talk to an expert

ISO 26000: Social Responsibility


4.3 star
4.3 star
Trust Pilot Logo
4.5 star
Mouth Shut Logo

ISO 26000 Social Responsibility is an international standard that defines social responsibility as a set of principles, practices and processes that organisations should follow when interacting with their stakeholders.

ISO 26000: Social Responsibility

It is a voluntary standard that aims to improve corporate governance by helping companies understand what they are responsible for and how they can contribute to society. In order to comply with ISO 26000, organisations must develop a strategy to implement the standards and ensure they are being followed.

Objectives of ISO 26000

Data security has become the number one priority in today's world as we are marching rapidly towards digitalisation. Data theft and privacy issues have recently played critical roles in corporate fraud worldwide. The ISO 27001 certification was issued in 2013. It aims to improve a company's information system management by making it more secure, trustworthy and reliable.

ISO 27001 has a six-point plan based on a checklist of good compliances, which includes:

  • The ISO 26000 standard helps the organisation address social responsibilities concerning societal, cultural, environmental and economic development conditions
  • Offer a practical guide to the organisation on effective implementation of the principle of social responsibility
  • These standards help find and engage stakeholders and improve the reliability of the reports and claims on social responsibility
  • It enhances the confidence and overall satisfaction of the consumer and stakeholders
  • It improves the performance of the organisation
  • To contribute toward sustainable development transparently and ethically
  • To assist the organisation, irrespective of the type and size, in addressing social responsibility
  • It promotes company accountability, reports credibility and enhances the performance in the market operations.

Who Should Use ISO 26000?

Organisations use ISO 26000 in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, whether large or small and whether located in developed or developing countries. All of the core topics of social responsibility are relevant to every organisation somehow.

Organisations will benefit from identifying which issues are most relevant and significant for them by examining their own considerations and dialogue with stakeholders. The core subjects cover a wide range of issues.

What Does ISO 26000 Accomplish?

ISO 26000 intends to:

  • Assist organisations in meeting their social obligations while taking into account cultural, societal, environmental and legal differences and economic development conditions
  • Give practical advice on how to make social responsibility a reality
  • Assist in identifying and engaging stakeholders and improving the credibility of social responsibility reports and claims
  • Performance results and improvement should be prioritised
  • Increase customer and other stakeholders' trust and satisfaction in organisations
  • Ensure compatibility with existing documents, international treaties and conventions and ISO standards
  • Encourage the use of common terminology in the field of social responsibility
  • Increase public awareness of social responsibility

This standard is not intended to limit the government's ability to address organisations' social responsibility.

Core Subjects of Social Responsibility

The ISO 26000 standard defines the fundamental topics of social responsibility. Core subjects include various issues, but each organisation's responsibility is to identify which relevant and significant issues to their stakeholders and/or need to be addressed.

Clause 6 of the ISO 26000 standard explains the seven core subjects. They are listed below and the subclause numbers that apply to them.

Core subject: Organisational governance, sub-clause 6.2:

Decisions must be made while keeping societal expectations in mind. Accountability, transparency, ethics and stakeholders should all be considered in the organisation's decision-making process.

Core subject: Human rights, subclause 6.3:

All humans have the right to be treated fairly and to be free of discrimination, torture and exploitation.

  • 6.3.3 Due diligence
  • 6.3.4 Human rights risk situations
  • 6.3.5 Avoidance of complicity
  • 6.3.6 Resolving grievances
  • 6.3.7 Discrimination and vulnerable groups
  • 6.3.8 Civil and political rights
  • 6.3.9 Economic, social and cultural rights
  • 6.3.10 Fundamental principles and rights at work

Core subject: Labour practices, subclause 6.4:

Those who work for the organisation are not a commodity. The objective is to prevent unfair competition based on exploitation and abuse.

  • 6.4.3 Employment and employment relationships
  • 6.4.4 Conditions of work and social protection
  • 6.4.5 Social dialogue
  • 6.4.6 Health and safety at work
  • 6.4.7 Human development and training in the workplace

Core subject: Environment, subclause 6.5:

The organisation is responsible for reducing and eliminating unsustainable production and consumption volumes and patterns and ensuring that resource consumption per person becomes sustainable.

  • 6.5.3 Prevention of pollution
  • 6.5.4 Sustainable resource use
  • 6.5.5 Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • 6.5.6 Protection of the environment, biodiversity and restoration of natural habitats

Core subject: Fair operating practices, subclause 6.6:

The organisation is responsible for reducing and eliminating unsustainable production and consumption volumes and patterns and ensuring that resource consumption per person becomes sustainable.

  • 6.6.3 Anti-corruption
  • 6.6.4 Responsible political involvement
  • 6.6.5 Fair competition
  • 6.6.6 Promoting social responsibility in the value chain
  • 6.6.7 Respect for property rights

Core subject: Consumer issues, subclause 6.7:

The organisation is responsible for promoting just, sustainable and equitable economic and social development in terms of consumer health, safety and access.

  • 6.7.3 Fair marketing, factual and unbiased information and fair contractual practices
  • 6.7.4 Protecting consumers' health and safety
  • 6.7.5 Sustainable consumption
  • 6.7.6 Consumer service, support and complaint and dispute resolution
  • 6.7.7 Consumer data protection and privacy
  • 6.7.8 Access to essential services

Core subject: Community involvement and development, subclause 6.8

The organisation should be involved in creating long-term social structures that allow for increasing levels of education and well-being.

  • 6.8.3 Community involvement
  • 6.8.4 Education and culture
  • 6.8.5 Employment creation and skills development
  • 6.8.6 Technology development and access
  • 6.8.7 Wealth and income creation
  • 6.8.8 Health

What Is Social Responsibility Reporting?

ISO 26000: Guidance on social responsibility recommends that users report on their social responsibility performance to the stakeholders affected at appropriate intervals. According to the standard, the report should include:

  • Information on the core subjects and relevant social responsibility issues, including objectives and performance
  • When and how were stakeholders involved in the reporting process?
  • A balanced and comprehensive picture of performance, including accomplishments and flaws, as well as how deficiencies will be addressed