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2014-05-08   Are we about to murder ISO 26000?

This is the title of an excellent article written by Paul Davies, Australia. It is a well-grounded pleading in favor of the flexibility needed to realize the practical social responsibility and, logically, why tendencies towards squeezing social responsibility into a requirements box like certification is all about “murdering ISO 26000”. It is an exciting and quick read
at http://banarra.com/news/article/are-we-about-to-murder-iso-26000 .

 

“We’re ISO 26000 Certified.”   Say What?!

Such a situation may occur in any country at any time…There are companies offering similar products and one wants to gain a competitive advantage by decorating itself with an ISO 26000 certificate. And this, in spite of the available knowledge that ISO 26000 is not certifiable.

Nazareth Seferian describes very well a situation happened in Armenia, where the press reported about an “ISO 26000 certificate” while the paper issued by an Austria CSR company was headlined “Confirmation”. No surprise that this “confirmation” contains all the elements of a certificate, is just a formality and does not explain any real social responsibility oriented actions. He rightly concludes:

While the jury is still out on the need for a certifiable social responsibility standard, the fact remains that ISO 26000 is not one. So the next time you hear about a company offering or receiving ISO 26000 certification or verification, remember to focus more on the company’s real actions in social responsibility and less on the specific “certificate” being flaunted.

Original source: Responsible Business, Issue 7, July - September 2013. You may download the full article here.

Nazareth Seferian is responsible for CSR and Philanthropy projects at Orange Armenia and is also the author of CSR Armenia (www.csrarmenia.com ), the first blog dedicated to CSR issues in Armenia.

 

International Standard Social Responsibility (Implementing ISO 26000 in Bangladesh)
The High Commission of Canada/Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported the bilingual publication of this excellent book elaborated by Reed consulting Bangladesh Ltd. It was first published in April 2013 and quickly needed a reprint after the first 5000 copies were in the hands of their users. See more at http://www.26k-estimation.com/html/good_iso_26000_examples.html#BangladeshISO26000 .

ISO 26001, a management system on social responsibility?
Perla Puterman is a well-qualified expert in ISO management systems standards like ISO 9001 on quality management and ISO 14001 on environmental management. She participated actively in the development process of ISO 26000, particularly engaged on the interests of developing countries.

Perla has written this article in view of the increasing debate on the possible need for an additional auditable and certifiable management system standard ISO 26001 on social responsibility. She deducts clearly that it would not be an efficient way to burden organizations with an additional management system. To the contrary, the need exists to integrate social responsibility aspects into existing management systems.

The full article "ISO 26001, a management system on social responsibility?" of only two pages can be downloaded in Word form and in PDF, both in English.
El articulo esta también disponible en Español en formato Word y PDF.

 

Different religions, different cultures and understandings show the limits of CSR/SR harmonization (not to speak about “standardization” in the sense of setting the same requirements):
How an 8 years old boy is punished in Iran. 2012-07

This is not to judge whether anything is good or bad, right or wrong; it is just a state that cultures are and will remain different. ISO 26000 is directed to organizations, not to individuals; however, the individuals are the ones who represent the organization. Organizations may have a culture but don’t have a religion, individuals have!

The photos tell the story, no further words are necessary.

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December 23, 2011; ISO 26000 Celebrates a Birthday
The social responsibility guidance is in generally good shape for a one-year-old international standard.
 
