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
Who should use ISO 26000?
Organizations in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, whether large or small, and whether operating in developed or developing countries, use ISO 26000. All of the core subjects of social responsibility are relevant in some way to every organization.
Since the core subjects cover a number of issues, organizations will benefit when they identify which issues are most relevant and significant for them through examination of their own considerations and dialogue with stakeholders.
What does ISO 26000 accomplish?
ISO 26000 aims to:
- Assist organizations in addressing their social responsibilities while respecting cultural, societal, environmental, and legal differences and economic development conditions
- Provide practical guidance related to making social responsibility operational
- Assist with identifying and engaging with stakeholders and enhancing credibility of reports and claims made about social responsibility
- Emphasize performance results and improvement
- Increase confidence and satisfaction in organizations among their customers and other stakeholders
- Achieve consistency with existing documents, international treaties and conventions, and existing ISO standards
- Promote common terminology in the social responsibility field
- Broaden awareness of social responsibility
This standard is not intended to reduce government’s authority to address the social responsibility of organizations.
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.
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]
- Documents that link ISO 26000 with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations 2030 Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals
What is Social Responsibility Reporting?
ISO 26000: Guidance on social responsibility urges that, at appropriate intervals, users should report on their performance on social responsibility to the stakeholders affected. The standard suggests that the report should include:
- Information about objectives and performance on the core subjects and relevant issues of social responsibility
- How and when stakeholders have been involved in the reporting
- A fair and complete picture of performance, including achievements and shortfalls, and the way in which shortfalls will be addressed
ISO 26000 suggests that the credibility of reports would be enhanced by addressing conformance to the reporting guidelines of an external organization.
- The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded to develop and manage a sustainability reporting framework, has published a guidance document called GRI G4. The document provides assistance to organizations who wish to use GRI guidelines as the reporting framework for their implementations of ISO 26000.
- Another NGO, CSRWire, offers CSR & Sustainability Reports, a collection of current and past corporate sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental reports, as well the press releases that accompanied the reports.