The European Commission had organized a networking event on “Better CSR advice for European SMEs”, on 12 and 13 June 2012 in Berlin. The summary report is available online at . The ISO 26000 related part reads

“The fourth and final round of sessions included one on ISO 26000 for SMEs. Participants discussed the strengths and
weaknesses of ISO 26000, and identified recommendations for improving the standard. The hosts also offered tips and
recommendations for how advisors can best use the standard in their work with SMEs on CSR.”

The strengths and weaknesses are available at

The offered tips and recommendations on how best to use the ISO 26000 are now called the

“10 golden points to use ISO 26000”:

  1. Study the ISO 26000 document (some 100 pages, purchase it or get a copy from your chamber or local trade association; you will need the document only for a short time); study the “NORMAPME ISO 26000 user guide for European SMEs” (14 pages, freely available at NORMAPME is the European Office of Crafts, Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardization).
  2. Focus on ISO 26000 clause 4 “Principles” and make up your mind whether your SMEs adheres to/applies these principles (accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour, respect for: stakeholder interests, the rule of law, international norms of behaviour, and human rights)
  3. Focus on ISO 26000 clause 6 and its seven core subjects (organizational governance, human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, and community involvement and development) and analyze and identify the significance of the 37 issues to your SME
  4. For each of these ISO 26000 issues, find out your current answers to the following questions:
    Relevance: do you consider the issue relevant? The issue may be regulated and regulation prevails over standards.
    If not judged relevant analyze the next issue.
    Leverage: what leverage does your SME have on this issue, internally as well as in your relations with customers and suppliers?
    If your leverage is low, you may not consider this issue further and analyze the next issue.
    Activities: what kind of activities can your SMEs undertake on this issue?
    If you consider your SME too small to undertake activities, you may continue with the next issue.
    Applicable law: can you be sure that the activities you think of are in line with applicable law, in your country as well as in
    the country you are exporting to? If you’re not sure, you should further investigate the situation before continuing with
    this issue.
    Impact: what impact on society will your activities have?
    If your envisaged activities don’t have considerable impact, analyze the next issue.
    Stakeholder: finally you should consider which stakeholders you would like to involve.
    If there are no stakeholders affected by your envisaged activities you may reconsider whether these are worthwhile
    For systematically performing this analysis, you may use the 26k-issue-tool (available for free at, and referenced by IFAN, the International Federation of Standards Users at , and by NORMAPME at
  5. Engage in those ISO 26000 issues where all 6 questions have been answered positively, and specify your possible contributions to society.
  6. For realization, consider a co-operative approach with other SMEs, consult your chamber or trade association, as is proposed in the NORMAPME user guide.
  7. Communicate your engagement by this responsible self-analysis, in your company documentation, towards your customers and suppliers, on your website, or your trade associations’ website etc.
  8. Deny ISO 26000 related certification or assessment offers because ISO 26000 does not contain requirements that could be certified or assessed.
  9. In case your business partner requires an ISO 26000 certificate (you may be considered as part of their supply chain) offer instead your self-analysis and its accompanying documentation.
  10. Practice the exchange of experiences on the use of ISO 26000 with other SMEs, directly or via your trade association or chamber, as recommended by NORMAPME.

The 10 golden points can be downloaded here.

And: There is no evidence why these findings should not be beneficial to SMEs outside Europe.

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