The leaders of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsible are Jorge E.R. Cajazeira, Kristina Sandberg, Eduardo Campos de São Thiago, Staffan Söderberg, and Sophie Clivio.
Roughly 10,000 copies of the guidance for organizations on social responsibility have been sold worldwide since the launch of the publication in November 2010. The price for ISO 26000 ranges from free (Israel) to more than $200 in several countries.
Leading the pack is France with more than 2,000 copies sold. Other top markets include Brazil (858) and Sweden (750), and the Netherlands 450.
The latest information about the status of the international social responsibility standard was collected from 66 member bodies of the International Organization for Standardization, including one corresponding member. The survey was developed by the post-publication organization (PPO), an unprecedented group of stakeholder advisors authorized by the ISO Central Secretariat to keep an eye on uses of the guidance document (see Advisory Network Chosen for ISO 26000, 25 January 2011). The PPO shared the results at its first face-to-face meeting in Rio de Janeiro in November 2011.
At least 40 countries have adopted ISO 26000 as their national standard and 13 more plan to do so. Sales are third highest after the ISO quality system management standard ISO 9001 and the risk management standard ISO 31000. ISO’s social responsibility section on the Web received 323,125 visits between 1 January and 15 October 2011. The activity is somewhat less than visits to the ISO 9001 section but more than visits to the ISO 14000 section on environmental management systems.
The standard is pointedly not allowed to be used by third-party registrars to certify that a company or institution has implemented it. But 30 out of the 65 ISO members completing the survey say they have or will develop national tools of some kind to support ISO 26000.
Eleven member bodies have social responsibility guidance documents, apart from ISO 26000. Eight of these contain requirements, meaning they are available for conformity assessment, which includes but would not be limited to certification.

      ISO 26000 Communication Protocol:
Organizations must choose their words carefully.
Good Wording                                    Not Allowed
Using/applying                                      Certified according to
Based on                                              Conformance with
Following the guidance implementing     Compliance with

Misuse of ISO 26000, however, is not widespread. The PPO received a dozen reports of possible violations. For example, Tourocert in Germany talks about “the requirements of ISO 26000” on its Web page, which is incorrect.
Ecocert, a certification body in France, offers validation of ISO 26000 by making the standard part of a sustainable management system. The standard is also put next to other certifiable management systems. Swiss TS and CWK-SCS Sinterthur issued certification against ISO 26000 before it was published. ISO Central Secretariat wrote a letter and the certificate was withdrawn. A rundown of the situation is found in a presentation made in Rio.

The Ecologia non-profit training organization has a handbook for small and medium-sized business to implement ISO 26000. Normapme, the association of European small businesses, also has a guide to understand and use ISO 26000.
For more information contact Kristina Sandberg, Secretariat of ISO 26000 Post Publication Organization, SIS, Swedish Standards Institute, SE-118 80 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 555 520 61; Fax: +46 8 555 520 04; E-mail: kristina.sandberg@sis.se. Carolyn Schmidt, Program Director, Ecologia, PO Box 268, Middlebury, VT 05743, USA. Tel: +1 802 623 8075; E-mail: cschmidt@ecologia.org.
Visit www.crosslandsbulletin.com © Victor House News, Co.

Reproduced with friendly permission of the author. The original crossland bulletin with a photo and active links is
here for download.
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The European Commission's final draft "A renewed EU strategy 2011 - 2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility"

This document is remarkable in many aspects:

· it urges enterprises with more than 1000 employees to voluntarily engage more in corporate social responsibility

· it takes into account the special role in situation of European SMEs (small and medium enterprises)

· it envisages regulation if a voluntary approach would not work properly.

There would be much more to say but better you read it yourself. The document can be downloaded.

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2011-10 This website’s appreciation, as expressed by SCC (US)
This is just to express our sincere thanks to SSC, on behalf of the 26k website team, for the appreciation of the website’s contents.
Yes, you folks at SCC are absolutely right, it is a tremendous lot of work and we put our energy into providing correct substance, less into the website’s beauty. The permanently increasing access rates are rewarding and encouragement to continue (more than 90,000 hits in September 2011, for October we will see more than hundred thousand).
The original information by SCC is available at http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/blog/2011/9/8/resources-walmart-suppliers-is-iso-26000-right-for-you.html . You may also wish to download it here directly.

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2011-09 Synergies between the new ISO Standard 26000 Guidance for social Responsibility and “the Earth Charter”
The "Earth Charter" has published a comparison of their own visions and proposals with the recommendations contained in ISO 26000. The full document comprises 16 pages and is a pleasure to read. Original source: http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/invent/images/uploads/ISO%2026000%20and%20EC%202011.pdf (2011-09-04). On the Earth Charter website is stated “A recently published article [this one here] details the synergies between the new ISO Standard 26000 Guidance for social Responsibility and the Earth Charter”. You may download this article also here.

