World's First Social Responsibility Standard
19 February 2010 at 1:29 pm
Billed as the world’s first social responsibility standard – the International Standards Organisation or ISO 26000 has huge potential in mainstreaming socially responsible business practice around the world, the 4th annual ACCSR conference has heard.
Speaking at the ACCSR conference in Melbourne, Jonathon Hanks, Convenor of the ISO Working Group on Scope, Social Responsibility Context and Social Responsibility Principles, says the standard is an important development for understanding global social responsibility expectations.
The standard, due to be launched in 2010, will be voluntary and function as a guidance standard, rather than a certification standard.
Hanks says the ISO 26000 isn’t a standard for CSR, but instead it is applicable to all organisations, regardless of size or focus. He says the guiding principle of the document should apply to the corner baker as well as a corporate giant such as Exxon Mobile.
Hanks says the importance of the ISO brand; the extensive multi-dimensional engagement undertaken to develop the standard; and fact that for the first time the standard reflects the fundamental global expectations of socially responsible business practice, give the ISO 26000 very significant potential.
Hanks says that the most important part of the standard enables an organisation to define the scope of its social responsibility, identify relevant issues and set priorities. by addressing the following core subjects –
- organisational governance;
- human rights;
- labour practices;
- the environment;
- fair operating practices;
- consumer issues; and
- community involvement and development.
Convenor of the session Paul Hohnen, ACCSR Senior International Associate and representative of the Global Reporting Initiative to ISO 26000, says the 80 or so pages of the ISO give a better practical understanding of international expecations of social responsiblity than thousands of pages of international law.
Hohnen says that while other standards give industry specific guidance – the ISO 26000 details the global expectations and standard.
Hohnen says that ISO decided in 2002 to look at social responsibility, and after 2 years of consultation, decided that a international standard of social responsibility was needed.
Negotiations and consultations began around the world in 2005, the draft principles were released in 2009, and the last working group is scheduled for May 2010 in Copenhagen, before the standard is officially released later this year.
The ACCSR’s 4th Annual Conference is being held in Melbourne, with the theme for this year’s conference being ‘Meeting the standard – the post GFC world of Responsible Business Practice’.
For more information on the ISO visit www.iso.org/sr
*Attached is the ISO 26000