GENEVA, SWITZERLAND—ISO 26000, which gives organizations guidance on implementing social responsibility (SR), has been approved for publication as an ISO International Standard. With its release date of Nov. 1, the publishing of ISO 26000 will prove to be a tipping point in worldwide implementation of SR practices, noted Chris Knop, director of Avasara, a hotel/hospitality consulting services firm based in Hong Kong and Macau.
“Up until now, there’s been no official definition or framework for social responsibility,” he explained. “For those companies that already have SR or corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in place, ISO 26000 offers a definitive guideline for benchmarking and gap analysis.”
Knop, who also serves as vice chair of the Sustainable Development Committee at the Australian Chamber of Commerce as well as executive committee member for Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the Hong Kong Call Centre Association, has authored a white paper on CSR implementation. He believes for groups without an existing program, “ISO 26000 offers an excellent foundation on which to design and implement your program.”
Effectively this standard should provide the preeminent foundation for any organization to build its SR framework, he noted. It provides guidance on:
- Concepts, terms and definitions related to social responsibility;
- The background, trends and characteristics of social responsibility;
- Principles and practices relating to social responsibility;
- The core subjects and issues of social responsibility;
- Integrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behavior throughout the organization and, through its policies and practices, within its sphere of influence;
- Identifying and engaging with stakeholders; and
- Communicating commitments, performance and other information related to social responsibility.
The standard provides seven core subjects and associated principles in the SR framework, Knop noted, including: organizational governance, human rights, labor practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, and community involvement and development.
The seven principles of SR include accountability; transparency; ethical behavior; respect for stakeholder interests; respect for the rule of law; respect for international norms of behavior, and respect for human rights.
For more on the International Organization for Standardization or ISO 26000, visit iso.org.