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An updated overview of ISO/CD 26000

Reference to earlier blog: Thinking about CSR and the next step forward !

 

In my earlier blog I have referred to the Working Draft of the Guide for Social Responsibility. It has now become the Committee Draft, and hence this update.

In the next step it would be designated as DIS, that is Draft International Standard, after revisions, if any and then issued as IS, that is International Standard. In case of this Standard, it would be called Guide, it is said.

 

Studying the standard as it takes shape would enable an organization to be in the fore front and adopt it as soon as it gets released. The guide has already taken considerable time for its formulation due to extended consultations and as the social issues to be attended to are on the increase, it is considered that a quick adoption would be a fitting response from the corporate sector.

 

The update is posted in three parts, (a), (b) and (c) to make the reading less tedious!

 

The standard is formulated with the following contents:

1  Scope

2  Terms and definitions

3  Understanding social responsibility

4  Principles of social responsibility

5  Recognizing social responsibility and engaging stakeholders

6  Guidance on social responsibility core subjects

7  Guidance on integrating social responsibility throughout the organization

Annex A – Voluntary initiatives and tools for social responsibility

Annex B – Abbreviations

Bibliography

 

1 to 5 is educative;

6 and 7 is implementation guide;

Annex A is informative;

Annex B and Bibliography is for reference.

That is, 6 and 7 are the operative clauses and others serve as input.

 

First a keen study of the bibliography!

In the bibliography there are 125 references. This, in a way, is indicative of the topics covered in the Guide. Hence, I took up a study of the bibliography and attempting to share the findings with the community.

 

The referenced instruments are those published by:

International Labour Organization   – 66 references

United Nations                               – 36

OECD                                             –  6

IPCC                                              –  1

ISO                                                – 13

Others                                            –  3

 

The references range from those published in the year, as early as 1919 and as recent as 2007.

A partial listing of the topics is as follows: (Though it covers the most in the bibliography, it may be treated only as indicative and the original document must be referred for authentic list of the publications, please.)

 

Topics addressed by ILO referenced

 

Hours of work                             Weekly Rest                                Forced Labour 

 Hours of Work                             Holidays with pay                        Rights at Work

Protection of Wages                    Workers Right                              Remuneration

 Social Security                            Workers’ Health                    Welfare Facilities

Weekly Rest                                Communications                Grievances Handling

Minimum Wage                           Workers’ Representative              Minimum age

Educational Leave                       Human development                   Migrant workers

 Older Workers                             OH&S                           Family Responsibilities

Termination of Employment         Indigenous and Tribal people      Chemicals

Night Work                                  Workers’ Claims                      Part-Time work               

Private employment Agencies      Child Labour                               Maternity 

MNE and Social policy                  S&H in Agriculture            Relationship at work place

HIV/AIDS

 

OECD addressed topics referenced

 

Consumer Protection                                                       MNE and Social policy

Security of IS and Networks                               Trans-border Flows of Personal Data

Corporate Governance                                                      Consumer Protection

 

UN and UNEP addressed topics of concern referenced

 

Human Rights                                                  Treatment of Prisoners of War

Protection of Civilians in Time of War                  Racial Discrimination

Civil and Political Rights                                    Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Waterfowl Habitat                                             Discrimination against Women

Discrimination based on Religion or Belief           Inhuman Treatment

Our Common Future                                         Rights of Child

Civil and Political Rights                                    Migrant Workers

Minorities                                                        Environment and Development

Desertification                                                  Social Development

Climate Change                                               Consumer Protection

Child Labour                                                    Millennium Declaration

HIV/AIDS                                                        Sustainable Development

Cultural Heritage                                              Ecosystem

Rights of Persons with Disabilities                       Discrimination

Enforced Disappearance of Persons                    Corporate Governance

Global Environment                                          Indigenous and Tribal people

Endangered Species-Wild Flauna and Flora         Regional seas

Migratory Species- Wild Animals                        Ozone Layer

Hazardous Waste                                             Biological Diversity

Persistant Organic Pollutants(POPs)                    Hazardous chemicals

  

(The above list may almost serve as a check list for an initial review as to know where an organization stands.

These topics have potential to influence the well being of many people. All topics would not be applicable to all; but if every organization takes up those topics that are relevant to them all the topics could be covered.)

 

A study of these topics indicate that the topics of concern include

           – composite subjects like Sustainable Development to

           – specific topic such as Maternity, Child Labour, Migrant workers and so on.

 

It is noticed that there are subjects which has relevance

          – internally to an organization and

          – external to the organization.

An organization may choose to first fulfill internal needs to the maximum and move outwards subsequently or move in both directions simultaneously.

 

Similarly, there are issues related to gender equality; for people in the organized sector and people in unorganized sector; those regarding young employees and old; those for the present and those focusing on future.

It is all up to the organization to make the choice.

 

An organization may focus their attention on those topics they identify as importantand they may choose them based on

          – the earliest concern, if it still remains unattended;

          – the severest on humanity, such as racial discrimination;

          – the latest, such as climate change;

          – the simplest but not addressed so far, such as working time related issues;

          – the issue addressed by both ILO and UN;

          – the basic needs as per the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but still remaining unfulfilled

And so on.

 

Conclusion

Companies, though not all, indeed are addressing CSR and in different ways. But in a global economy it may be preferable for an organization to adopt an international approach to such concerns and be above board with respect to compliance to national level legal and statutory requirements. An adoption of the ISO standard is likely to put the organization in the clear and full knowledge of why certain issues are addressed and why certain are not.

As may be seen from the list above, there would be many relevant subjects to be addressed by every organization.

It is hoped that a BPX may help organizations to make the right choice and enable it through IT.

 

In the next blog, it is proposed to write about the Annex A of the Guide.

 

Readers may like to join Pacific Institute, http://inni.pacinst.org/inni/  to get additional views on the Guide and also for access to the Draft Standard ISO/CD 26000.

 

 

Sam Anbazhagan         

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