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ISO will decide Dec 2, 2017!

Systematic review 2017 

First ballot results:
11 member countries voted Confirm (keep as it is)
12 member countries voted Revise (update/change)
7 countries Abstained.

Result: 52 % (12/23) in favor of REVISE. Single majority, but a weak indication.

As for previous systematic review, ISO 26000 PPO discussed the technical comments received with its stakeholder advisory group and sent its final recommendations to ISO TMB. In short: PPO recommended ISO TMB to initiate a revision of ISO 26000 based on key international documents such as UN Agenda 2030/SDGs, revised OECD Guidelines, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights but also, equally important, for better alignment with the ISO standards that have been developed since publication of ISO 26000. Examples being ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement Guidance, ISO 37001 Anti-bribery management systems, ISO 20121 Sustainability in Event Management, ISO DIS 45001 OHS MS.

ISO TMB decided that the response rate, number of countries voting, was too low and extended the ballot with a month. During this month intense lobbying has taken place, and letters/phone calls from large international organizations that do not favor ISO 26000 or similar ISO-deliverables have affected many NSB officers/managers. Understandably difficult for an NSB-employee to respond to a call from an international OECD/IOE/ICC/ILO expert and defend the national stakeholders’ consensus views.

Second extended ballot results:
25 member countries voted Confirm
20 member countries voted Revise
9 member countries Abstained

Result: 56 % (25/45) in favor of CONFIRM. Single majority, but a weak indication.

Next steps

ISO 26000 PPO is not a formal body (TC) in ISO and ISO 26000 PPO has no formal mandate regarding revision of ISO 26000. ISO 26000 PPO has an advisory role towards ISO TMB and ISO TMB can be seen as the “Technical Committee” for those ISO deliverables that are not technically managed in a TC, e.g. ISO 26000 and ISO 20400. ISO TMB decides on the future of ISO 26000. In order to decide, ISO TMB has sent a ballot to its TMB members country representatives for an internal vote which closes December 2. If you want to know more about this internal ISO TMB analysis and decision process you have to contact them, preferably via your NSB or through our assigned Technical Program manager Mr. Jose Alcorta.

“Who is TMB?”. TMB is responsible for overall technical coordination in ISO. Here is information from ISO website:  For those of you with access to ISO LiveLink:

Handling the additional comments:

No, PPO is not analyzing the additional technical comments: ISO TMB members will do the analysis of all technical social responsibility comments and decide if ISO 26000 should be technically revised or not. ISO 26000 PPO is not a TC and there is no formal requirement that 26000 PPO must be involved in analyzing any additional technical comments or results received from TMB-extended ballot. The PPO Secretariate has received the votes/comments but unfortunately we are not allowed to send you the technical comments or results showing which countries changed their vote or added their vote. If you want the results perhaps your NSB can assist you.

The ISO 26000 PPO recommendations:

Yes, as far I know the ISO 26000 PPO / SAG technical analysis and recommendation (attached) still stands. Our recommendation was based on the technical SR-content of the comments received from the member bodies that replied.

My personal conclusion of the systematic review 2017:

  • Weak indications from two votes (first 52 % revise and then 55 % confirm)
  • Strong technical comments for revision based on new international norms

If ISO TMB members decides to confirm ISO 26000:2010 the next systematic review will be in the year 2020 the earliest and, thus, the earliest time when ISO 26000 will address the extremely important UN Agenda 2030/SDGs will be in 2023: 8 years after the UN SGDs were published and 7 years ahead of 2030. In addition, ISO 26000 needs to be updated with the many SR-relevant deliverables that ISO members have developed since 2010. Based on the input of the ISO 26000 practitioners I have spoken to the global relevance of ISO 26000 may decrease due to this lack of update and coherence.

Of course CSR/SR/sustainability practitioners are using other equally excellent tools to structure and maximize their contribution to sustainable development, such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines, ILO-deliverables. However, the reason why many of us engaged in the ISO 26000-process was that ISO standards have a unique outreach to millions of individual companies and organizations that are already using ISO standards (e.g. 1 million companies for ISO 9001 alone….) in both developed and developing countries. And that is what is desperately needed for sustainable development. Speed up and scale up.

Let us hope ISO TMB in their final SR-technical analysis of the input received from the ISO member countries will conclude that ISO 26000 needs to be updated with at least the UN Agenda 2030 and references to the latest SR-related ISO-deliverables. That would greatly help practitioners use ISO 26000:2010 in speeding up and scaling up.

Kind regards,
Staffan, Vice Chair ISO 26000 PPO

3 thoughts on “ISO will decide Dec 2, 2017!”

  1. And, to add to the good argumentation why ISO and not ILO or OECD etc, they are tripartite at the most, meaning government, employers and trade unions sit together, but not consumers, NGOs, academia, etc. That is the real strength of ISO 26000, to include all relevant stakeholders into the SR journey. We need to update ISO 26000 urgently, it is (still) the best tool around to get a really global reach.

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