ECA Manifesto

1. Purpose

The Ethical Commerce Alliance (hereinafter also referred to as ECA) manifesto forms the moral compass and lays out common fundamental values of the ECA network. It reflects our vision and objectives and supports our mission in offering guidance to all partners as to how best to comply and abide by ECA principles and guidelines.

  • Declaration of Compliance
    By being part of the ECA (which includes, but is not limited to, contributors, partners and other guests)you commit to abide by this Manifesto in all our activities and contributions, including events online and onsite.

2. ECA vision

The Ethical Commerce Alliance is a human-centred industry network that addresses ethical challenges in our digital ecosystem. We are connected by the drive to create respectful businesses and respectful technology.

We set ethical values on top of the agenda of every business, because ethical values are not a luxury but a necessity to sustain a healthy and thriving economy and society. Together, we strive to enable businesses to act responsibly and value-driven, and to ultimately end the damaging surveillance economy.

In addition, we identify and support trustworthy solutions that help provide sustainability and long-term growth to enable innovation worldwide and foster sovereignty in the tech and retail ecosystem in Europe.

We envision a digital sovereignty that includes enhanced, specific, clear and transparent data protection regulations that are beneficial for all and contain a shared responsibility, as it is in everybody’s interest to sustain them.

Regulations set the legal framework, but we need to ensure our goals as stakeholders in the industry are being met to stay competitive and help shape those policies to meet our ethical Standards. A society with strong moral values and high ethical standards can function much more effectively than an empty legal framework without ethics. It is our collective responsibility to act not because it is a legal obligation, but our shared values that drive it.

As a network, we want to build a safer, fairer, more equal digital world that each of us benefits from. As businesses, we aim to gain equal access and opportunity to achieve business goals, and shift the power imbalance created by a minority of big tech companies who dominate the current market. As individuals, we want assurance that the websites we visit provide us with information and fair and equal conditions, regardless of our origin, salary or social status. We further expect to be the owners of all our personal data and be given the choice of whom to share it with. Businesses have a responsibility to provide or seek out a technical setup where this can be ensured.

At the core of positive customer-brand relationships is reciprocal interest based on trust. The business owner who builds trust by creating a trustworthy and secure online environment invites the customer to connect and interact. Customers have the opportunity to shape their own personalised shopping, giving active consent for brands to use specific data to customise their experience.

Contributing to the ECA means being a partner in a network that speaks as a unified industry voice to address retailers’ and individuals’ needs in data protection regulations that stand against economic in equality and a widening socio-economic gap.

We believe in a better world that is stronger together. We believe that fairness and equal opportunity in the digital market fosters innovation, growth and creativity. We believe that a more respectful way of collaborating strengthens our society and our democracy for healthy and sovereign markets across borders that help sustain political, economic and environmental goals and values.

In order to understand the purpose of data usage, transparency is key. Businesses ought to provide information on the context of how, why and where the data is processed. It’s time the tech industry takes an active role in making privacy protection easier and more accessible.

3. ECA mission

We support businesses to implement ethical standards in their work structures and roadmaps. A behaviour paramount to ensuring long-term success, customer loyalty, brand recognition and positive reputation, as opposed to short-term profits based on unethical products, services or work environments.

It is our mission to embrace data protection and digital market regulation. Being ahead of laws and regulations by our ethical standards liberates us and simplifies our compliance processes. It empowers us to both anticipate new regulations and go beyond GDPR the baseline protection.

It takes a community of diverse stakeholders to create actionable, ethical solutions: from small to large retailers, platform and technology providers, academia, consultants and other organisations. Together we tackle obstacles to enhanced data protection and fill the EU’s legal framework with life. Instead of complying with a static set of obligations, we strive to embrace laws and regulations as an opportunity to enhance their meaning and turn them into viable, transparent and clear actions.

We have specified this mission in guidelines and principles, setting an actionable framework:

  • We must protect our online identities better.
    We need to be able to rely on a protective online environment and protective systems that only a combined effort from tech, retail and government can provide. It is critical to be able to trust the platforms or the websites that we visit.

  • We take accountability for the way we interact with technology and act accordingly.
    Both from individual and systemic standpoints, it’s key to understand the impact of your actions within your own organisation and beyond, across partners and suppliers.

  • Establish trust by acting honestly, openly and responsibly.
    A goal that cannot be aimed for but is a connection gained over time by displaying competency and offering guidance. Trust is earned by giving trust, built upon transparency and respect for privacy. Letting go of tracking and data mining opens the door to an equal relationship between brands and consumers, where people can control their personal data.

  • Evaluate your work structure to pursue a privacy-minding environment and culture.
    Support open discussions and knowledge sharing across teams and departments. Boost people’s confidence to speak out.

  • Our work extends beyond baseline legal compliance; personal data needs an extra layer of protection.
    Privacy policies should contain clear language that is easy to understand and context-related. This process gives people control while maintaining transparency.

  • Take steps to actively identify and address biases in your workflows and algorithms.
    Monitoring, reflecting and adjusting is a process that helps stay up to date with measures needed to protect individuals’ basic human rights.

4. Principles: The core values of the ECA

We, as the ECA network, all agree to act accordingly with our established core values to work towards a more ethically sustainable, human-centric approach that drives businesses and organisations:

    Honour every customer’s right to privacy and to be forgotten. Customers should be empowered to give or withdraw explicit consent for the use of their data.

    Treat customers as human beings and put their digital rights first. Exploiting personal data is ultimately more harmful than beneficial to businesses.

    Ensure a transparent handling of data processing and enable customers to review and consent contextually. Every customer should be able to easily understand how, where and why their data is used, transferred and stored.

    Foster a vibrant culture that unifies different perspectives and creates opportunities for better ideas and results.

    Provide a welcoming culture that is open for everyone, indifferent of their situations, conditions or backgrounds.

    The entity requesting personal information needs to ensure the sole data owner is the person identified in the data. This person must be asked for consent to use that data and has the right to withdraw. The process to withdraw consent must be simple, transparent and unambiguous, in order to establish trust.

    As technology and research progresses, so must the regulations around data ethics. The ECA will keep up to date, being open and willing to explore new perspectives to pave the way for higher ethical standards in the industry and a safer, more autonomous digital world.

5. Inclusion and behaviour

In all our communications and interactions with partners, advisors, stakeholders and within the Alliance, we are inclusive and transparent in all we do. Our primary goal is to be inclusive to the largest number of contributors, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and religion (or lack thereof).

We never use harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or disability. Any behaviour otherwise will result in repercussions.

  • Repercussions
    Unacceptable behaviour from any of the members, its representatives, (including a decision-making authority), shall not be tolerated.

    If a partner engages in unacceptable behaviour, the organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including a temporary ban or permanent expulsion from the ECA without warning.