ISO 26,000 likely to be a big deal abroad

Whenever I’ve been at sustainability conferences in South America, the name ISO comes up all the time.

In the past it’s been the 14,000 series, particularly 14,001.

Having not heard that much about it in the UK in the past, I was surprised at how big a deal it is in other countries too.

Interest has been particularly driven by the desire of many companies to pitch for contracts with the big multi-national firms, who have asked for it as a requirement in some suppliers.

In 2011, it may well be ISO 26,000 that makes the same waves.

Yet from what I can tell, 26,000 is a different kettle of fish from 14,000.

For a start, it’s a ‘guidance standard’, and according to Wikipedia:

“This standard offers guidance on socially responsible behavior and possible actions; it does not contain requirements and, therefore, in contrast to ISO management system standards, is not certifiable.”

So it seems surprising to me that already, we are seeing reports that companies who do not ‘adhere’ are losing business.

Knowing about it, and being able to show what you have done as a result, may be just as important as certification might have been under 14,000.

The Korean newspaper, the JoongAngDaily, reports today that:

“A local exporter of manufactured goods was puzzled when an importer demanded a report detailing how much the local firm is applying ISO 26000 standards to its management. The local company had heard of ISO 26000, a set of international standards covering corporate social responsibility, but had not yet even developed strategies to meet the requirements.

That led the importer to reach the conclusion that the local firm is not fully up to par in terms of social responsibility standards, so it exited a trading partnership with the local firm.”

Now, this may be a badly reported article. Or it may be a ‘one-off’. But it shows we should keep a close eye on ISO 26,000 and what it will mean particularly for B2B suppliers.

Paul Hohnen, an expert who has been closely involved in the 26,000 process, offers some thoughts on how it has come about, and what it might mean, in the opinion section of Ethical Corporation.

His analysis is worth our attention.

We’re covering IS0 26,000 in-depth in the February 2010 edition of Ethical Corporation’s print edition, which will be online in the next few days to subscribers.

Take a look at what we’re covering at this link. And, of course, subscribe… 😉

1 Comment

  1. How can you say that its a true report from Korean news paper. Do you have any proof for it?

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