Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility


ISO 26000

In 2010 the international standard ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility, was launched. It states that businesses and organizations do not operate in a vacuum. Their aims and objectives should therefore be the same as those in the wider society.

While other standards have a strict protocol, to which the organisation must comply (e.g. BS 9,001 and 14,001,) this standard is a looser concept, where environmental aims and good business procedures are established while allowing organizations to operate flexibly but effectively. It requires organisations bearing this label to act in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society.

More recently, the “One Planet Prosperity” standard has been introduced by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). This replicates ISO 26000, but gives a more meaningful name that may resonate more with consumers.

Highlighting companies which accord to ISO 26000 and One Planet Prosperity

While badges or claims that show companies accord with either of these two standards are good, they may not be noticed by customers carrying out Google searches for products to buy. One way of identifying these complying companies would be to allow them to use a modified website address. If the company is or, on receipt of ISO 26000 or OPP, they could be allowed to use or sportclothes.ecom. How this would be enacted is the question.

Environmental statement

The company or organisation produces an environmental statement outlining their aims for minimising energy use, reducing packaging, improved separation of recyclables, better employee management communication, and so on. They then institute a series of reviews of procedures to make the changes necessary to meet the new protocols.

Benefits to the company and society at large

Several benefits arise from this approach. The company aligns itself with the aims of society in minimising environmental damage and in becoming a good employer. It also positions itself as a business worthy of ethical investment. There is in addition a feelgood factor by customers, suppliers and staff members. While the lack of a strict “tickbox” protocol may be viewed as a licence to cheat, if the aims and objectives are well advertised, both internally and externally, this will encourage adherence to the stated aims.

Recent take up of ISO 26000

Agrico UK Limited, Seed potato company, Castleton of Eassie, Glamis, By Forfar, Angus, Scotland, DD8 1SJ, a subsidiary of Dutch potato cooperative Agrico Holland, has just completed it ISO 26000 Social Responsibility assessment. They have produced a 36-page document describing their assessment. This illustrates what a relatively small, forward looking business can do.