Life sciences and biotechnology have given rise to significant public attention and debate. Promoting dialogue among stakeholders and organising public debates will accompany and guide the development of life sciences and biotechnology and ensure effective and responsible policies that are in harmony with societal values. Without broad public acceptance and support, the development and use of life sciences and biotechnology in Europe will be contentious. Our society should offer the necessary safeguards to ensure that the development and application of life sciences and biotechnology take place respecting the fundamental values of human life and dignity. Europe needs to achieve a common understanding among all stakeholders and policy makers and resolve diverging views. If biotechnology is to work for Europe, political leaders must make some tough choices to handle the ethical dimension and to harness biotech’s potential so that it meets the needs and expectations of EU citizens.
EuropaBio's Core Ethical Values Charter is a pledge of responsible behaviour and all members of EuropaBio are bound by them. We believe that the swift and steady development of science and technology calls for rapid identification and clarification of the ethical aspects of this development. We want to anticipate and explore the impact of change and to discuss its effects with the scientific community, the public and their elected representatives. The well-being of humans and animals, and the quality of our environment are the major concerns of any civilised society. They are fully shared by all of EuropaBio's member companies. We support authorisation procedures for genetically modified organisms based on rigorous and science-based safety assessments that are coherent, transparent and predictable. We believe that both the scientific community and the industry should invest enough time and energy to work together with the public on addressing their concerns.
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1. EuropaBio, European Association for Bioindustries, represents large, small and medium sized companies as well as National non-governmental associations which operate in a Member State, or candidate Member State of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association and are engaged in or represent companies that carry out research, development, testing, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of biotechnology products and services in the field of healthcare, renewable energy, chemical products and materials, agriculture, food and environment. To see the OECD’s definition of biotechnology, please visit: http://www.europabio.org/what-biotechnology-0. For more information about EuropaBio and its members, please visit our website: http://www.europabio.org/about-europabio.
2. EuropaBio's mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnologybased industry in Europe.
3. EuropaBio proactively supports an independent science- based regulatory framework.
4. EuropaBio recognizes its responsibility to address ethical concerns of society and to encourage, through dialogue, a better mutual understanding of such concerns. These concerns include cultural or religious aspects, possible environmental impact and the adequacy of regulations.
5. These Core Ethical Values are addressed to consumers, patients, the industrial and agricultural communities, politicians, legislators, the media, organizations and others who wish to know about the key ethical values that underpin our work. All , members of EuropaBio commit to these Core Ethical Values.
6. Since biotechnology is innovative and develops rapidly, and since societal preferences are developing as well, these Core Ethical Values may be modified over time to address new issues and new insights in the future.
7. We are committed to the socially responsible use of biotechnology including genetic engineering to improve the quality of life, to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure diseases, to improve the quality and quantity of food and feedstuffs, to produce chemicals and to clean up hazardous wastes.
8. We are committed to high ethical standards in the development and use of safe and effective products.
9. We develop and use biotechnology with respect for human dignity and human rights. We take steps to avoid misuse of our technologies.
10. We are committed to increasing understanding of biotechnology among all stakeholders including the public.
11. We are committed to an open, informed dialogue with all interested groups (stakeholders) about the ethical, social, environmental and economic aspects of biotechnology and its applications.
12. We communicate and share timely and appropriate information about biotechnology and its derived products and services in an accurate and balanced manner and within the legislative framework.
13. We strive to innovate and to achieve sustainable solutions for society. We give priority to health, safety and environmental protection when undertaking the research, development, manufacturing as well as in the distribution of our products and services.
14. We support transparent product information that enables informed consumer choice.
15. We are committed to reduce, refine and replace ( 3R’s) animal testing as well as to develop and promote alternatives and aim to achieve very high standards of animal well being. We commit to minimize pain and distress for the animals we use and to use animals in our research only when scientifically necessary or required by EU regulations.
16. We support the Biological Weapons Convention banning development and use of biological weapons and will not undertake any research or other activities intended for use in developing, testing or producing such weapons.
