ISO 26000: Quality System for Ensuring Social Responsibility

Businesses and organisations cannot be separated from society. To run a business or an organisation efficiently, their relationship with society and the environment play a major role. Their attitude towards society and the environment play a significant role in their success and it defines their ability to continue to operate effectively. These days, their overall performance is measured by these relationship factors.

ISO 26000 provides guidelines for organisations to perform in socially responsible ways. This gives a direction to the organisations on working in an ethical and transparent way for the welfare of society. ISO 26000 is an international standard providing guidance on social responsibility to any organisation, regardless of its place of operation, types of operations, and the size of the organisation.

ISO 26000:2010 is focused on providing guidance rather than requirements, so it cannot be certified, unlike some other well-known ISO standards. Instead, it helps in understanding social responsibility and shares best practices related to social responsibilities with organisations so that these organisations can translate their principles into effective actions. It is applicable for all types of organisations regardless of their activity, size, or location.

This Standard was launched in 2010 after five years of interaction between several different stakeholders worldwide. Representatives of governments, non-governmental organisations, industry, consumer groups, and labour organisations across the world were involved in its development, which shows that it represents an international consensus. On the basis of surveys and other sources, ISO 26000 has already been adopted by 80 countries out of 160 ISO member countries as the national standard and there are still 21 countries in the adoption process. ISO 26000 is available in more than 31 languages.

Principles of ISO 26000

The key principles of ISO 26000, which are given as the roots of socially responsible behaviour, are discussed as below.


An organisation should take responsibility for all its decisions and activities. It should feel the accountability of all its decisions and their impact on society.


The decisions and activities of an organisation have a great impact on society, so all the activities and decisions must be transparent. A transparent operation does not mean sharing commercially sensitive information. It means to communicate openly with stakeholders about both corporate and CSR vision, goals, and objectives.

Ethical Behaviour

The behaviour of an organisation should be based on the ethics of honesty, equity, and integrity. These ethics contain a commitment to addressing the interests of people, the environment, and stakeholders. An organisation must have ethical behaviour all the time.

Respect for Stakeholder Interests

Stakeholders are individuals or groups who are affected by, or have the ability to influence, the actions of the organisation. An organisation should respect and respond to the interests of its stakeholders.

Respect for the Rule of Law

It is essential to have respect for the rule of law and an organisation must accept this fact.

Respect for International Norms of Behaviour

An organisation should also respect the international norms of behaviour, while following the rules and regulations.

Respect for Human Rights

‘Human rights’ is a broad term which means respectful treatment of all individuals, without focusing on their personal characteristics, because they are human beings. Organisations should understand the importance and universality of human rights, and they must give respect to human rights.


Quality systems may be defined as techniques/methodologies a manufacturer must follow to ensure that all the products manufactured meet the specifications. In this chapter, various quality management systems have been covered. Gap assessment is also covered in the chapter. Evolution, implementation, and case studies of ISO 9001 standards have been explained in detail. Further, some other standards such as ISO 14000, TS 16949, and ISO 26000 are also explained in brief.

Points to Remember

Quality systems: Quality systems may be defined as techniques/methodologies a manufacturer must follow to ensure that all the products manufactured meet the specifications.

ISO 9001:2015: The new ISO 9001:2015 quality management system ensures that consumers get efficient and reliable products of the required quality with better service. It will result in increased profit for a business.

Gap assessment: Gap assessment is an important step to be performed while implementing a quality system. In this process, the existing quality management system is compared with the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard.

ISO 14000: The main aim of the ISO 14000 standard is to motivate organisations to incorporate environmental concerns into their operations and product standards.

ISO 26000: ISO 26000 provides guidelines for organisations to perform in a socially responsible way.

Self-Assessment Questions

  • 1. What do you understand by quality systems?
  • 2. Explain the military quality system.
  • 3. Write a short note on the ISO 9000 quality system.
  • 4. What are the requirements of ISO 9000?
  • 5. Explain the various editions of ISO 9000.
  • 6. What are the seven quality management principles of the ISO 9000 series?
  • 7. What are the various steps for implementation of ISO 9001?
  • 8. ‘Implementing quality management standards improves the effectiveness of the result.’ Validate this statement with a case study.
  • 9. Explain the QS/TS 16949 Quality System for the Automotive Industry.
  • 10. Explain the ISO 13485 Quality System for Medical Devices.
  • 11. Explain the AS 9100 Quality System for the Aerospace Industry.
  • 12. Explain the ISO 14000: Environmental Management System (EMS).
  • 13. Explain the ISO 26000: Quality System for Ensuring Social Responsibility.
  • 14. List the various benefits of EMS.


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