In mid-February, ISO's national standards body (NSB) members voted in favour of moving the Draft International Standard (DIS) version to FDIS status. However, in order to also assess support from the 42 international liaison organizations participating in the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility (ISO/WG SR), its leadership reviewed the views and comments of these organizations before formally proceeding to FDIS.

The liaison organizations include associations representing business, civil society NGOs, consumers or labour, and include groupings of both inter-governmental and non-governmental origin. They do not have voting rights, but have actively and directly participated in developing ISO 26000 and commenting on the document.

Following the positive mid-February vote, the leaders of the ISO/WG SR have concluded that there is the requisite support for registering the current document as ISO/FDIS 26000.

With this decision now formally confirmed, the ISO/WG SR will next focus on addressing the 2 650 comments received during the course of the vote from ISO members and liaison organizations in order to increase the level of consensus and the quality of the document even further.

With this objective in mind, the group's drafting task force will look into all comments received and prepare proposed ways forward on key topics identified for discussion among the ISO/WG SR experts at its next meeting to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2010.

After the meeting, a new revised document will be finalized based on the agreements reached in Copenhagen. This document will be circulated as an FDIS for a two-month ballot and, if approved on the FDIS vote, ISO 26000 could be published as an International Standard by the end of this year.

Announcing its decision and the path forward to the members of the ISO/WG SR, its leadership declared: "We take this opportunity to thank you all for the valuable comments submitted, and also to re-emphasize our expectation that all comments received will be given fair and equitable treatment in Copenhagen in order to further enhance consensus. By this we mean all comments, whether they were submitted by NSBs voting affirmative or negative, or whether they were submitted byliaison organizations."

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 social responsibility worldwide. The guidance in ISO 26000 draws on best practice developed by existing public and private sector SR initiatives and is intended to be useful to organizations large and small in both these sectors.

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 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. A compilation of the comments received on the DIS is being added to this site.