Tool Guideline

PAS 440 Responsible Innovation Guide

Uploaded by RRI Tools on April 27, 2020
Last modified on December 18, 2020

Innovate UK & Industry in collaboration with BSI, the UK National Standards body

The creation of this free to download standardization document has been overseen by a steering group made-up of organizations across multiple sectors and innovation researchers. For more details about the steering group see here 

A corporate governance guide for responsible innovation

Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is acknowledged by business, policymakers and government bodies as a critical component of governance systems across the European Union. Current RRI approaches focus on basic research, with the main emphasis being on the use by academics of university ethics committees. This new standardized guide covers product, service and process innovation support to companies that wish to innovate responsibly and to demonstrate their responsible behaviour.  

The fast-tracked standardization document, known as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 440, provides a practical guide that helps companies to understand the need for responsible behaviour and chart a path through conflicting aspirations and demands of a broad range of stakeholders. It allows organizations to demonstrate that they are innovating responsibly, whilst taking account of companies’ needs to continue to innovate in a timely manner, to ensure that they remain competitive internationally

This free to download standardization document aims to provides a responsible innovation framework that is usable in any sector of the economy where radically new and innovative technologies, products, services and processes are being developed.


What is PAS 440:2020 about?

Society has never been hungrier for innovation nor less tolerant of innovation which fails. To help companies innovate responsibly, PAS 440:2020 provides overarching guidance on how to structure innovative thinking and processes responsibly, irrespective of domain.

Who is PAS 440:2020 for?

  • Those taking new products, services or processes to market
  • Company boards, risk committees, R&D

PAS 440:2020 will also interest a company’s wider stakeholders including:

  • Members of the public
  • Customers
  • Scientists/innovators
  • Regulators/policy makers
  • Suppliers
  • Financiers and investors
  • Current and prospective employees, and collaborators

Why should you use PAS 440:2020?

This document provides guidance for companies that want to innovate responsibly and to demonstrate their responsible behaviour. It will help them structure their thinking and guide their actions.

Companies need to consider not only the benefits of their innovations, but also any possible adverse impacts, including through unintended use, misuse or other unforeseen consequences; and to plan accordingly.

Until now there has been no overarching guidance for companies on how to structure their thinking and processes in this respect. PAS 440:2020 provides such guidance.

It will help companies think through the wider implications of their innovation, capture the outcomes of their reflection, and communicate this to stakeholders and wider society. All industry sectors are in scope.

PAS 440 is particularly relevant in the area of early stage and disruptive technologies, but can be applied anywhere. Its use helps to identify and mitigate risks – before they become an issue.

And it can help companies to reassure investors, customers and other stakeholders that the benefits of any innovation can be achieved, with appropriate mitigation of any potential downside risk, wherever that might otherwise accrue.                                             

There are two main elements of responsible behaviour by companies:

  1. Company-level responsibility, applying to organizational behaviour in general
  2. Innovation-level responsibility, specific to each innovative development or class of developments

PAS 440:2020 contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation because it promotes responsible innovation. It also contributes to Goal 11 on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns because it supports thoughtful and considered – rather than careless and potentially wasteful – innovation. 


For more info about the PAS 440 Responsible Innovation Guide - you can listen to this episode of the BSI EDUCATION PODCAST

Standards in the spotlight: PAS 440 - Responsible Innovation

Society has never been hungrier for innovation nor less tolerant of innovation which fails. PAS 440 provides guidance to organizations on how to structure innovative thinking and processes responsibly, irrespective of sector or industry.

In this episode we hear from Paul Mason - Director of Innovation Policy at Innovate UK, Professor Joyce Tait - Co-Director of the Innogen Institute at Edinburgh University, Elaine Shine – PAS Business Development Manager at BSI, and Isabela Cabrera - Edinburgh University postgraduate, about why PAS 440 was developed, why it matters and how it’s being used.








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