Applicability

Making Responsible Innovation manageable for innovating companies

PAS 440 recognises that companies aim to act responsibly but also have to meet many other business needs in a competitive environment.

PAS 440 aims to support a company’s need to:

Transformative innovation

PAS440 is concerned with innovation – which could include the implementation of new or significantly improved products – goods or services – or a new or improved process, or new business practices, organisation, or market.

As we saw in the introduction, PAS 440 particularly addresses the needs of companies developing transformative innovations that can lead to:

PAS 440 should also be used when developing innovations that are incremental but have the potential to be of particular concern to stakeholders or to wider society.

An RI approach also includes compliance with company-level social responsibility standards (or developing them, if your company does not yet have these codified) and observing basic ethical principles.

For incremental innovations that do not raise particular concerns and fit well in existing business models,company-level social responsibility standards may be sufficient.

Principles of Responsible Innovation in PAS 440

PAS 440 is structured around:

PAS 440 recognises the regulatory and governance context, including government mandates to protect citizens, and takes account of formal regulation and relevant standards and guidelines, alongside Responsible Innovation.

At the company level

Many companies will already have defined ethical principles and this may already be part of their standard operating procedures.

BS ISO 26000 describes norms of good conduct by a company and is widely used as a standard for corporate social responsibility.

Another example is the Triple Bottom Line which reports a company’s performance including People, Planet, and Profit.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) codify a set of internationally-agreed societal aspirations. This is a useful checklist to identify societal and stakeholder interests. Some SDGs are particularly relevant at company level and some are more pertinent to specific innovations.

For innovations

For highly transformative innovation, or incremental innovation that has the potential to attract strong public interest potentially leading to controversy, innovation-specific Responsible Innovation should be adopted. PAS 440 describes a framework which documents Responsible Innovation activities at each stage.

If RI is new to a company, also consider an audit of previous innovations, or innovations still in the process of development.

Demonstrating responsible corporate behaviour

Companies will want to demonstrate their responsible behaviour at company level and in specific innovations. A company’s approach to social responsibility should be part of its routine reporting structure. PAS 440 provides ways in which a company can report its responsible behaviour at company level and at innovation level using a well-defined RI Framework.

PAS 440 also suggests ways in which companies can balance their desire for transparency against any risk to their competitiveness or intellectual property.

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