How Socially Responsible (SR) are your suppliers?

March 24th, 2009

What is Social Responsibility (SR) versus Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how is it measured.

What is Social Responsibility (SR) versus Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how is it measured.

According to the ISO, SR is the need for organizations in both public and private sectors to behave in a socially responsible way that is becoming a generalized requirement of society.
Broadly speaking, we need to understand that the difference between Social Responsibility or SR and Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is that SR applies to more than just companies. Although not totally accurate, this author likes to think of SR as an umbrella under which corporate or governmental social responsibilities reside. More often than not today governmental social responsibility is also falling more under the CSR umbrella.

As a result of increased global focus, during January of 2005 a group was established within the International Standards Organization or ISO, to develop an International Standard providing guidelines for social responsibility (SR). The objective is to produce a guidance document, written in plain language that is understandable and usable by non-specialists, and not a specification document intended for third party certification

It is felt that a guideline like ISO 26000 is required because of ever increasing globalization and a need to be more conscious of what we buy, but also of how the goods and services we buy have been produced and by who. Issues such as production that is harmful to the environment, child labor concerns, dangerous working environments, safety, and other inhumane conditions are just some of the examples of issues being openly discussed today. All companies and organizations aiming at long-term profitability and credibility are starting to realize that they must act in accordance with norms of right and wrong. The guidance standard will be published in 2010 as ISO 26000 and be voluntary to use. It will not include requirements and will thus not be a certification standard.

As always, we look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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