Social responsibility future Standard one step closer

The future Standard for Guidance on social responsibility ISO 26000 has just passed an important milestone with confirmation that support by ISO's national members and by participating liaison organisations is strong enough for it to progress to a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS).

ISO 26000 will provide globally relevant guidance to encourage the implementation of social responsibility worldwide. The guidance in ISO 26000 draws on best practice developed by existing public and private sector social responsibility initiatives.

In mid-February, ISO's National Standards Body (NSB) members voted in favour of moving the Draft International Standard version to FDIS status. However, to assess support from the 42 international liaison organisations participating in the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility (ISO/WG SR), the group's leadership reviewed the views and comments of these organisations before formally proceeding to FDIS.

The group's 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, including New Zealand, and 42 liaison organisations.

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

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

With this decision now formally confirmed, the ISO/WG SR will next focus on addressing the 2650 comments received during the course of the vote from ISO members and liaison organisations to increase the level of consensus and the quality of the document even further.

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. A new revised document will be finalised based on the agreements reached in Copenhagen. The document will then be circulated as an FDIS for a 2-month ballot and, if approved on the FDIS vote, ISO 26000 could be published as an international Standard by the end of this year.

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Published in international.