NanoCode publishes synthesis report of stakeholder survey on EU Code of Conduct

(Nanowerk News) The NanoCode Synthesis Report on its Stakeholder CoC Survey provides the findings of the international, quantitative and qualitative NanoCode survey about the European Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research (EU-CoC). The results summarised in this report give insights into stakeholder's patterns of awareness, their expectations, attitudes and appraisals. The survey analyses the degree of compliance and commitment, identifies recommendations for the communication, possible incentives, disincentives and monitoring of the EU-CoC.
The Synthesis Report of the NanoCode Survey includes information from detailed Country Reports of the Consortium partners from seven EU-Member States (Italy, UK, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Germany) and three Non-EU Countries (Switzerland, Argentina and The Republic of South Africa). In each of the Consortium partner countries, representatives from research, institutions, business and civil society organisations contributed to the quantitative survey. Additionally, a series of qualitative interviews and focus groups have been organised to deepen the country-specific attitudes and to develop detailed recommendations. Furthermore, a group of participants from international organisations based in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Portugal and the United States answered the questionnaire and completed the colourful picture of comments and recommendations for the further development of the EU-CoC.
All in all, 304 European and international experts contributed to the NanoCode Survey between August and October 2010. Furthermore, about 150 experts had been involved in qualitative interviews or focus groups in the different countries between October 2010 and January 2011. With respect to this large and inhomogeneous sample, the results offer a surprisingly unambiguous tendency.
First of all, there is a broad general support of the EU-CoC principles with about 80% of agreement. The principle acceptance of the Code of Conduct is additionally visible in a two third majority of the participants who appraised the EU-CoC as an appropriate instrument for complementing regulation and for encouraging a dialogue about health, safety, environmental, ethical, social and legal issues. Only 15% thought that the Code is "not useful at all" for them.
Further core findings:
  • Contrary to the high level of agreement to the EU-CoC, a very low rate of adaption was observed in practice (only 20% of the participants stated an adaption by their organisation).
  • Several principles (e.g. Accountability, Inclusiveness, Precaution and Sustainability) should be revised.
  • Only 21% of the participants were aware of governmental activities to enforce the EU-CoC.
  • It will be fairly difficult to achieve compliance without an improvement of the awareness and appropriate communication strategies for different target groups.
  • Several suggestions were made by 78% of the participants - some of them easy to adopt, some of them requesting for fundamental changes.
  • Source: NanoCode