Social Responsibility Standard – ISO 26000 – Gets Approval
Wednesday, 15th September 2010 at 3:38 pm
A global Social Responsibility Guidance Standard called ISO 26000, has been passed and the much anticipated document is expected to be published in November 2010.
In the Final Draft International Standard voting, 66 countries voted in favor, 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 organizations out there.
ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele reiterated the market expectations for ISO 26000, which include:
- Global agreement on Social Responsibility (SR) definitions, and on the principles of SR
- Global agreement on the core subjects of SR
- Guidance on how to integrate SR throughout an organization.
The Managing Director of the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, Dr. Leeora Black has welcomed the decision to pass the ISO 26000 but says she's personally very disappointed by Australia’s abstention given the high level of interest here among prospective users and the quality of the Guidance Standard itself.
Dr. Black says there are no reasons given publicly for Australia’s abstention but fortunately the overall support for ISO 26000 was 93% of voting countries (66 out of 71).
She says however, she expects that ISO 26000 will find many users in Australia, especially among companies with an international presence and those with complex stakeholder environments.
She warns that the ISO 26000 is not for certification and companies should be wary of any agencies offering ISO 26000 certification services, as this has been specifically ruled out by ISO for the 26000 Guidance Standard.
Dr Black says there were several Australians who worked tirelessly on the development of this Guidance Standard over the last few years, including Deni Greene, Peter Colley, Bill Dee and Rosemary Sainty. ACCSR' s Senior International Associate, Paul Hohnen, was also one of the representatives of the Global Reporting Initiative to the ISO 26000 process.
Despite Australia’s abstention, Dr Black says the ISO 26000 was a triumph of multi-stakeholder engagement and many countries who might have found some aspects of the Guidance Standard challenging, such as China and some Islamic countries, ended up supporting it.
In February 2011 ACCSR will host a series of in-depth workshops on International Frameworks for Corporate Social Responsibilityin Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
ACCSR will announce details of these workshops and other learning programs in 2011 next month.