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Quality Digest

Standards

ISO Lays Foundation for New Social Responsibility Standard

Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2005 - 22:00

The International Organization for Standardization Working Group continued moving toward forming a new international standard on social responsibility at a recent meeting in Thailand. The group agreed that ISO 26000 will give organizations harmonized, internationally agreed-upon guidance for social responsibility (SR), drawing on best practices and the relevant declarations and conventions of the United Nations and its constituents, most notably the International Labor Organization. The standard will not be used for certification purposes.

The Bangkok meeting was attended by experts from 54 ISO member countries (45 of which were participants, and nine of which were observers), plus 24 international liaison organizations, including the ILO. In all, 350 people attended the meeting, a significant increase from the working group’s first meeting, which was held in March in Brazil.

One of the principle achievements of the Bangkok meeting was the development of a structural outline for ISO 26000. The standard will be structured as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Scope
  • Normative references
  • Terms and definitions
  • The SR context in which all organizations operate
  • SR principles relevant to organizations
  • Guidance on core SR subjects and issues
  • Guidance for organizations on implementing SR

The content of the clauses will be drafted by three task groups over the next two to three months, according to a process designed by the working group to ensure balanced representation of all stakeholder groups. Responsibility for drafting the content for the normative references and terms and definitions clauses hasn’t yet been assigned.

The working group also agreed on a draft project plan that targets the publication of a draft ISO 26000 in November or December 2007, a final draft in September 2008 and a finalized international standard in October 2008.

“Because ISO 26000 must reflect an international consensus among all the stakeholder categories impacted by social responsibility, the working group includes people of very different backgrounds and experience,” says Jorge E.R. Cajazeira. “We are now pulling together as a team and while the road ahead includes its share of challenges, the working group has the will to tackle and overcome them, because we know our work is important.”

The next ISO 26000 meeting will be held in May or June 2006 in Lisbon, Portugal. For more information, visit www.iso.org.

 

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