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Corporate Social Responsibility / Social Responsibility: ISO26000


Introducing ISO 26000 – Guidance on Social Responsibility

The latest International Standard ISO 26000:2010 – Guidance on Social Responsibility, was launched yesterday by SPRING Singapore at a seminar to introduce the new standard to the business community.

What is ISO 26000

Principles of social responsibility

ISO 26000 highlights the 7 principles of social responsibility:

  1. Accountability
  2. Transparency
  3. Ethical behaviour
  4. Respect for stakeholder interests
  5. Respect for the rule of law
  6. Respect for international norms of behaviour
  7. Respect for human rights

Core subjects of social responsibility

ISO 26000 addresses 7 core subjects of social responsibility as shown in the graphic below:


ISO 26000 provides social responsibility guidance for all types of organizations, such as MNCs and big corporations, SMEs, non-governmental organizations and government agencies.

As the world moves towards an age of social transformation, organizations and stakeholders become increasingly aware of the need for socially and environmentally responsible behaviour. ISO 26000 is thus a timely and relevant guide to help organizations understand what social responsibility is and what they need to do to operate in a socially responsible way.

ISO 26000 is not for certification

"Societies are not destroyed by the activities of rascals but by the inactivity of good people. What a paradox! If they can tolerate destruction by being inactive, how can they be good? The question is, are they discharging their social responsibility?"

Great leaders once said

“We do not claim to be more unselfish, more generous or more philanthropic than others, but we think we started on sound and straightforward business principles considering the interests of the shareholders, our own and health and welfare of our employees…the sure foundation of prosperity”. ---Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata

The price of greatness is responsibility. --Winston Churchill

For evil to flourish, good people have to do nothing and evil shall flourish. --Edmund Burke

and thus

"Every individual and organization has social responsibility without which society starts dying"

What is social responsibility ???

Responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that

Contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society;

Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;

Is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior; and

Is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships.

The two basic arguments for corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be termed the "normative case" and the "business case." Although there is a clear difference between social performance stemming from a desire to do good (the normative case) and social performance that reflects an enlightened self-interest (the business case), a firm’s reasons for engaging in CSR might reflect a mixture of these motivations. Thus, both warrant discussion, but for reasons addressed immediately below, this chapter of the Social Performance Map will focus most of its attention on the business case for CSR.

Evidence from dozens of empirical studies of private sector firms and investment markets points conclusively to a positive association (or at worst a neutral association) between social performance and financial performance. Although this evidence is drawn from the private sector, the explanations underlying the associations are general enough that there is no reason to believe that the same or similar associations will not exist in the microfinance sector as well, particularly as the sector increasingly takes on the business models and trappings of the commercial financial sector.

Even with what appears to be strong empirical evidence indicating a positive relationship between social performance and financial performance, specific examples from the microfinance sector are valuable. This section’s annex presents a series of cases that document the benefits and costs to microfinance institutions of assessing and managing their social performance. 

The annex summarizes three cost-effectiveness studies that assessed the net benefits of various client assessment activities carried out by diverse MFIs and MFI networks. These studies were carried out under the auspices of the Ford Foundation Imp-Act Project and published in the September 2004 issue of Small Enterprise Development.1 Client assessment includes a variety of activities aimed at assessing the needs, wants, perceptions, behaviors, etc., of an organization’s target customers. Many client assessment activities, like the three studies summarized here, fall directly or indirectly under the category of social performance assessment.

To learn more about CSR in India

To learn more about ISO26000

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