Nanotechnology Law Report

Guide to Responsible Nano-Business

ObservatoryNANO recently published a "Guide to Responsible Nano-Business", a brief report written for an audience of "Medium sized companies involved in the development, processing, production, or trade of nanotechnology-enabled materials, components, or applications".

ObservatoryNANO was created and funded by the then extant European Community (EC), the predecessor of today'sEuropean Union (EU),  “to create a European Observatory on Nanotechnologies to present reliable, complete and responsible science-based and economic expert analysis, across different technology sectors, establish dialogue with decision makers and others regarding the benefits and opportunities, balanced against barriers and risks, and allow them to take action to ensure that scientific and technological developments are realized as socio-economic benefits.”

The Guide sets out and briefly discusses four "tools to identify and manage nanotechnology-related priorities":

Tool 1: Set priorities, focusing on the process of framing responsibility measures

Tool 2: Check and complement established internal guidelines and code of conduct

Tool 3: Focus actions, described in the guide as the "strategies and programmes [needed] to be put in place to assure that a guideline is of any practicle use".

Tool 4: Inform transparently, focusing on what to communicate (content), how to communicate to employees of the company, customers and/or the general public, and the choice of communication media, ranging from company websites to product labels.

The Guide has links to "Good Practice Examples", such as BASF's Code of Conduct and to sites where more information can be found.

While the Guide to Responsible Nano-Business is not on the same level as "Guide for the Perplexed" by Moses Maimonides, it is a good short and clearly written work that the owners and managers of nano-businesses would find useful in formulating policies for the workplace and for communicating with the general public.

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