Industry Good Practice and Improvement possibilities. The SQAS Distributor/ESAD has a validity of three years. It is to be emphasised however that ESAD is only one element of the distributor selection process.

The Third Party assessment can only be undertaken by assessors who have been trained, examined and approved by Cefic/Fecc Training Group. You can consult here the Assessors (the list of ESAD accredited assessors is available on the SQAS website.)

The results of the assessment will be entered electronically into the system and there is space for both the assessor and distributor to make comments. The precise protocol to be observed is set out in the General Guidelines. The assessor’s report is owned by and confidential to the distributor who can grant the access.

The SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 Service package consists of the following documents, which must be used together:

Benefits of SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011, 2015 and 2019:

  • Key element of Responsible Care applied to logistics operations
  • Cost effective tool – avoids duplication
  • Drives continuous improvement of safety and quality standards
  • Systematic approach that helps to focus on issues that need attention

Since the 1st April 2011, SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 is available and it is an upgrade of the previous SQAS Distributor/ESAD. Main differences are:

  • The three types of questions, depending on the relative importance to the questions M-I-D (Mandatory, Industrial Standard, and Desirable) are no longer used.
  • The question categories S-Q-E (Safety, Quality, and Environment) are no longer used. This implies that each question has to be in compliance with all the three domains (if applicable) to score a positive answer.
  • Some questions have been merged.
  • ‘New’ questionnaire reports must be submitted with the new PAD (Pre-Assessment Document) and SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 software

Guidance on Competition Compliance for SQAS.

The guidelines on the SQAS Distributor/
ESAD 2011 & 2015 Assessment

Distributor Standard Activities (Appendix Di):

Site Assessment (Appendix S)

Chlorinated Solvents (Appendix Cs)

Food, Cosmetic or/and Pharma (Appendix F)

The documents can be also downloaded from the SQAS website.

The English version is the master text. Other language versions of the ESAD are available here. In case of any doubt, reference should always be made to English version.

PAD: Pre-Assessment Document

SQAS Distributor/ESAD 2011 requires that three weeks before the assessment takes place, the assessed company should send the PAD (identification of the company including the to be assessed activities) to the chosen assessor. The time required for a complete assessment will depend on the size and the activities of the assessed company. The assessment time will be indicated on the filled PAD.


For more information on Fecc & ESAD, please contact Gerhard Ahlbrecht at: or +32 2 679 02 64