By Martin Neureiter Chairperson- Advisory Council, Bluesky Sustainable Business CEO- The CSR Company International. Task Chair- ISO 26000
This paper highlights the uptake and use of ISO 26000 Social Responsibility on a global level, covering the state- and private actors, for-profit and non-for profit organizations and possible impacts that can be defined as direct impact results of ISO 26000.
The European Union EU – Directive with the effect of 1.1.2018, obliges companies that have more than 500 employees or have a turnover higher than 60 Million Euros annually to report on their non-financial performance. The EU mandates the use of ISO 26000 as one of the tools of choice for covering these subjects adequately.
China. China, with the effect of 1.1.2018 made it mandatory for state-owned enterprises – irrespective of their size, to implement the Chinese version of ISO 26000, (Chinese standard 48000). The critical omission to note is the absence of the core subject of Human Rights. China is strongly advocating the use of ISO 26000 in different forms.
France The country with the by far most substantial uptake of ISO 26000 is France. This is mainly due to a tax subsidy provided by the government President Macron’s directive that every French enterprise has to have a CSR related certificate based on a standard. Has popularised ISO 26000 as the most used CSR framework
The Government of Qatar has decided to implement the standard throughout its Ministries. Some of the major ones are the Ministry of Interior, which has achieved ISO 26000 guidelines.
The City of Abu Dhabi has introduced ISO 26000 into the municipality.
RTA, the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai (Metro, Taxi, Busses, Roads, Ships) has implemented ISO 26000 into their practices. The City of Pusan in South Korea has implemented ISO 26000 into its municipality offices.
Several Scandinavian Cities are using ISO 26000 to inform their sustainability strategies. Other Countries with very high uptake of ISO 26000 are Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Ecuador, Colombia, Japan, South Korea, etc.
ISO 26000 and FIFA FIFA, the World Football Association, has evaluated the Football World Cup 2014 in Brazil and the World Cup in Russia 2018 based on ISO 26000. Government of Qatar has also implemented ISO 26000 for the preparation of the World Cup 2022
Drivers for ISO 26000 uptake
Initially, the driver for ISO 26000 is mainly a reputation. Government or government bodies want to show the citizens that they are acting in a socially responsible manner, on issues like exploitation of laborers, caring for the environment, avoiding corruption, respecting the will of the people and involving the communities
Over time, this goes beyond just the reputational gains when monetary gains start.
In the private sector, the main drivers are:
• Participating in the global supply chain. ISO 26000 is the gold standard for global buyers to use in their supply chain to ensure compliance with their expectations and requirements.
• Reputation and Differentiation – to be recognized by the customer as the company that is taking care of the environment, its employees, the communities at significant or sector-specific issues.
• Investors seek ISO 26000. Companies that take sustainability seriously also outperform on the stock market. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last 18 years did not have a single day in which the companies listed in that specific index did not outperform the average Dow Jones Index. So it makes business sense for investors to put their money in these companies.
• Media and Social Media Journalists are increasingly asking questions around primarily environmental, corruption or CO2 emissions, etc. For the Millennial generation, sustainability issues play a much more significant role than for older generations.
• Specific projects: Projects with significant impacts on society, or particular communities run the high risk if they only rely on their legal license. They fail because they missed getting the “social license” to operate. Also, this can only be gained by doing intensive stakeholder engagement based on an international standard, so that one obtains the trust of the people and the trust of the investors.