The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 26000 was established in the year 2010 for guiding the organization on social responsibility. These standards elucidate the fundamentals and guidelines of the concept of social responsibility, and it helps the organization to act in an effective manner relating to mission and vision, operation, processes, employees, communities, customers, and stakeholders.
ISO 26000 is not like any other ISO certification. Its purpose is to guide on social responsibility, by following these standards, an organization will act ethically, transparently, and work towards the welfare of the society.
This standard was developed by the multi-sectoral group consisting of representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry, labor organization, consumer groups, and different stakeholders across the world.
Basically, the ISO 26000 is a voluntary document, which offers advice, suggestion, proposals for the organization regarding how to achieve social responsibility behavior.
The ISO 26000 provides guidance to all organizations on how to operate businesses in a socially responsible way, and these standards help in defining the social responsibility and converting principles into effective actions based on the international norms. The guidance placed in the ISO 26000 system is designed to be very clear and instructive, even to the layman, as well as being objective and pertinent to all organizations including big, medium, and small-sized enterprises, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Similarly, the ISO 26000 is framed in the way of assisting the organization in contributing to sustainable development and encouraging them to attain advanced legal compliance and promoting common understanding of social responsibility. There are seven key principles stated in social responsibility, they are
Respect for the rule of law:
Respect for international norms of behavior:
Respect for stakeholders:
Respect for human rights:
The ISO 26000 standard explains the core subjects of social responsibility and it illustrates the number of issues pertaining to the organization and stakeholders. So each organization should analyze the cause of issues, which needs to be addressed.
The seven core subjects of social responsibility are defined in clause 6 of the ISO 26000 standard. They are
organizational governance: sub-clause 6.2: It states how an organization makes a decision and takes steps to achieve the objectives. Here the accountability, transparency, ethics, and stakeholders should be the factors to the organization’s decision-making process.
Human rights: sub-clause 6.3
Labor practice: sub-clause 6.4
Environment: sub-clause 6.5
Fair operating practices: sub-clause 6.6
Consumer issues: sub-clause 6.7
Community involvement and development: sub-clause 6.8
The ISO 26000 standards were framed prior to the United Nations 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), still, it offers more than 400 recommendations pertaining to the principles and core subjects of social responsibility, which helps organization to achieve their SDGs.
As stated, ISO 26000 is a list of recommendations that helps the organization to critically review and sort out the strategy for social responsibility and convert the principles and objectives into effective actions. Like any other ISO certification, ISO 26000 does not provide any certification, it is merely a framework that provides guidance for achieving social responsibility in the organization and it does not set any goals that need to be achieved. Even though the ISO 26000 does not provide any certification, following guidance will fetch you another certification like ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management, etc.
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