About a year and a half ago, we did a five-part series on the International Organization of Standardization’s (ISO) voluntary international standard, ISO 26000. The majority of it was spent criticizing the ISO for their amazing inability to come up with catchy names for their standards. We used whatever room we had left to present a thorough examination of whether the ISO 26000 is a good fit for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs).
We discovered that the standard can help introduce the social responsibility agenda to SMEs…sometimes. (useful, eh?) It really all depends on the nature of your organization – is your business well-integrated and networked? Do you have ample financial resources and strong negotiating power, both of which often go hand in hand? Is there strong leadership from the top driving your sustainability initiatives? All these questions and more can be answered by taking a look back at the series (start at part one and follow the links at the top of the page to navigate through the rest).
Since we posted our study, the folks at www.26k-estimation.com (a resource for comprehensive and pertinent information regarding ISO 26000) published a user guide for the standard. The toolkit discusses important factors to weigh as you decide whether to purchase the standard. It defines the scope of the standard, and suggests ways to communicate your shiny new ISO 26000 reporting policy.
We admit, the 26k website design could use some work. But the content is all there, and besides – these people are working so hard to disseminate accurate ISO information that we would be concerned if their website looked too slick. The user guide can be found here.
By the way…and this is important…The guide of which we speak is adapted for American application from another ISO 26000 user guide developed by the European Office of Crafts, Trades, and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises for Standardisation (another organization with a particular talent for catchy names). That guide, which is actually much easier to read, but focused specifically on European businesses, can be found here.