KRUCEK>Expert Articles>More influence with a smaller footprint: How does ISO 26000 help organisations strengthen social and environmental responsibility?

More influence with a smaller footprint: How does ISO 26000 help organisations strengthen social and environmental responsibility?

The relationship between organisations and the world around them is becoming increasingly important as public pressure on organisations to behave responsibly and comply with corporate social responsibility standards has increased significantly. Organisations around the world should take the necessary measures.

ISO 26000 provides a framework for organisations to identify and address the social and environmental impacts that may arise from their activities.

If you want to be a successful and responsible player in the market, you need to take responsibility for your actions and make changes where necessary. Implementing ISO 26000 is a moral commitment and a strategic decision for a sustainable and prosperous future for your organisation.

So what does the introduction of ISO 26000 entail?

The standard helps an organisation to realise its responsibility for the impact of its decisions on society and the environment while continuing to develop its activities without endangering future generations. In practice, this means incorporating the social responsibility principles set out in the standard into the organisation’s context and implementing them in seven core areas. Thus, the standard helps organisations operate responsibly – i.e., managing possible adverse events and their impacts in the relevant areas.

What are the principles involved?

ISO 26000 defines seven principles of social responsibility that should be respected by all organisations today, regardless of legal form or size.

Organisations should be responsible for the impact of their activities on society and the environment. This means they should take responsibility for their actions and actively seek to minimise their harmful effects. Hand in hand with this, organisations should ensure openness and transparency in decision-making processes and communication with the public. The organisation must develop a system to ensure compliance with generally binding legislation and international standards of conduct to the maximum extent possible. Today, it has become standard, and a competitive advantage to declare and apply moral values and ethical behaviour in the organisation’s day-to-day activities. In addition to these values, a successful organisation must also respect the needs and interests of all stakeholders, such as customers, employees, suppliers and others. The fulfilment of this principle undoubtedly includes respect for human rights. 

Are there areas relevant to all types of organisations?

Yes. In addition to the seven principles, the standard identifies seven themes contributing to CSR. These thematic areas include:

Good governance | The management and administration of the organisation, i.e. tailoring the system by which the organisation takes and implements decisions and enables the organisation to put the above CSR principles into practice.

Human rights | Respect fundamental human rights in the organisation and its operations, including discrimination, recruitment, working conditions and respect for human rights in the supply chain.

Labour relations practices | Ensure safe and healthy working conditions and avoid bias.

Environment | Minimise the negative impacts of the organisation’s activities on the environment and contribute to conservation.

Business ethics | Adhere to principles such as transparency, fairness, accountability and respect for property rights.

Consumer protection | Respect and protect the rights and interests of customers and consumers and ensure the supply of your products and services.

Community engagement and development | Develop the company and the region, support residents and other communities where you do business and contribute to economic growth.

What are the benefits of implementing ISO 26000?

Reputation enhancement | Implementing ISO 26000 can help enhance an organisation’s reputation as a socially responsible and ethical company, which can positively impact its relationships with customers, partners and the public.

Increasing competitiveness | Social responsibility and sustainability are becoming increasingly important factors in customer decision-making and choosing business partners, which can increase an organisation’s competitiveness.

Minimise risk | Implementing ISO 26000 can help an organisation minimise the risks associated with non-compliance with social responsibility standards, reducing the likelihood of litigation, penalties and other negative impacts on the organisation.

Improving Efficiency | ISO 26000 offers organisations a structured and systematic approach to implementing social responsibility, which can enhance an organisation’s efficiency and performance in sustainability and social responsibility.

Improving stakeholder relations | Implementing ISO 26000 can help an organisation better understand its stakeholders’ needs and expectations and improve relations with them.

Increase employee motivation | Organisations focusing on social responsibility can motivate their employees and improve corporate culture, leading to improved productivity and reduced employee turnover.

What are some examples of ISO 26000 implementation in organisations?


Large corporations can use ISO 26000, in particular, to identify and address their operations’ social and environmental impacts. This can include improving working conditions for employees, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting residents at the business site.

Small and medium-sized enterprises

ISO 26000 can also be implemented by small and medium-sized enterprises that want to increase their social responsibility. This may include, for example, supporting local suppliers, reducing energy and water consumption and providing training for employees.

Non-profit organisations

Non-profit organisations can use ISO 26000 to, among other things, identify and address the social and environmental impacts of their program. This can include improving the organisation’s communication with the public, increasing transparency in financial management, and promoting human rights.

Public administration

Government or local government organisations can also implement ISO 26000 to ensure their policies and programs are consistent with social, ethical and environmental principles. This may include, for example, providing equal opportunities and protecting human rights.

Academic institutions

Universities and other academic institutions can use ISO 26000 to ensure their research and educational programmes are consistent with social, ethical and environmental principles. This may include, for example, encouraging innovative research, providing training for students and ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for staff.

Structure and requirements of ISO 26000

The standard is divided into seven clauses, through which the scope, basic terms, explanation of important factors and conditions that affect social responsibility and its principles are presented. The standard also guides the core themes and integration of social responsibility. In addition, it also contains two annexes, namely examples of voluntary initiatives and instruments in the field of social responsibility and an explanation of the abbreviations used in the standard.

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