ISO’s series of executive summaries on high profile aspects of its work has a new addition – on the future ISO 26000 standard providing voluntary guidance on social responsibility (SR).

ISO and social responsibility, which is available free of charge on ISO’s Web site and as a four-page brochure, joins similar documents: ISO in brief, ISO and the consumer and ISO and conformity assessment.

ISO and social responsibility points out that ISO 26000 will:

  • be for organizations of all types in both public and private sectors, in developed and developing countries;
  • add value to SR existing work by:
    • developing an international consensus on what SR means and the SR issues that organizations need to address,
    • providing guidelines on translating principles into effective actions, and
    • distilling the best practice that has already evolved and disseminating it worldwide for the good of the international community.

26000 will provide guidelines, not requirements and will not, therefore, be for use as a certification standard like ISO 9001:2000 (quality management) and ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management).

The brochure conveys the essentials of ISO 26000 – which is targeted for publication in late 2008 – by giving answers to the basic questions: Why is it important? What will it contain? How will it relate to existing good work? How did the initiative come about? Who is developing ISO 26000?

It concludes: “ISO 26000 will be a distillation of international expertise on social responsibility – what it means, what issues an organization needs to address in order to operate in socially responsible, and what is best practice in implementing SR.


ISO 26000 will be a powerful SR tool to assist organizations to move from good intentions to good actions.”