November 1st marked the launch of one of the most eagerly awaited ISO International Standards of recent years, ISO 26000:2010, Guidance on social responsibility, which provides guidance on social responsibility (SR) for private sector companies and public sector organizations.
ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele comments: "The publication of ISO 26000 is eagerly awaited worldwide by organizations of all types, from the private to the public sector. Social responsibility is becoming essential, as society is increasingly demanding it worldwide. ISO 26000 stands out from the many existing initiatives in the field of social responsibility in that it creates a genuine international consensus on the definition of social responsibility and the key issues to be taken into account when implementing it. It is also based on the participation of a wide range of stakeholders - developing countries, business, public authorities, consumers, labor, non-governmental organizations and others."
According to the standard, the reality and perception of an organization's corporate responsibility performance can affect the following, among other things:
- Competitive advantages
- Its reputation
- Its ability to attract and retain employees or members, customers or users
- Maintaining employee motivation, commitment and productivity
- The vision of investors, owners, donors, sponsors and the financial community
- Its relations with companies, public authorities, the media, suppliers, peers, customers and the community in which it operates.
ISO 26000 provides guidelines for all types of organizations, whatever their size or location, concerning :Concepts, terms and definitions relating to corporate social responsibilityThe origins, orientations and characteristics of corporate responsibilityPrinciples and practices of corporate social responsibilityCore issues and areas of action in corporate social responsibilityThe integration, implementation and promotion of responsible behavior throughout the organization, through its policies and practices, and within its sphere of influence.Stakeholder identification and dialogueCommunication on commitments, performance and other information concerning corporate social responsibility.
ISO 26000 is a voluntary standard offering guidelines. It is not intended for certification purposes, as are ISO 9001:2008 (quality management) and ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management).