Sunday, March 2, 2008

ISO 26000 Betrays Organization's Technical Roots: ISO Embarks on Slippery Slope Path Towards 'Soft' Political Standards Development

ITSSD Assessment of the new ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standard

December 2005

Preliminary Conclusions:

1. It may be possible to procedurally shape and/or delay the development of the ISO SR guidance standard at the national mirror and international levels.

2. It may be impossible to prevent the actual adoption of an SR standard at the DIS and FDIS stages, unless the ISO voting rules are first modified to reflect only one vote for the European Community as a whole through its regional standards representative (e.g., CEN), as opposed to twenty-five separate votes representing the national standards bodies of each of the EU member states.

3. It is likely to be difficult to reverse the new stakeholder engagement process that has been introduced at the ISO incident to the commencement of this SR standard initiative, though it may arguably be shaped by filing procedural objections, and by strengthening traditional ISO benchmarks for consensus.

4. The real challenge is to prevent the new process from being expanded institutionally to all of ISO’s technical standards work, and thereby from being incorporated within business contracts that reference or directly incorporate such standards as conditions of manufacture, sale, service, etc. This is likely to be quite difficult given the current efforts of governments, NGOs and UN agencies to incorporate sustainable development dimensions into all ISO technical standards.

5. Further study and analysis of the evolving ISO SR operating procedures, the multi-stakeholder engagement process, and the ISO’s general consensus procedures is necessary to determine the proper course of action and the appropriate actors with which/whom to collaborate...

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