Responsible Governance

Social Responsibility Standard – ISO 26000

ISO 26000 provides guidance to those who recognise that respect for society and environment is a critical success factor. As well as being the “right thing” to do, application of ISO 26000 is increasingly viewed as a way of assessing an organisation’s commitment to sustainability and its overall performance. In the Final Draft International Standard voting, 66 countries voted in favour, while only 5 voted against. There were 11 abstentions, including Australia.

The International Standardisation Organisation(ISO) Chair, Jorge Cajazeira from Brazil says ISO 26000 will provide organisations in both public and private sectors with a new paradigm for helping them to operate in the socially responsible way that society now expects.

He says the voluntary standard will assist them in achieving long-term economic benefits with minimal social costs and minimal harmful impacts on the environment.

Vice-Chair, Staffan Söderberg, says it was a truly heart warming moment when the 100 pages finally found consensus and the 400 experts and observers stood up and clapped their hands.

He says the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility has delivered a fantastic result and it is time to hand over this valuable guidance standard to the market and all organisations out there.

The Standard provides guidance rather than requirements. It is specifically outlined in the Standard that an organisation cannot be certified to ISO26000, unlike some other well-known ISO standards. Instead, it helps clarify what social responsibility is, helps businesses and organisations translate principles into actions and shares best practices relating to social responsibility, globally.

The standard was launched in 2010 following five years of negotiations between many different stakeholders across the world. Representatives from government, NGOs, industry, consumer groups and labour organisations around the world were involved in its development, which means it represents an international consensus.

Ardelic reviews certifications for companies listed on (.com) and we have found few references to ISO 26000. We do however increasingly see CSR Strategies, with measurable targets being developed, in not only large organisations but medium to small companies as well. It is likely that the guidance provided by ISO26000 is empowering organisations of all sizes to map out pathways to reduce negative impacts and increase social responsibilities.

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