Business and organizations do not operate in a vacuum. Their relationship to the society and environment in which they operate is a critical factor in their ability to continue to operate effectively. It is also increasingly being used as a measure of their overall performance.
ISO 26000 provides guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way. This means acting in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society.
ISO 26000:2010 provides guidance rather than requirements, so it cannot be certified to unlike some other well-known ISO standards. Instead, it helps clarify what social responsibility is, helps businesses and organizations translate principles into effective actions and shares best practices relating to social responsibility, globally. It is aimed at all types of organizations regardless of their activity, size or location.
The standard was launched in 2010 following five years of negotiations between many different stakeholders across the world. Representatives from government, NGOs, industry, consumer groups and labour organizations around the world were involved in its development, which means it represents an international consensus.
Support for implementing ISO 26000
ISO 26000 was developed by a working group of about 500 experts. At the publication of this standard the working group was disbanded. However, the leadership of the working group was retained to provide support and expertise for users. This is now called the Post Publication Organization, or PPO, for ISO 26000.
The ISO 26000 PPO has produced the following document(s) to support the implementation of ISO 26000:
- Communication Protocol – Describes appropriate wordings organizations can use to communicate about their use of ISO 26000
- ISO 26000 basic training materials in the form of a PowerPoint and training protocol guidance [PDF]
- Those that link ISO 26000 with the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises and the UN Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals).
- Those for the Systematic Review of ISO 26000, due to begin 15 January 2017.