ISO has launched the development of the future ISO 26000 standard providing voluntary guidance on social responsibility (SR).
- ISO 26000 will be for organizations of all types in both public and private sectors, in developed and developing countries.
- ISO 26000 will add value to existing SR work by :
- developing an international consensus on what SR means and the SR issues that organizations need to address
- providing guidance on translating principles into effective actions, and
- refining best practices that have already evolved and disseminating the information worldwide for the good of the international community.
ISO 26000 will add value to existing initiatives for social responsibility by providing harmonized, globally relevant guidance based on international consensus among expert representatives of the main stakeholder groups and so encourage the implementation of best practice in social responsibility worldwide.
What is ISO 26000 ?
ISO 26000 is the designation of the future International Standard giving guidance on social responsibility (SR). It is intended for use by organizations of all types, in both public and private sectors, in developed and developing countries. It will assist them in their efforts to operate in the socially responsible manner that society increasingly demands. ISO 26000 contains guidance, not requirements, and therefore will not be for use as a certification standard like ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004.
Why is ISO 26000 important ?
Sustainable business for organizations means not only providing products and services that satisfy the customer, and doing so without jeopardizing the environment, but also operating in a socially responsible manner. Pressure to do so comes from customers, consumers, governments, associations and the public at large. At the same time, far-sighted organizational leaders recognize that lasting success must be built on credible business practices and the prevention of activities such as fraudulent accounting and labour exploitation. On the one hand, there has been a number of highlevel declarations of principle related to SR and, on the other, there are many individual SR programmes and initiatives. The challenge is how to put the principles into practice and how to implement SR effectively and efficiently when even the understanding of what “ social responsibility ” means may vary from one programme to another. ISO’s expertise is in developing harmonized international agreements based on double levels of consensus : among the principal categories of stakeholder, and among countries (ISO is a network of the national standards bodies of 157* countries). The future ISO 26000 will distil a globally relevant understanding of what social responsibility is and what organizations need to do to operate in a socially responsible way.
ISO and social responsibility