ISO 26000 Social Responsibility

ISO 26000 is an international standard, which was developed to provide guidance on how to behave in a socially responsible way. This standard is applicable to all organizations whose aim is to contribute to the health and wellbeing of the society, regardless of their size or industry

In recent years, organizations around the world are becoming increasingly aware of a clear need to demonstrate practices of socially responsible behavior. The objective of the ‘organizational social responsibility’ concept is to contribute to sustainable development, through transparency and ethical performance.To assist organizations of all types and sizes in addressing their SR, the International Organization for Standardization has published first global standard on Corporate Social Responsibility, ISO 26000.

It is a detailed guidance document that offers suggestions, advices, proposals, and recommendations of social responsibility. It helps promote credible reporting, company’s accountability and it improves market performance.

Seven cores of ISO 26000

ISO 26000 is based on seven principles, seven core subjects of social responsibility defined in the standards. The organization must identify the significant issues for them to address. It is done in a prioritized manner, through involvement and dialogue with stakeholders.

ISO 26000 seven core subjects are:

  • Organizational governance
  • Human rights
  • Labor practices
  • The environment
  • Fair operating practices
  • Consumer issues
  • Community involvement and development

Organizational Governance – Refers to how your business makes and implements strategic decisions, to achieve its objectives. Your decision-making processes should be structured so that the principles of social responsibility can be applied.

Human Rights – Human rights are basic rights to which all humans are entitled. Businesses are to respect and support human rights within their own operations and by collaborating with stakeholders.

Labor Practices – Labor practices in an organization must be in accordance with all policies, and actions related to the working conditions by the organization and developed on its behalf, including subcontracted work. Labor practices include health and safety of workers, hiring, promotion, training and skill development, etc.

The Environment – Consequences of any decision and action taken by an organization will impact the environment. This is associated with the use of resources, the location of activities, waste, and pollution. Organizations must take a closer look when approaching an environmental direct and indirect impact, in order to minimize any negative outcomes.

Operating Practices – This core refers to the ethical conduct, practicing accountability and fairness when doing business with others, including organization’s stakeholders and suppliers. Addressing issues such as anti-corruption, respecting the law, and promoting social responsibility through the business chain are few of the important ISO 26000 themes.

Consumer Issues – Organizations must be transparent to their customer about their services and products. Customers must be given the necessary information regarding the product and service provided by any organization. Fair marketing, consumer service, support, data protection and privacy are issues that establish a credible image of the organization.

Community Involvement and Development – Organizations must acknowledge the value of communities where their business is active in. Community’s involvement in the organization’s practices will contribute to sustainable development. Supporting skill development programs, employment creation, and social investment will have a positive outcome on both sides.

How can you benefit from the ISO 26000? 

Persons with ISO 26000 Certification will bring strategic advantage to any organization and increase competitive side of the industry. Social responsibility is a representation of a positive image, adequate regulatory oversight, financial, and social return on investment and guarantee of the employees’ satisfaction and customers’ trust. Professionals with social responsibility certificates are a great way to attract new investors, identify market risks/opportunities, and regulator concerned with social responsibility and funding for sustainable development.

PECB is continuously active in assisting organizations worldwide and society as a whole to achieve best practice using standards to provide structure and focus on training and development programs. PECB offers Training and Certification services for ISO 26000:2010-Social Responsibility, which ensures that organizations will not only improve their organization performance but also have an international impact and independently validate their commitment to their stakeholders through certification.

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Author:- Suzana Ajeti is a Portfolio Marketing Manager for Health, Safety & Environment at PECB. She is in charge of conducting market research while developing and providing information related to HSE standards.

Reviewed by:- Eustace Onuegbu, President, International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (IN-CSR). Eustace is a leading management systems consultant, auditor and trainer with several years of experience consulting for some the world’s biggest organizations.

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