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Ethical business: protecting our planetand the people on itA consumer’s guide to the social responsibility standard - ISO ...
Be accountable                                                     Respect the law and international norms of behaviourThe...
Frequently asked questions  Q. Who or what is ISO?                                             Q. If an organization doesn...
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BSI Ethical business: protecting our planet and the people on it Brochure - A consumer’s guide to the social responsibility standard - ISO 26000:2010 -

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Ethical business: protecting our planetand the people on it

A consumer’s guide to the social responsibility standard - ISO 26000:2010

The globalization of business has broken down international barriers and made the world seem a smaller place. And advances in media technology have made it easier for us to find out what’s going on in different parts of the world –from environmental disasters and unethical practices such as child labour, to dangerous working conditions and corruption. This knowledge has made many of us think not only about what we buy but how the goods and services we buy are produced.

Of course, cost, quality and customer service are still important, but more consumers are now interested in a company’s ethics and principles too. During the last 10 years UK spending on ethical goods, such as fair trade food, energy-efficient household goods and ethical financial services, has trebled. This increasing awareness has put pressure on all types of organizations to behave in a more socially responsible way, as they realise that the way they act is important to consumers and can benefit their organization in the long run. In a nutshell, a socially responsible organization is one that runs itself in a way that respects our planet and the people on it. It can achieve this by:
• Protecting human rights• Treating workers fairly• Avoiding discrimination• Respecting the environment• Protecting consumers and• Helping to improve the local communities that it works in.

But if an organization wants to start being socially responsible, or improve the way that it operates, how does it know whereto start and what to do? That’s where ISO 26000 can help.

ISO 26000 – The basics

The standard was developed and published by ISO – the international standards body of which the UK standards body (BSI) is a member. ISO 26000 can be used by all types of organizations all over the world, regardless of their size or activity. For example, it might be used by private businesses, government agencies and departments as well as charities or voluntary organizations. ISO 26000 gives detailed guidance for organizations on how to become more socially responsible and integrate socially responsible behaviour into all levels of their business. It sets out society’s basic expectations for social and environmental performance and gives practical advice on how to achieve these. The standard simplifies things for everyone by giving common definitions, working practices and methods of evaluation.

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BSI Ethical business: protecting our planet and the people on it Brochure - A consumer’s guide to the social responsibility standard - ISO 26000:2010 -

