The leadership of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility (ISO/WG SR) is now analyzing the results of a positive vote on the Draft International Standard (DIS) version of ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility, before taking a decision on whether or not the document should now progress to the status of Final Draft International Standard (FDIS).

The vote, by national standards bodies (NSBs) which are members of ISO, closed on 14 February. More than two thirds of the ISO members participating in the development of ISO 26000 – known as "P-members" – voted in favour of moving the document to the FDIS stage, and less than one quarter of the total number of ISO member bodies (including members not participating in the ISO/WG SR) were against. These are the two numerical criteria laid down by the ISO/IEC Directives for consensus acceptance of a DIS.

However, before drawing final conclusions, the ISO/WG SR leadership will analyze the result further, including the comments received from ISO members and from organizations with liaison status to the working group. These liaison organizations are associations representing business, consumers or labour, and include both inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. They do not have voting rights, but can participate in developing ISO 26000 and comment on the document.

The voting results and comments are being analyzed, and a final decision is expected end of February.  

If the decision is positive, the document will then be published with any modifications agreed on as an FDIS in the third or fourth quarter of 2010. The text of the FDIS cannot be prepared before the next meeting of the ISO/WG SR in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2010. The official target date for publication of ISO 26000 as an ISO International Standard is by the end of 2010, but the schedule is rather tight and it may be necessary to revisit this date at the Copenhagen meeting.

ISO 26000 will provide harmonized, globally relevant guidance based on international consensus among expert representatives of the main stakeholder groups and so encourage the implementation of best practice in social responsibility worldwide. The guidance in ISO 26000 draws on best practice developed by existing public and private sector SR initiatives.

The ISO/WG SR is made up of experts from ISO members (NSBs) and from liaison organizations. Membership is limited to a maximum of six experts per NSB and two experts per liaison organisation.  In total, the group comprises 436 participating experts and 195 observers from 94 ISO member countries and 42 liaison organizations.

  • For more information on ISO 26000 and the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility, see the dedicated Website: www.iso.org/sr. This Website includes documents giving the background to ISO’s SR initiative, documents and press releases on the progress of the work and how it is being carried out, the membership and structure of the ISO WG SR, how to participate in the development of ISO 26000, a newsletter, development timeframe, FAQs, contacts and other information. Many are available in several languages.
  • Working documents including the DIS can be accessed at: www.iso.org/wgsr