Corporate Social Responsibility

ISO entered the CSR arena in 2002 by forming a strategic advisory group to consider whether ISO should develop a CSR standard. ISO declared that its initiative would focus on “social responsibility” — CSR without the “C” — as a signal that the ISO 26000 guidance will address the social responsibility of all organizations, not just business corporations. ISO’s stated objective for its new guidance standard is to provide practical guidance related to operationalizing social responsibility, identifying and engaging with stakeholders, and enhancing the credibility of reports and claims made about social responsibility. The ISO 26000 standard is not intended to be a management systems standard in the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” mode. Rather, organizations are expected to use existing management systems to implement their SR programs. It is not intended to be a certification standard like ISO 14001, i.e., there will be no third party registration/certification (see above) — it is a guidance standard only. Finally, the drafters did not set out to create a set of social obligations or expectations of the type properly defined by governments. ISO 26000 was released as an international standard in late 2010.

Ira Feldman in “Ecosystem Services and ISO Standards”