ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility, was developed by ISO to provide organisations with tools to improve Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and contribute to sustainability in alignment with the UN Sustainability Goals.
In addition to ISO 26000, there are standards that support each of the UN SDGs. These include ISO 20400, Sustainable procurement – Guidance, ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety, ISO 14001 Environmental Management, ISO 22000 Food Safety, and ISO 50001 Energy Management System.
ISO 26000 provides guidance on the nature and principles of Social Responsibility. This includes principles such as Accountability, Transparency, Ethical behaviour, Respect for stakeholder interests, Respect for the rule of law, respect for international norms of behaviour, Respect for human rights, Recognizing social responsibility and engaging stakeholders. Organisations who have implemented ISO 45001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 or ISO 50001, for example, will be familiar with the principles involving identifying stakeholders and their requirements, including legal requirements. Principles such as accountability, transparency, and ethical behaviour are closely aligned with these, as implicit or explicit requirements of interested parties.
Guidance is also provided on social responsibility core subjects, including:
- Organizational governance
- Human rights
- Labour practices
- The environment
- Fair operating practices
- Consumer issues
- Community involvement and development
In common with other standards, ISO 26000 also covers integrating the principles and practices throughout the organisation and continual improvement of performance.
The standard is designed to support and contribute to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (see below). Individual organisations can have an impact on these goals in a number of ways:
- Sustainable and ethical procurement practices
- Upholding equality within the organisation
- Implementing and maintaining Health and Safety and Environmental standards
- Supporting Environmental Initiatives (such as 1% for the Planet)
- Local social responsibility outreach initiatives
The UN Sustainability Goals are over-arching and require a high level of global co-operation and integration. The ISO standard provides guidance on how an individual organisation can contribute to these goals, with the aim of improving the quality of life for everyone.