ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility

The building of international consensus on voluntary guidance to help organizations operate in a socially responsible way made progress at the recent meeting of the ISO group that is developing the future ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility.

ISO 26000 is intended for use by organizations of all types, in both public and private sectors, in developed and developing countries. ISO 26000 will contain guidelines, not requirements. It is not a management system standard and will not be for use as a certification standard like ISO 9001:2000 or ISO 14001:2004. It is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2009.

ISO 26000 is being developed by representatives of the six main stakeholder groups:

  1. industry; government; labor; consumers; nongovernmental organizations; and
  2. service, support, research and others.

In addition, efforts are made to maintain a geographical and gender-based balance of participants.

The guidance in ISO 26000 will draw on best practices developed by existing public and private sector initiatives. It will be consistent with, and complement, relevant declarations and conventions by the United Nations and its constituents, notably the International Labor Organization (ILO) with whom ISO has established a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure consistency with ILO labor standards.

Communication tools for ISO 26000 include a dedicated Web site with material on the SR initiative, including the new brochure, “Participating in the Future International Standard ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility”.