For anyone implementing a social responsibility program, the newly published International Workshop Agreement—IWA 26, Using ISO 26000 guidance on social responsibility in management systems—helps organizations reap even greater benefits from the standard using the management systems standard (MSS) approach.
Identifying which issues are the most relevant is the key to ISO 26000. The standard emphasizes the importance of results and improvements in performance on social responsibility practices such as respecting cultural, societal, environmental, and legal differences and economic development conditions.
Adopted in 80 countries and published in 20 languages, ISO 26000 was one of the sets of guidelines upon which the European Commission built its corporate social responsibility strategy. Now the IWA 26 takes this guidance further.
“Even for those organizations with experience in management systems, social responsibility is complex and challenging,” explained Staffan Söderberg, chair of the technical committee that created IWA 26.
By specifying and implementing repeatable steps using the MSS approach, organizations can achieve their goals and objectives through the use of continuous self-evaluation. This helps to create a culture of improvement through employee awareness, management leadership, and improved operations.
As Söderberg said, “IWA 26 provides detailed guidance to help organizations benefit more fully from ISO 26000, and thus contribute more effectively to sustainable development.”
IWA 26 helps organizations get the most out of ISO 26000. Organizations not only benefit on paper, but practically and literally as well. Through improved risk management, protection of people and the environment, a consistent ability to deliver products and services, and increased financial performance, IWA 26 refines and helps define the best of ISO 26000.