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The definitions in ISO 26000

Most definitions in ISO standards are available through the ISO Online Browsing Platform. Here are the definitions used in ISO 26000:

2 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply

state of being answerable for decisions and activities to the organization’s governing bodies, legal authorities and, more broadly, its stakeholders

individual member of the general public purchasing or using property, products or services for private purposes

organization or individual member of the general public purchasing property, products or services for commercial, private or public purposes

due diligence
comprehensive, proactive process to identify the actual and potential negative social, environmental and economic impacts of an organization’s decisions and activities over the entire life cycle of a project or organizational activity, with the aim of avoiding and mitigating negative impacts

individual in a relationship recognized as an “employment relationship” in national law or practice
NOTE Employee is a narrower term than worker (2.27).

natural surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, people, outer space and their interrelationships
NOTE Surroundings in this context extend from within an organization to the global system.

ethical behaviour
behaviour that is in accordance with accepted principles of right or good conduct in the context of a particular situation and is consistent with international norms of behaviour (2.11)

gender equality
equitable treatment for women and men
NOTE This includes equal treatment or, in some instances, treatment that is different but considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.

impact of an organization

positive or negative change to society, economy or the environment (2.6), wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s past and present decisions and activities

initiative for social responsibility
programme or activity expressly devoted to meeting a particular aim related to social responsibility (2.18)
NOTE Initiatives for social responsibility can be developed, sponsored or administered by any type of organization

international norms of behaviour
expectations of socially responsible organizational behaviour derived from customary international law, generally accepted principles of international law, or intergovernmental agreements that are universally or nearly universally recognized
NOTE 1 Intergovernmental agreements include treaties and conventions.
NOTE 2 Although customary international law, generally accepted principles of international law and intergovernmental agreements are directed primarily at states, they express goals and principles to which all organizations can aspire.
NOTE 3 International norms of behaviour evolve over time.

entity or group of people and facilities with an arrangement of responsibilities, authorities and relationships and identifiable objectives
NOTE 1 For the purposes of this International Standard, organization does not include government acting in its sovereign role to create and enforce law, exercise judicial authority, carry out its duty to establish policy in the public interest or honour the international obligations of the state.
NOTE 2 Clarity on the meaning of small and medium-sized organizations (SMOs) is provided in 3.3.

organizational governance
system by which an organization (2.12) makes and implements decisions in pursuit of its objectives

fundamental basis for decision making or behaviour

article or substance that is offered for sale or is part of a service delivered by an organization (2.12)

action of an organization (2.12) to meet a demand or need

social dialogue
negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between or among representatives of governments, employers and workers, on matters of common interest relating to economic and social policy
NOTE In this International Standard, the term social dialogue is used only in the meaning applied by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

social responsibility
responsibility of an organization (2.12) for the impacts (2.9) of its decisions and activities on society and the environment (2.6), through transparent and ethical behaviour (2.7) that
⎯ contributes to sustainable development (2.23), including health and the welfare of society;
⎯ takes into account the expectations of stakeholders (2.20);
⎯ is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour (2.11); and
⎯ is integrated throughout the organization (2.12) and practised in its relationships
NOTE 1 Activities include products, services and processes.
NOTE 2 Relationships refer to an organization’s activities within its sphere of influence (2.19).

sphere of influence
range/extent of political, contractual, economic or other relationships through which an organization (2.12) has the ability to affect the decisions or activities of individuals or organizations
NOTE 1 The ability to influence does not, in itself, imply a responsibility to exercise influence.
NOTE 2 Where this term appears in this International Standard, it is always intended to be understood in the context of the guidance in 5.2.3 and 7.3.3.

individual or group that has an interest in any decision or activity of an organization (2.12)

stakeholder engagement
activity undertaken to create opportunities for dialogue between an organization (2.12) and one or more of its stakeholders (2.20), with the aim of providing an informed basis for the organization’s decisions

supply chain
sequence of activities or parties that provides products (2.15) or services (2.16) to the organization (2.12)
NOTE In some instances, the term supply chain is understood to be the same as value chain (2.25). However, for the purpose of this International Standard supply chain is used as defined above.

sustainable development
development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
NOTE Sustainable development is about integrating the goals of a high quality of life, health and prosperity with social justice and maintaining the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity. These social, economic and environmental goals are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Sustainable development can be treated as a way of expressing the broader expectations of society as a whole.

openness about decisions and activities that affect society, the economy and the environment (2.6), and willingness to communicate these in a clear, accurate, timely, honest and complete manner

value chain
entire sequence of activities or parties that provide or receive value in the form of products (2.15) or services (2.16)
NOTE 1 Parties that provide value include suppliers, outsourced workers (2.27), contractors and others.
NOTE 2 Parties that receive value include customers (2.3), consumers (2.2), clients, members and other users.

vulnerable group
group of individuals who share one or several characteristics that are the basis of discrimination or adverse social, economic, cultural, political or health circumstances, and that cause them to lack the means to achieve their rights or otherwise enjoy equal opportunities.

person who performs work, whether an employee (2.5) or someone who is self-employed