ISO 26000 Value Added or More of the Same

CIM Montreal 2011
Abstract The ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility was officially launched in November 2010. The intent of ISO 26000 is to provide guidance to for all types of organizations, industry, government, civil society to help them operationalize social responsibility. ISO 26000 covers a broad category of core subjects related to social responsibility: organizational governance, human rights, labour practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, and community involvement and development. It is not a management systems standard and is not designed for third party certification.
One of the most difficult tasks for companies is to monitor and understand expectations in society, which change over time and which differ from place to place. There are already a wide variety of guidance documents, industry standards and codes, best practices or more directive guidelines, available to companies to embark on social responsibility policymaking and implementation. Does this new ISO standard say something new or does it simply add to the crowded landscape of guidance documents and directives on social responsibility? Does this new ISO standard provide practical guidance or does it simply muddy the waters? In short, does ISO 26000 add any value and what does this new standard on social responsibility mean for the mining industry?
This paper will attempt to answer these questions and provide context for how ISO 26000 can be used by mining companies to add value to their social responsibility initiatives.
Keywords: ISO 26000, Guidance Standard, Social responsibility
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