Update of ISO developments in the field of CSR

Source: ISO, 7 October 2003

A number of developments relevant to CSR have happened at the ISO level over the past few months:

(1) the ISO Advisory Group on Corporate Social Responsibility has met, and worked out a process for selecting a service provider to assist them in
developing a "state of the art of CSR and issues" document, and timelines for this and related items;
(2) the ISO Consumer Policy Committee has met, and issued a recommendation concerning ISO CSR work;
(3) the ISO Technical Management Board has met, and provided guidance concerning next steps;
(4) the service provider has been selected to develop background work for the Advisory Group’s report on the state of the art of CSR and issues
(5) timelines for future work have been clarified; and
(6) two new members to the Advisory Group have been added.

Each of these six items is discussed in more detail below.
Please bear in mind that the following represents the views of the ISO Consumer Policy Committee representative to the ISO Advisory Group on Corporate Social Responsibility, and so should not be considered the authoritative views of the ISO Advisory Group or of ISO itself.

(1) ISO Advisory Group on Social Responsibility meeting

On July 24 – 25, 2003, the ISO Advisory Group on Social Responsibility met in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Key decisions emerging from that meeting included:

*****a recommendation that the ISO Technical Management Board appoint additional Advisory Group members, preferably including one from an
international Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (World Wildlife Fund for Nature was identified), one from an international Human Rights
Organization; and one from an industry group. To the extent possible, the hope was expressed that some of the new members were from Africa and or

****** a process for selecting a service provider to assist the Advisory Group in development of a "report on the state of the art of CSR/key issues
to be addressed" document was finalized.

****** a rough time line for work over the coming months was sketched out, which would see an ISO conference on Social Responsibility in Summer, 2004,
finalization of the state of the art of CSR/issues document in the fall-winter 2004, and completion of the justification study on ISO social responsibility management standards as well as final Advisory Group recommendations completed by summer, 2005.

(2) ISO Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO) Recommendation on ISO CSR work.

It will be recalled that ISO COPOLCO produced a report on the feasibility and desirability of ISO CSR standards in 2002, and that this report became
the basis for ISO COPOLCO recommendations to ISO Council that ISO develop CSR management systems standards, and that ISO establish a multi-stakeholder advisory group to establish broad based support for this work. At its annual meeting in Bangkok, on September 8 – 9, 2003, ISO COPOLCO made the following recommendation:


– notes that the COPOLCO recommendation for the establishment of an advisory group to the TMB to explore the feasibility of developing an International
Standard on Corporate Social Responsibility was made in 2002,
– further notes the recent activity in the development of national and other standards on CSR which is leading to a proliferation of benchmarks,
– requests ISO to promote the speedy completion of the Technical Report on CSR, and promptly to begin work on the justification study,
– urges ISO to take necessary measures to further work towards producing appropriate ISO deliverables on CSR as soon as possible.

(3) meeting of ISO Technical Management Board (TMB)

The ISO Technical Management Board met September 15 – 16 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Of relevance to the Advisory Group’s work, the ISO TMB made the following resolution:

Technical Management Board resolution 59/2003
Advisory Group on Corporate social responsibility

The Technical Management Board,

– thanks the Advisory Group and its Chairman for their work, reports and recommendations to date,
– accepts the recommendation of the AG to add three new members, and endorses the specific addition of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature as one of these new members,
– decides the Advisory Group shall initially produce the following deliverables:

******a working report of the AG, produced by a consultant and reviewed by the AG, presenting information on the state of art and the range of Social
Responsibility initiatives currently under way,
******a listing and analysis of issues for further consideration related to the need for International Standards for Social Responsibility,
– decides that the AG shall produce first drafts of the working report and the listing and analysis of issues for further consideration in time for the
January 2004 ISO/TMB meeting. Final versions of these deliverables shall be presented to the ISO/TMB by the end of April 2004.
– accepts the proposal to organize an international conference on Social
Responsibility immediately prior to its June 2004 meeting. The intent of this conference will be to obtain broad stakeholder input to support the
possible development of the Guide 72 justification study,
– decides that the international conference will be organized by the ISO Central Secretariat working with the ISO/TMB and the AG Chairman. AG
members may provide input on the organization of this conference via their Chairman,
– at its June 2004 meeting, the ISO/TMB will decide on further actions, based on all of the above, including the form in which the report will be
disseminated, e.g. publication as a technical report.

(4) Selection of Service Provider

Following an interview process, ERM (Environmental Resources Management) was selected by the ISO Advisory Group on CSR to undertake the service provider work in support of the development of "state of the art of CSR/issues" document to be prepared by the ISO Advisory Group on CSR.

(5) Clarification of timelines

Following communications with the secretary to the Technical Management Board, there has been some clarification on the timelines for work of the
ISO Advisory Group on Corporate Social Responsibility:
******a first draft of the state of the art of CSR/issues document is to be submitted to the TMB for their consideration at a TMB meeting to be held 27-28 January 2004.
******the final version of this document is to be submitted to the TMB by the end of April 2004.
*******the ISO international conference on CSR will be held in June 2004 -tentatively on 7-8 June 2004 in Geneva (Switzerland).
*******timelines and tasks beyond this point will be worked out by ISO TMB at a June, 2004 meeting.

(6) New Advisory Group members

Two new members of the advisory group have been announced:

Dr. Abdelmalek Chafai Elalaoui, Administrator, Service de Normalisation
Industrielle Marocaine, Morocco.

Mr. Gordon Shepherd, Director for International Policy of World Wildlife
Fund for Nature International.

In addition, Mr. Paul Hohnen, Director of Strategic Development, takes over
from Mr. Allen White as the Global Reporting Initiative’s representative to
the Advisory Group.