The seven core subjects and issues of social responsibility which are expected to be introduced by ISO 26000 standard in 1 November 2010

Core subject: Organizational governance

Organizational governance is the system by which an organization makes and implements decisions in pursuit of its objectives. in the context of social responsibility, organizational governance is both a core subject on which organizations should act and a means of increasing the organization’s ability to implement socially responsible behaviour.

Organizational governance should be the starting point for integrating social responsibility throughout the organization. Enabling organizational decision-making in line with social responsibility means to create a formal and informal framework that reflects all decisions of an organization in the context of social responsibility. Based on that, an organization should consider the seven principles, the practices, the core subjects and issues of social responsibility when it establishes or reviews its governance system, considering the special requirements for the creation of a formal organization as well as for the development of the informal organization

Core subject: Human rights

The primacy of human rights has been emphasized by the international community through various treaties and charters, mainly the United Nation’s Human Rights Charter. The two broad categories of human rights concerns civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

Recognition and respect for human rights are widely regarded as essential to the rule of law and to concepts of social justice and fairness and as the basic underpinning of the most essential institutions of society such as the judicial system; therefore an organization has the responsibility and obligation to respect human rights, in general, and in its sphere of influence.

Therefore the subject refers to the organization’s responsibility to respect human rights, prevent and address actual or potential human rights impacts resulting from their activities or the activities of those with which they have relationships.

Core subject: Labour Practices

The labour practices of an organization encompass all policies and practices relating to work performed on behalf of the organization. Labour practices include the recruitment and promotion of workers; disciplinary and grievance procedures; the transfer and relocation of workers; termination of employment; training and skills development; health, safety and industrial hygiene; and any policy or practice affecting conditions of work, in particular working time and remuneration. This subject also include the recognition of worker organizations and representation and participation of both worker and employer organizations in collective bargaining, social dialogue and tripartite consultation to address social issues related to employment.

Core subject: Environment

The environment is affected by the decisions and activities of each organization. These impacts may be associated with the organization’s use of resources, the location of the activities of the organization, the generation of pollution and wastes. According to this core subject, to reduce environmental impacts, organizations should adopt an integrated approach that takes into consideration the direct and indirect economic, social, and environmental implications of their decisions and activities. It is therefore an important aspect of social responsibility; such actions will include: preventing pollution, ensuring sustainable resource use, fighting climate change and contributing to the restoration of natural habitats.

Core subject: Fair operating practices

Fair operating practices concern ethical conduct in an organization’s dealings with other organizations and individuals. This subject covers relationships between organizations and government agencies, as well as between organizations and their partners, suppliers, contractors, customers, employees and competitors, and the associations of which they are members.  Fair operating practices concern the way an organization uses its relationships to promote positive outcomes. Positive outcomes can be achieved by providing leadership and promoting the adoption of social responsibility more broadly throughout the organization’s sphere of influence.

The subject in the ISO 26000 refer to anti-corruption, responsible involvement in the public sphere, fair competition, socially responsible behaviour, in relations with other organizations and respect for property rights.

Core subject: Consumer issues

Organizations that provide products and services to consumers, as well as other customers, have responsibilities to those consumers and customers.

Consumer issues regarding social responsibility are related to fair marketing practices, protection of health and safety, sustainable consumption, dispute resolution and redress, data and privacy protection, access to essential products and services, policies and processes for managing hardship for vulnerable and disadvantaged customers, and education among other matters.

Core subject: Community involvement and development

Social development, together with economic development and environmental protection, form the basis for a sustainable society. Although the primary responsibility for social and economic development belongs to governments, all organizations have the potential to contribute to social and economic development.

Issues of community development to which an organization can contribute include creating employment through expanding and diversifying economic activities and technological development. It can also contribute through social investments in wealth and income creation through local economic development initiatives; expanding education and skills development programmes; cultural and arts preservation; environmental conservation; Community development may include institutional strengthening of the community, its groups and collective forums; cultural, social and environmental programmes and local networks involving multiple institutions.

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