According to an article published this week in Nanowerk, the Royal Society, Insight Investment, the Nanotechnology Industries Association and the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network, have launched an initiative to develop a "Code of responsible nanotechnology" for companies that work with this type of technologies.
The objective of this Code will be to establish a series of principles of international relevance that summarize the good practice for all companies that participate in each of the aspects of these emerging technologies and their applications; research, development, manufacture, distribution and sale.
The Code will be developed by a working group made up of representatives of the four collaborators who have founded the initiative and a series of organizations, both business and non-governmental, together with scientists and specialists in social sciences. Confirmed members of the working group include the chemical company BASF, Unilever, Smith & Nephew, the consumer group Which ?, NGO Practical Action and Amicus, among others.
Lord Selborne, who chairs the task force, said: “Nanotechnologies are generating great excitement, with extremely rapid industrial growth. But companies operate in a climate of technical, social and commercial uncertainty regarding these relatively new technologies. For this reason, we intend to develop a code, with broad stakeholder participation, outlining best practice for all companies in the chain, from nanomaterials producers to those selling products to consumers.
“By helping companies develop a sense of responsibility for nanotechnologies, we hope that this Code will play an important role in ensuring that nanotechnologies are aware of their full potential, including their economic, social, and environmental benefits. Health".
The Code will be voluntary and companies will be encouraged to publicly explain how they adhere to its principles; for example, through statements in your annual or corporate responsibility reports. The Code will outline expected business behaviors and management processes rather than a verifiable standard, although compliance indicators may be developed.
An open consultation will take place in autumn 2007, after presenting a draft of the code for debate. The working group plans to publish the code in early 2008.