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2011-06 VDMA Interview on CSR and ISO 26000: Trying to position ISO 26000 / Versuch einer Einordnung
The VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau - German Engineering Federation) is one of the key association service providers in Europe and offers the largest engineering industry network in Europe. VDMA-Nachrichten: The members’ magazine of VDMA. It has a circulation of 9000 and is issued exclusively each month to VDMA members. Its readers include the business partners, managing directors and extended management of the companies. VDMA-Nachrichten is only available in German. Source: http://www.vdma.org (2011-07-16)
This interview was published in the VDMA-Nachrichten in June 2011. The author thanks the VDMA for the permission to publish the German edition and this English translation (prepared by the author) on www.26k-estimation.com

Summarizing recommendations to VDMA member companies:
- Stay cool-headed.
- Occupy yourself constructively with the ideas contained in ISO 26000.
- Judge the relevance of its recommendations in your sole responsibility.
- Compare the ISO 26000 with other standards, guidance documents or guidelines, particularly with business sector codes.
- Use your business report to inform on your own contributions to societal development.
- Oppose any certification.
- Refuse any use of the guidance document in contracts or governmental regulations.

The full article can e downloaded as PDF file in German and English.

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2011-04 German position paper on non-certification of ISO 26000, of 2010-12
There is the joint position paper of the involved ministries of German government, the Confederation of German employer associations , the Confederation of German industry associations (caring for industry as a whole), the German chamber of industry and commerce (caring for small and medium enterprises), and the German crafts Association. http://www.arbeitgeber.de/www/arbeitgeber.nsf/res/Stn-spitzenverb-iso26000-eng.pdf/$file/Stn-spitzenverb-iso26000-eng.pdf

The second but last paragraph articulates the joint action: “In concert with parties involved in the standardisation process, the German government will therefore approach the institutions involved in the certification process in Germany and have them inform the public about the misleading nature of the term "certification pursuant to ISO 26000". To this end, they support the use of the following clarification on DIN’s website www.sr.din.de:
This International Standard 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 this International Standard. As this International Standard does not contain requirements, any such certification would not be a demonstration of conformity with this International Standard.”

This DIN statement is the exact copy from the relevant ISO 26000 paragraph.

Interpretation:

· there will hardly be any appreciation of an ISO 26000 certificate in Germany

· issued ISO 26000 certificates will be rather considered as hiding something than practising real CSR

· there is hardly any business ground for a CSR certification in Germany.

Encouragement: I would like to encourage you as reader from other countries to strive for a similar joint position paper of government and industry in your country (de facto this position paper addresses also all other types of organisations). The text does not contain any Copyright clause and may easily be used for your purposes. You may download it also here.

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2011-03 ISO 26000’s certification problems USCIB’s Adam Greene says that ISO’s member organisations are creating further confusion around the 26000 standard http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=7296

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2011-02 APPLICABILITY ISO 26000 applicability; ISO 26000 Anwendbarkeit, von Guido Gürtler
also published in the Triple Bottom Line specialized CSR journal of Pakistan at http://www.tbl.com.pk/iso-26000-applicability/
In brief: Societies in this world differ and want to keep these differences. A socially responsible behaviour needs to take the
dynamics and changing local demands into account and challenges creativity to undertake the most effective actions.
Certification to social responsibility is counter-productive. ISO 26000 is a good approach in offering core subjects and issues, however its use is limited by five main problems. Encouragement is expressed to make use of ISO 26000, gain
relevant experiences and contribute to its first revision in 2013.

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2011-01 Terms Blurred for Social Responsibility Standard
Companies proudly declare conformance with ISO 26000, but how they do that runs the risk of misrepresentation. Crosslands Bulletin January 2011, by William d’Allessandro

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2011-01 ETHICSWATCH: Analysis: ISO 26000 - Certification denied
Rogue certification of the new sustainability standards has become a challenge for ISO,
by Paul Hohnen;
Original source: http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?contentid=7265 (2011-02-06)
for download here is the article as Word document.

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2010-11 ISO Press release It's crystal clear. No certification to ISO 26000 guidance standard on social responsibility, available at http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1378

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