Thursday, November 4, 2010

ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility

ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility is now available online. Most standards come into the world after considerable debate. But ISO 26000 is so broad, and social responsibility generally so far reaching,  that ISO 26000 has attracted a fair share of attention even prior to its release.

ISO 26000 concerns
  • Consumer issues 
  • Human rights issues
  • Labour practices
  • The environment
  • Fair operating practices
  • Community involvement and development
In turn, ISO 26000 breaks down the core subjects of social responsibility into 4 -8 issues each. So for example, the Fair Operating Practices subject is further divided into issues on anti-corruption, responsible political involvement, fair competition, promoting social responsibility in the value chain and respect for property rights.

ISO 26000 provides a guideline for companies to accrue many potential benefits. According to ISO 26000, "The perception and reality of an organization's performance on social responsibility can influence, among other things: its competitive advantage; its reputation; its ability to attract and retain workers or members, customers, clients or users; the maintenance of employees' morale, commitment and productivity; the view of investors, owners, donors, sponsors and the financial community; and its relationship with companies, governments, the media, suppliers, peers, customers and the community in which it operates."

Perhaps the most interesting parts of ISO 26000 are the Related Actions and Expectations sections that appear in every topic because they offer specific, common sense advice relating to each area. For example, an organization should ... "offer consumers socially and environmentally beneficial products and services considering the full life cycle, and reduce adverse impacts on society and the environment by... designing products and packaging so that they can be easily used, reused, repaired or recycled and, if possible, offering or suggesting recycling and disposal services"

Taken as a whole, ISO 26000 is a really interesting document to read. Download ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility from ANSI.