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Thinking about CSR and the next step forward ! – Part 2(c)

An updated overview of ISO/CD 26000, the ISO Guide on social responsibility

In my earlier blog I have mentioned to cover the clauses and other features of the Standard in my next blog, to complete the overview.

Thinking about CSR and the next step forward ! – Part 2(a)

Thinking about CSR and the next step forward ! – Part 2(b)



In this blog I have listed the major clauses, the sub-clauses -each major clause wise, the core subjects and the issues addressed under each core subject, and about the model.

I have only tried to make it be presented step by step so that the volume of writing does not seem weighing.

It is hoped that it would provide a perspective to sequentially understand the contents of the Standard.

For the reflective readers of the community this level of details would be enough to provide an overview, it was thought. It is posted for a leisurely reading, dwelling on one heading after another.


I have also made a few observations as to how one may, once convinced, initiate adoption of Standard in an organization.


A Note:

Title of the Standard is: Guidance on social responsibility

It is presently a Committee Draft (CD). It is likely to undergo some changes and later become a Standard.



Major clauses of the Standard:

As mentioned earlier, the major clauses in the Standard are:

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



The sub-clauses:

Under 3, the sub-clauses are:

3.1 General

3.2 The social responsibility of organizations

3.3 Recent trends in social responsibility

3.4 Characteristics of social responsibility

3.5 The state and social responsibility


Under 4, the sub-clauses are:


4.2 Accountability

4.3 Transparency

4.4 Ethical behaviour

4.5 Respect for stakeholder interests

4.6 Respect for the rule of law

4.7 Respect for international norms of behaviour

4.8 Respect for human rights

(Importantly, these are the principles which are likely to be realized through the dynamics of the processes, covered under Clause 5, 6 and 7.)


Under 5, the sub-clauses are:

5.1 General

5.2 Recognizing social responsibility

5.3 Stakeholder identification and engagement


Under 6, the sub-clauses are:


6.2 Organizational governance

6.3 Human rights

6.4 Labour practices

6.5 The Environment

6.6 Fair operating practices

6.7 Consumer issues

6.8 Community involvement and development



Under 7, the sub-clauses are:


7.2 The relationship of the organization’s characteristics to social responsibility

7.3 Understanding the social responsibility of the organization

7.4 Practices for integrating social responsibility throughout the organization

7.5 Communication on social responsibility

7.6 Enhancing credibility regarding social responsibility

7.7 Reviewing and improving the organization’s actions and practices related to social responsibility

7.8 Voluntary initiatives on social responsibility


Observation 1

The clause 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 provides an overview of the respective major clause.

Followed by the Introduction, a Table is provided indicating clause title, clause number and description of the clause content.

These two items mentioned above would be an authoritative summary of the clauses, for presenting the standard to top management, without going into details, unless asked for.



Core subjects

The topics under clause No.6 are called Core subjects.


Issues under core subjects

Under each core subject, a number of ‘issues’ have been identified and covered in detail for addressing them.

The total number of issues covered are 36, with distribution as follows:


Core subject: Organizational governance

Issues: Nil

Core subject: Human rights

Issue 1: Due diligence

Issue 2: Human rights risk situations

Issue 3: Avoidance of complicity

Issue 4: Resolving grievances

Issue 5: Discrimination and vulnerable groups

Issue 6: Civil and political rights

Issue 7: Economic, social and cultural rights

Issue 8: Fundamental rights at work

Core subject: Labour Practices

Issue 1: Employment and employment relationships

Issue 2: Conditions of work and social protection

Issue 3: Social dialogue

Issue 4: Health and safety at work

Issue 5: Human development and training in the workplace

Core subject: The environment

Issue 1: Prevention of pollution

Issue 2: Sustainable resource use

Issue 3: Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Issue 4: Protection and restoration of the natural environment

Core subject: Fair operating practices

Issue 1: Anti-corruption

Issue 2: Responsible political involvement

Issue 3: Fair competition

Issue 4: Promoting social responsibility in the sphere of influence

Issue 5: Respect for property rights

Core subject: Consumer issues

Issue 1: Fair marketing, information and contractual practices

Issue 2: Protecting consumers’ health and safety

Issue 3: Sustainable consumption

Issue 4: Consumer service, support, and dispute resolution

Issue 5: Consumer data protection and privacy

Issue 6: Access to essential services

Issue 7: Education and awareness

Core subject: Community involvement and development

Issue 1: Community involvement

Issue 2: Education and culture

Issue 3: Employment creation and skills development

Issue 4: Technology development

Issue 5: Wealth and income creation

Issue 6: Health

Issue 7: Social investment

Observation 2 – It may be noticed from the above how comprehensive the Standard is and that how every organization could take up certain issues to address under CSR.



Consolidating the above, the Standard is represented in a model and presented as ‘ISO 26000 Overview’ at page viii of the Standard. This provides a very good view of the dynamics of the clauses. It is considered worth viewing it, to know how the implemented system would function.

Observation 3

A presentation of the model also would make it convenient for briefly explaining the Standard to the top management as part of a proposal for adoption.

Observation 4

The Standard is about 98 pages with 3500 lines of text. It is considered desirable that a team of, say 7, members study the Standard with one clause assigned to each and a plan of action consolidated for its adoption.

This is a suggestion, because, for one person it may appear a daunting task!

But without fail some one, may be the coordinator, in an organization, may have to read it completely.


The Standard has covered the subject of CSR in an extensive detail and deserves a keen attention by corporate members. Hence this attempt to provide an overview of the Standard.

Sam Anbazhagan

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