The CSA Group recently published the first edition of CAN/CSA-ISO 26000:16, Guidance on Social Responsibility. The standard, which is the Canadian-adopted version of the international standard, provides guidance on how organizations can operate in a socially responsible way that contributes to sustainable development by reducing harmful environmental, social and economic impacts.
ISO 26000 offers recommendations on how to structure, evaluate and improve social responsibility, including stakeholder relationships and community impacts. It also provides organizations with a set of societal expectations of what constitutes responsible behaviour, based on authoritative international instruments and best practices.
The standard provides flexible guidance to all types of organizations, regardless of their size or location, on:
- Concepts, terms and definitions related to social responsibility;
- The background, trends and characteristics of social responsibility;
- Principles and practices relating to social responsibility;
- The core subjects and issues of social responsibility;
- Integrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behaviour throughout the organization and, through its policies and practices, within its sphere of influence;
- Identifying and engaging with stakeholders; and
- Communicating commitments, performance and other information related to social responsibility.
Following ISO 26000 can help companies:
- Demonstrate a commitment to continual improvement
- Attract like-minded partners, investors, customers and staff
- Identify new opportunities and manage and reduce risk.
ISO 26000 is intended to encourage organizations to go beyond legal compliance, recognizing that compliance with law is a fundamental duty of any organization and an essential part of their social responsibility. It’s also intended to complement other instruments and initiatives for social responsibility—not to replace them. It’s important to note that ISO 26000 is not a management system standard and it isn’t intended or appropriate for certification purposes, or regulatory or contractual use.
Learn about three steps you can take to develop an effective social responsibility framework for your company, including a checklist to assess the gaps in its current social responsibility performance.