International Standardization Body Issues Guide on Socially Responsible Practices

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The International Organization for Standardization Nov. 1 announced a voluntary standard that provides companies with internationally recognized best practices to integrate socially responsible actions into their core operations.

The ISO 26000:2010 Guidance on Social Responsibility was designed for use in the public and private sectors in both industrialized and developing countries. ISO said the guidance is a strictly voluntary standard “not intended or appropriate for certification purposes or regulatory” compliance, in contrast with other ISO standards that often are incorporated into government regulations such as safety and health.

The standard was designed to help companies respond to increasing consumer and government pressure for companies to address sustainability and social responsibility in their corporate activities, ISO said in a written statement. The standard addresses seven core subjects for those corporate efforts: the environment, labor practices, human rights, community involvement and development, consumer issues, and fair operating practices.

Guidance on Social Responsibility includes definitions for what constitutes sustainable and socially responsible activities and details principles and practices for those activities. It also offers advice on how to integrate those efforts throughout a company's operations.

“Operating in a socially responsible manner is no longer an option. It is becoming a requirement of society worldwide,” ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele said in a prepared statement.

ISO, a global network of standards institutes from 163 countries that includes the U.S.-based American National Standards Institute, has been working on the standard since 2005.

By Dean Scott

More information on the ISO 26000:2010 Guidance on Social Responsibility is available at

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