Introduction & context
In 2020 four European tech companies began searching for a platform vision which reconciles the potential and opportunities provided by this new business model with the European values that underpin our societies.
Platforms are a unique proposition
They connect large numbers of users, workers and, in the case of on-demand-delivery, economic partners (restaurants, shops, a.s.o). As multi-sided markets they have an unprecedented potential to bring access to new markets and growth to partners, immediately available earning opportunities to workers, and convenience to users. As market-makers, they can also use their data-driven model to bring unprecedented accountability to economic activity. Some of the ways of doing that include formalizing previously grey segments of the economy, imposing environmental standards on products and delivery, generating metrics to monitor labor standards, duration and earnings, and more.
The dual nature of platforms
As “engines of growth” and “engines of potential accountability”, in touch with multiple sectors of the economy, make them uniquely suited to understand and value public interest and partnerships with public institutions. The COVID19 pandemic accelerated this phenomenon and in 2020 delivery became almost overnight an essential municipal utility in most cities. Many policymakers reached out to ensure delivery continues to function and, where possible, to help not just quarantined citizens but also medical staff or vulnerable categories.
This new reality also accelerated policy conversations at the national and EU levels
That seek to regulate platforms and realise their potential. This project is our contribution to advancing the conversation from the private sector in a specifically European context.
We searched for unifying principles of our vision. The result was a Draft Statement of Principles that affirms our ambition to account for negative externalities, be present and engaged in the fabric of the cities and countries we operate in, and be responsible users of technology.
From December 2020 to March 2021, we engaged policy experts and policymakers for a “sanity check” on our vision and were told that it is “needed”, “timely” and welcome”. It also became clear the project must grow to include throughout 2021 a public consultation, a draft code of conduct, a playbook of best corporate and regulatory practices and – if needed – a booklet/summary of policy recommendations for all relevant ongoing EU legislation.
From June to August 2021, we open the Statement of Principles for co-signers and open a public consultation process in which any stakeholder can help us shape this vision further by providing input (by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our online form) to two future documents:
- A Code of Conduct (also including a playbook of platform best practices) that answers the question «how can and should online platforms act?
- A Playbook of Regulatory Best Practices, that answers the question «what are the tried and tested regulatory solutions that public authorities have already implemented ?
(~Q3, Sept 2021), consists of a Leadership Summit that
- Announces the final version of the 3 documents
- Announces co-signers to the key documents.
(Q4 / ~Oct 2021)
- Launch of [Booklet of] Policy Recommendations focused on all ongoing platform-relevant regulatory processes.