ISO 26000

It is essential for businesses to understand the importance of the ISO 26000 standard and its key principles for social responsibility. So, we’ll explain all of that and more in the article below!

corporate social responsibility at work

What is ISO 26000?

ISO 26000 contains a set of guidelines to serve as the framework for companies building social responsibility and sustainable development practices. These guidelines cover various topics, from human rights and labor practices, all the way to community involvement and consumer issues. Nowadays, modern businesses have to exhibit their commitment to social responsibility to consumers. By following this standard, companies can easily show consumers and the public that they are committed to sustainable development.


Unlike other ISO standards, ISO 26000 isn’t a certification standard. That said, the entire guideline is there to provide companies for a framework, a starting point, when building their social responsibility and sustainable development practices.

Social responsibility is very important for businesses nowadays. More and more consumers prioritize looking for companies that are sustainable and show a commitment to their community. This is also true for candidates for a job position, as most workers weigh the social responsibility and human rights commitments of different companies when choosing a workplace.

ISO 26000 is a clear way of showing the public that you are a responsible and committed company. So, even if it isn’t a certification standard and isn’t required by law, it’s best for businesses and organizations to follow the framework.

Key Principles of ISO 26000

ISO 26000 covers a broad range of topics. This is a massive framework that sets guidelines for various practices. Some of the major principles covered by ISO 26000 covers:

Human Rights

One of the biggest and most important principles of ISO 26000 is human rights. This includes all the people in the organization, from employees and managers down to the customers and stakeholders. This standard establishes the framework for acknowledging, respecting, and promoting human rights.

Labor Practices

Another key aspect of ISO 26000 is setting the guidelines for fair and responsible labor practices. This involves protecting the worker’s right and freedom of association, ensuring fair treatment and non-discrimination, and also eliminating forced and child labor from the work place.

Fair Operating Practices

This includes a range of anti-corruption measures and controls. ISO 26000 aims to ensure that businesses operate fairly and transparently, while also maintaining fair competition and paying taxes regularly.

Consumer Issues

The goal of this principle is to protect consumers and also ensure high-quality products and services. Additionally, ISO 26000 covers protecting your customer’s privacy while promoting sustainable competition in the market.

Community Involvement

Nowadays, it’s very important for businesses to engage with the community wherein they operate. That said, doing so can be quite challenging, and you’re going to run into a fair amount of hurdles along the way. This is why ISO 26000’s framework for community involvement is such a huge help.


This goes hand-in-hand with community involvement and it involves helping the community develop their economy, helping everyone reach a better life.

How ISO 26000 Differs from Other Standards

ISO 26000 isn’t your usual ISO standard. Unlike other common standards like ISO 19001 and ISO 14001, this is not a certification standard. So, you won’t be able to get an ISO 26000 certification for your organization to prove that you follow these standards. This is because ISO 26001 isn’t a quality management or an environmental standard. Instead, this is a standard in place to ensure that organizations do their part in helping the community while safeguarding the rights of the clients.

FAQs about ISO 26000

Generally, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is split into four categories. These categories include environmental, human, philanthropic, and economic responsibility. These are also some of the main principles of ISO 2600.

ISO 26000 is a fairly new standard. Introduced in 2010, this standard is in place to provide a framework for organizations when it comes their CSR, human rights, and fair operating practices.

ISO 26000 is not a certification standard. This means that organizations can’t obtain a certificate for ISO 26000. However, it still serves as a very useful framework for organizations building their CSR workflows.

The main challenge of ISO 26000 is that it’s such a broad standard. If you’re looking to apply ISO 26000 in your organization, you can expect a fair amount of challenges since there are so many considerations and principles that the framework covers.

Leon Altomonte
Article by
Leon Altomonte
SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. With his language degree and years of experience in content writing, he delivers well-researched, informative articles about safety, quality, and operational excellence. In addition to his professional pursuits, Leon maintains a creative outlet as a performing musician.