Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation

Let’s be environmental friendly with ISO 26000

Let’s be environmental friendly with ISO 26000
22.02.2015 | Maja Cergol Lipnik

Why is corporate social responsibility (CSR) important for the environment? Why should companies adapt to principles of CSR? The World Bank paper explains the environmental component of CSR in a understandable and simple way: “…the environmental aspect of corporate social responsibility is defined as the duty to cover the environmental implications of the company’s operations, products and facilities; eliminate waste and emissions; maximize the efficiency and productivity of its resources; and minimize practices that might adversely affect the enjoyment of the resources by future generations. In the emerging global economy, where the information revolution shine light on business practices around the world, companies are more frequently judged on the basis of their environmental stewardship. Partners in business and consumers want to know what is inside a company[1].

How can companies incorporate CSR into business? ISO 26000, the guidance on social responsibility, can help them. ISO 26000 provides guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way. This means acting in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society. One of the seven core issues of ISO 26000 is the environment. Other issues are human rights, labour practices, organisational governance, consumer issues, society development and fair operating practices.

James Roberts (2010)[2], a determined opponent of the standard ISO 26000, says that the standard is a quixotic attempt to impose impractical and ultimately unworkable bureaucratic solutions on what are essentially political problems. Roberts's arguments show only the negative side of the standard, while forgetting that ISO 26000 systematically regulates CSR and clearly shows the concept of social responsibility.

As mentioned above the standard addresses environmental issues. The International Organization for Standardization observes that the world population is projected to increase to around 9 billion by the year 2050. Meanwhile, consumption of energy and other resources has been rising faster than the rate of population growth and faster than the capacity of the natural environment to absorb the impacts of this consumption (ISO 2010)[3]. Therefore it is important that companies and other organisations undertake the environmental problems and issues very seriously. The ISO 26000 focuses on five core environmental issues:

  • pollution prevention,
  • prevention of global warming,
  • sustainable consumption and land use,
  • preservation and restoration of ecosystems and the natural,
  • respect for future generations.

Organisations can contribute in improving their environmental aspects with the ISO 26000. But how can they integrate CSR into a daily practices? ISO 26000 provides simple guidelines in 6 steps:

  1. Analyzing the context in which an organization operates.
  2. Integrating social responsibility throughout the organization.
  3. Working with stakeholders.
  4. Integrating social responsibility into an organization’s daily practices.
  5. Reviewing performance for improvement: an organization should review its performance on social responsibility and monitor progress and activities that can have a significant impact on that performance.
  6. Communication on social responsibility.

So, let's be socially responsible in the environmental area and think about our Earth, future generations and nature! With or without ISO 26000.

[1] Piotr Mazurkiewicz. 2004. Corporate environmental responsibility: Is a common CSR framework possible? World Bank.

[2] Roberts, James M. 2010. How Corporate Social Responsibility (ISO 26000) Mandates Undermine Free Markets. Backgrounder 2409 (May): 1-7.

[3] International Organization for Standardization. 2010. ISO 26000. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.

Read more about ISO 26000.

Read more about CSR.



Relevant themes: Environment
Relevant tags: Sustainability


  • Maja Cergol Lipnik - Univerza na Primorskem Universita del Litorale (University of Primorska), (UP)

    Maja Cergol Lipnik