For businesses and organizations committed to operating in a socially responsible way, there’s ISO 26000. It provides guidance to those who recognize that respect for society and environment is a critical success factor. As well as being the “right thing” to do, application of ISO 26000 is increasingly viewed as a way of assessing an organization’s commitment to sustainability and its overall performance.
ISO 26000:2010 is intended to assist organizations in contributing to sustainable development. It is intended to encourage them 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 is intended to promote common understanding in the field of social responsibility, and to complement other instruments and initiatives for social responsibility, not to replace them. In applying ISO 26000:2010, it is advisable that an organization take into consideration societal, environmental, legal, cultural, political and organizational diversity, as well as differences in economic conditions, while being consistent with international norms of behaviour. ISO 26000:2010 is not a management system standard. It is not intended or appropriate for certification purposes or regulatory or contractual use. Any offer to certify, or claims to be certified, to ISO 26000 would be a misrepresentation of the intent and purpose and a misuse of ISO 26000:2010. As ISO 26000:2010 does not contain requirements, any such certification would not be a demonstration of conformity with ISO 26000:2010.
ISO 26000:2010 is intended to provide organizations with guidance concerning social responsibility and can be used as part of public policy activities. However, for the purposes of the Marrakech Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO), it is not intended to be interpreted as an “international standard”, “guideline” or “recommendation”, nor is it intended to provide a basis for any presumption or finding that a measure is consistent with WTO obligations. Further, it is not intended to provide a basis for legal actions, complaints, defences or other claims in any international, domestic or other proceeding, nor is it intended to be cited as evidence of the evolution of customary international law. ISO 26000:2010 is not intended to prevent the development of national standards that are more specific, more demanding, or of a different type.