The first thing to realise about the new ISO 26000 standard is that it offers voluntary guidance for social responsibility and sustainable development. It is not, therefore, certifiable – i.e. unlike other management standards, most notably ISO 9000, there are no requirements to be audited and resulting certificates issued to prove conformity.
So if it is not intended to be binding, legally or through independent auditing, what is the purpose of the standard?
ISO 26000 is an attempt to bring all the thinking, guidance and local standards together, using input from a wide range of stakeholder groups from government to labour and business to consumers. It covers seven “core subjects”:
- Organisational governance
- Human rights
- Labour practices
- The environment
- Fair operating practices
- Consumer issues