Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined in ISO 26000 as the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities caused in society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that:
- Contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society;
- takes into consideration the expectations of its stakeholders;
- complies with applicable law and is consistent with international norms of behaviour; and
- is integrated throughout the organization and is put into practice in their relationships
The trend toward socially responsible organizations is increasing, considering the policies of some of the most globally prominent investment funds that only invest in companies that demonstrate certain characteristics in this area. That is why a large number of standards, indicators, indices and codes of conduct have been developed with the standards being the most developed instruments as far as a tool to independently show the implementation of CSR in organizations by means of certification processes.
There are over 200 CSR rules or principles, making it difficult to compare between different companies. However, not all have the same degree of visibility and notoriety, while the GRI Global Reporting Initiative is the one that looks like it has the advantage.
We have selected the most important standards:
GRI Global Reporting Initiative
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an independent institution established in 1999 with the mission to provide a reliable and credible framework for preparing sustainability reports that can be used by organizations regardless of size, sector or location.
Today, GRI guidelines are the main international standard for preparing sustainability reports.
This standard was published in 2010 and developed by ISO (International Standard Organization) in order to guide organizations on how to implement CSR. It is a non-certifiable standard.
ISO 26000 is a guide resulting from a consensus among international experts representing the main stakeholders and is designed to encourage and promote the implementation of Social Responsibility best practices internationally.
Standard SA 8000
It is a voluntary management standard developed by SAI (Social Accountability International) of the United Nations, published in 1997 on working conditions and an independent control system for the ethical production of goods and services as well as suitable working conditions.
It focuses on different conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which focuses on avoiding the competitive advantage of lower production costs through a lower level in working conditions. This standard is very interesting for companies that are active in countries with a less demanding social and cultural environment than the West and therefore with lower development aspects in safety and health at work, which is why it is currently the management standard that is the most widespread in emerging countries, especially in the area of Southeast Asia.
The AA 1000 series comes from the UK, developed in 1999 by Accountability with the goal of integrating management, auditing and communication CSR aspects.
The main feature of the AA 1000 is the development of an elaborate methodology that begins with the identification of the demands of stakeholders and is followed by the redefinition of values.
Standard SGE 21
SGE 21 is the first European system for social responsibility that voluntarily enables auditing processes and achieves certification in Management Ethics and Social Responsibility.
The system is comprised of models such as those for quality and the environment, which enriched through a multi stakeholder vision.
Other standards or principles
- The Global Compact of the United Nations
- The principles of “The Caux Round Table” (CRT)
- The Global Sullivan Principles
- SME Rating
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