  1. 1. Ethical business: protecting ourplanet and the people on it www.bsigroup.com/ConsumerStandardsraising standards worldwide™
  2. 2. Ethical business: protecting our planetand the people on itA consumer’s guide to the social responsibility standard - ISO 26000:2010The globalization of business has broken down international barriers and made theworld seem a smaller place. And advances in media technology have made it easierfor us to find out what’s going on in different parts of the world – fromenvironmental disasters and unethical practices such as child labour, to dangerousworking conditions and corruption. This knowledge has made many of us think notonly about what we buy but how the goods and services we buy are produced.Of course, cost, quality and customer service are still important, In summary, organizations following the standard should:but more consumers are now interested in a company’s ethics • Do everything they can to contribute to sustainableand principles too. During the last 10 years UK spending on development.ethical goods, such as fairtrade food, energy-efficienthousehold goods and ethical financial services, has trebled. • Be open and honest about their actions and take responsibility for any problems.This increasing awareness has put pressure on all types of • Act ethically at all times and do their best to makeorganizations to behave in a more socially responsible way, a positive impact on the environment and the peopleas they realise that the way they act is important to consumers around them.and can benefit their organization in the long run. A wide range of people worked together to developIn a nutshell, a socially responsible organization is one that the ISO standard for Social Responsibility includingruns itself in a way that respects our planet and the people consumers and representatives from government,on it. It can achieve this by: industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour groups, service providers, research organizations• Protecting human rights and others.• Treating workers fairly• Avoiding discrimination ISO 26000 – The details• Respecting the environment The standard is voluntary, but an organization that chooses• Protecting consumers and to use it should:• Helping to improve the local communities that it works in. Clearly define social responsibilityBut if an organization wants to start being socially responsible, Identify key issues and priorities to address withinor improve the way that it operates, how does it know where the seven core subjects:to start and what to do? That’s where ISO 26000 can help. • Organizational governance; human rights; labour practices; the environment; fair operating practices; consumer issues; and community involvement and development.ISO 26000 – The basicsThe standard was developed and published by ISO – Think about its impact on othersthe international standards body of which the UK standards • Consider how its decisions and activities affect all of itsbody (BSI) is a member. ISO 26000 can be used by all types ‘stakeholders’ (individuals or groups that have an interestof organizations all over the world, regardless of their size in the decisions or activities of an organization).or activity. For example, it might be used by private businesses,government agencies and departments as well as charities Be transparentor voluntary organizations. • Give full, clear information about its policies, decisionsISO 26000 gives detailed guidance for organizations and activities, including their actual and potential impacton how to become more socially responsible and integrate on society and the environment.socially responsible behaviour into all levels of their business. • This information should be readily available, accessibleIt sets out society’s basic expectations for social and and understandable to those who have been, or may be,environmental performance and gives practical advice affected by the organization.on how to achieve these. The standard simplifies thingsfor everyone by giving common definitions, workingpractices and methods of evaluation.
  3. 3. Be accountable Respect the law and international norms of behaviourThe management of the organization must: • Understand and abide by the law, such as equality laws,• Be accountable for the overall impact of its decisions wherever it operates. Laws may not be enforced in some and activities on society and the environment. parts of the world so organizations should take responsibility for finding out about relevant legislation and sticking to it.• Be answerable to those people affected by its decisions and activities. • Respect ‘international norms of behaviour’. It can be difficult to know what is acceptable, and this may differ• Accept responsibility where something has gone wrong, from country to country, but organizations should do all take the appropriate steps to put things right and take they can to find out what is expected, ‘normal’ or widely action to prevent it from happening again. accepted socially responsible behaviour in the countries they work in and then respect those ‘norms’.Behave ethically • Avoid working with, or supporting, other organizations• Identify and actively promote its ethical values. that do not respect the law or international norms• Clearly communicate its ethical values to all staff, suppliers of behaviour. and other ‘stakeholders’ (individuals or groups working with or affected by the organization). Respect human rights• Have procedures in place to monitor, support and enforce • Respect and, where possible, promote the rights set out ethical behaviour. in the International Bill of Human Rights. This includes eliminating racial and gender discrimination, protecting• Have procedures in place to deal with unethical behaviour. children and the rights of people with disabilities. USEFUL INFORMATION British Standards Institution (BSI) – 020 8996 9001 – www.bsigroup.com Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – 0845 604 6610 www.equalityhumanrights.com International Standards Organization (ISO) – www.iso.org/iso/social_responsibility
  4. 4. Frequently asked questions Q. Who or what is ISO? Q. If an organization doesn’t follow the standard, is it breaking the law? A. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a non-governmental organization that develops A. No, it is not a legal requirement to follow the standard. and publishes standards to help meet the needs of The standard provides voluntary guidance to help businesses and society. The British Standards Institution organizations that wish to run their business in a more (BSI) is the UK member of ISO and worked with ISO socially responsible way. to develop the standard on Social Responsibility. Q. Where possible I’d prefer to buy from/ deal with Q. Who or what is BSI? organizations that are signed up to this standard. How will I know who is signed up and who isn’t? A. The British Standards Institution (BSI) has been developing standards for over 100 years to make A. Organisations using ISO 26000 are likely to be open products and services safer for consumers. Standards about their use of the standard and communicate this set out good practice and guidelines for organizations to the public in company literature – such as their Social to follow. Responsibility policies and annual reports. These are usually available on websites or you could contact the Q. Why is it called SR (social responsibility) rather company directly to make enquiries. than CSR (corporate social responsibility)? Q. Where can I get a copy of ISO 26000? A. Traditionally CSR was seen to apply only to big businesses or corporations. SR adopts similar A. Your local public library should be able to give you access principles but is wider in scope and can apply to a reference copy, or you can purchase a copy from to groups or organizations of any size or type, BSI, either as a printed document or in electronic form such as government and charities as well as (PDF format), see www.bsigroup.com. private companies. Some of the documents used in the development Q. Do all organizations have to comply with of the standard are publicly available on the ISO website. the standard? http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/management_ A. No, the standard is voluntary so not all organizations and_leadership_standards/social_responsibility/sr_ choose to follow it. background_archives.htmBSI Group Headquarters389 Chiswick High Road London W4 4AL UKTel +44 (0)20 8996 9001Fax +44 (0)20 8996 7001www.bsigroup.com© BSI copyright 2011raising standards worldwide™

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