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Abstract: The contribution problematizes the need and use of democratic procedures to ensure compliance and legitimation of voluntary self-imposed corporate norms of behavior. The starting point of this argument is the challenge of regulating nanotechnology’s risks that are not adequately governed by governmental policy instruments. Corporations try to absorb the risks of manufacturing nanotechnology-based products by voluntarily exposing themselves to rules that govern the use of those risky products. Because of the danger of non-compliance and because of the collective objective of these Codes of Conduct it is argued that public participation is needed. The text shows ways to legitimately and effectively involve public participation into the standardization process.
key words: technology assessment, democratic decision-making, governance of nanotechnology, codes of conduct