ISO 26000:2010 Guidance on Social Responsibility

ISO 26000 is a standard that outlines a set of guiding principles for corporate social responsibility.

ISO 26000 is defined as the international standard developed to help organizations effectively assess and address social responsibilities that are relevant and significant to their mission and vision; operations and processes; customers, employees, communities, and other stakeholders; and environmental impact.

ISO 26000:2010 provides guidance on:

  • Definitions, principles, and core issues of social responsibility
  • Social, political, environmental and cultural contexts of social responsibility
  • Best practice guidelines of social responsibility
  • Guidance on how to integrate, implement, and promote socially responsible behaviour both internally and externally
  • Identifying and engaging with stakeholders
  • Defining, implementing, evaluating commitments and performance of social responsibility
  • Distributing other information relating to social responsibility


Structure of ISO 26000

  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 an organization

Key Principles and Core Subjects of ISO 26000

The Seven Key Principles are:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Ethical behavior
  • Respect for stakeholder interests (stakeholders are individuals or groups who are affected by, or have the ability to impact, the organization’s actions)
  • Respect for the rule of law
  • Respect for international norms of behavior
  • Respect for human rights

The Seven Core Subjects are:

  • Organizational governance
  • Human rights
  • Labor practices
  • Environment
  • Fair operating practices
  • Consumer issues
  • Community involvement and development


ISO 26000 aims to:

  • Help businesses and organizations to address social responsibilities while acknowledging and respecting cultural, societal, environmental, legal and economic differences
  • Offer practical and actionable guidelines to enact principles of social responsibility
  • Help identify and communicate with stakeholders to improve the reliability and credibility of reports relating to social responsibility
  • Focus on and prioritize business performance, including principles of continuous improvement
  • Increase customer and stakeholder satisfaction
  • Integrate with and supplement existing ISO standards, international treaties, government regulations and international conventions
  • Define and promote a common language and terminology for talking about and communicating social responsibility
  • Increase general awareness of social responsibility
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