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ISO 26000, now under development, is an International Standard giving guidance on Social Responsibility (SR).  It is intended for use by organizations of all types in both public and private sectors and in developing and developed countries. It will assist organisations in their efforts to operate in the socially responsible manner that society increasingly demands. ISO 26000 contains voluntary guidance, not requirements and therefore will not be for use as a certification standard like ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004.


In January 2005 ISO obtained approval from its members, the National Standards Bodies (NSB’s) ,on a New Work Item Proposal (NWIP), which was to develop a guidance standard of Social Responsibility.  Since then work on the development of the standard has continued and ISO 26000 is currently at Draft Standard [DIS] stage. 


Content of the standard:

The scope of ISO DIS 26000 states that the standard provides guidance to all types of organisation, regardless of their size or location on:
  • Concepts, terms and definitions related to SR;
  • The background, trends and characteristics of SR;
  • Principles and practices relating to SR;
  • Core subjects and issues relating to SR:
  • Intergrating, implementing and promoting socially responsible behaviour throughout the organization and through its policies and practices related to its sphere of influence;
  • Identifying and engaging with stakeholders;
  • Communicating commitments and performance related to SR.


The main sections of the standard include:

  • Scope
  • Terms, definitions and abbreviated terms
  • Understanding social responsibility
  • Principles of social responsibility
  • Recognising social responsibility and engaging stakeholders
  • Guidance on social responsibility core subjects
  • Guidance on integrating social responsibility throughout an organisation.



Stakeholders involved in the development of ISO 26000

In the development of ISO 26000, ISO has stressed the importance of inputs from all stakeholders and has identified six main categories which include:

Consumer, Government, Industry, Labour, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO's), and Service Support Research & Others (SSRO).  For more information and guidance on the Key stakeholder categories including definitions see ISO TMB/WGSR N048rev 1
  Moreover ISO TMB/WGSR has issued guidance to NSB’s on submitting comments to the ISO SR working group and on ensuring input from the key stakeholders at a national level – see ISO TMB/WGSR N131- Operating procedure providing guidance on national input to WGSR.
  The latest version of the standard, ISO DIS 26000 was circulated to NSB’s for comment until the 14th February 2010.  The final draft of the standard, ISO FDIS 26000, is expected to be circulated to NSB's for a two month commenting period in July 2010.  The published version of the standard is expected by the nd of 2010.


NSAI national mirror committee

NSAI has established a national mirror committee to monitor the development of ISO 26000.  This committee will review the current draft and advise NSAI on the voting and comments that should be submitted to the ISO WG/SR. The NSAI committee will operate under ISO TMB/WGSR N131. 
  If your organisation is based in Ireland and you are interested in participating in the work of the NSAI CSR committee or would like to submit any comments please contact:
  Ms. Linda Hendy – Technical secretary NSAI CSR Committee
T: +353 1 807 3867
  For more information on the work of ISO TMB/WG/SR visit the ISO Website