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ISO to Develop Social Responsibility Standard


On June 21-22, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) held a major conference on corporate social responsibility (SR) in Stockholm. The purpose of the conference was to provide feedback to the ISO on whether or not to develop international standards for addressing the social responsibility of organizations worldwide.

The ISO SR conference, hosted by the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS), gathered 355 participants from 66 countries, including 33 developing countries, including representatives from business, government, labour, consumer groups, as well as international and nongovernmental organizations.

Representing the United Nations Global Compact, Khaled Abu Osbeh delivered the keynote address to the meeting: “There are literally hundreds of voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives,” he said. “If CSR is to become a truly global force that transcends narrow national or group-specific interests, then there is a need to align CSR initiatives with robust and universally recognized principles.”
Mr. Abu Osbeh continued by saying: "It is the Global Compact Office’s hope that CSR initiatives will ultimately converge and reinforce one another around universal principles and values, like those of the Global Compact. ISO can be a key force in helping to bring about this vision.”
The conference set the stage for a meeting held later that same week in which ISO management voted in favor of developing an International Standard on Social Responsibility. To develop the SR standard, ISO will set up a new working group answering directly to ISO's Technical Management Board. A task force has been formed to propose the terms of reference and operating processes for the working group and will submit them at the board’s next meeting in September 2004. The objective is to produce a guidance document written in plain language which is understandable and usable by non-specialists and not intended for use in certification.

Please visit the ISO SR website for more information.