17. We support the conservation of biological diversity and the exchange of biotechnology between developed and developing countries duly considering each country’s cultural differences.
18. We support the principles embodied in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect biological diversity including adherence to the principles of access and benefit sharing.
19. We support the development of bio-preparedness [to prepare for natural threats and biological warfare] including detection, prevention and bioremediation to support public health and security.
20. We support cleaner industrial and municipal processes through biotechnology.
21. We respect codes of ethics of the healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat disease and prescribe, dispense, and use our products or make use of our services whether in research, development or patient care.
22. We support the principles of openness and transparency in our relations with patients and patient groups, to respect and safeguard their independence. (See also: http://www.europabio.org/patients.htm
23. We respect individual privacy and support the protection of the confidentiality of medical information, which includes genetic information.
We oppose the use or disclosure of individually identifiable medical information, without informed consent, unless required by law or by regulation to monitor the m safety of our products.
We oppose any use or disclosure of medical information which could lead to intolerance or stigmatization.
24. We ensure within our responsibilities that the informed consent of all individuals participating in our clinical research programmes is adequately obtained. When individuals are unable to give their consent, it should be sought from their legally authorized representative.
25. We recognise and support the position that severe, rare, as well as neglected diseases are public health priorities and we take our shared responsibility in these areas seriously.
26. We oppose the use of cloning technologies to reproduce human beings.
27. We are committed to ethical research on different types of stem cells. We support carefully considered embryonic or hybrid stem cell research in order to advance knowledge in biomedicine and its applications in healthcare within the legislative framework of each country.
28. We support the compensation of human tissue donors only for their expenses and inconvenience, when appropriate.
29. We support the identification and relevant disclosure of information relating to (perceived or real) conflicts of interest including financial ones. Conflicts of interest should be avoided, wherever and to the extent possible. When they cannot be avoided these conflicts should be managed so that they neither compromise the safety or well being of patients and consumers nor data integrity.
30. We support the timely posting of clinical trial information in patients and making the results of such clinical research publicly available in a timely fashion regardless of its outcome also in order to prevent unnecessary repetition of clinical trials.
31. We support the current bans on human germ line gene therapy.
32 We support the provision of applicable information and/or counseling to patients prior to and after genetic testing.
33. We condemn the abuse of medicinal products to enhance athletic performance.
34. We support the principles contained in relevant international declarations such as those listed hereunder, but not limited hereto:
The Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (World Medical Association)
The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights and its additional protocols (UNESCO)
Convention for the protection of Human Rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and its Additional Protocols: (Council of Europe)
The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (UNESCO)
AGRICULTURE, FOOD, FEED, FIBRE, FUEL AND THE ENVIRONMENT
35. We support improvements in the quality and accessibility of agricultural products, in order to enhance the world’s food, feedstuff and industrial raw materials and renewable energy supplies.
We promote efficient and sustainable agriculture and support new biotechnological developments, which offer additional opportunities for plant breeders and farmers to grow, protect and improve their crops and to use natural resources more effectively.
36. We support the sustainable use of plant material for production of bio-based products and of biomass.
CORE ETHICAL VALUES
37. All members of EuropaBio voluntarily adhere to these Core Ethical Values. Member companies shall not represent any position as being that of EuropaBio unless that position has been approved by the Council and / or Board of EuropaBio.
Member companies also recognize EuropaBio’s responsibility to consider deviations by its members from these Core Ethical Values and to recommend appropriate responses after a reasonable due process in accordance with the EuropaBio Statutes Article 5.
EuropaBio staff shall adhere to the EU Code of Conduct for Interest
Representation in particular the principles and rules. We undertake to behave in line with the principles of openness, transparency, honesty and integrity.
When translated, the original English text prevails.
Approved as modified by EuropaBio’s General Assembly, 24 June 2009. According to Article 4 of the EuropaBio Statutes all Members and Associate Members shall adhere to the Core Ethical Values of the Association.