ISO 26000:2010 (Social Responsibility Guidance) Released 1

The ISO 26000:2010 social responsibility guidelines have been finalized and published.  It is now possible to add social responsibility “core subjects” from this new standard to an ISO 14001:2004 or ISO 9001:2008 program.  This would create an integrated sustainability management standard.  ISO 26000:2010 cannot be used alone as a sustainability management system.

CAPACCIO likes this standard since it clearly articulates a wide range of social responsibility issues that sustainable companies need to watch closely; e.g., community involvement, human rights, labor issues, and consumer/customer issues.  Incorporating conformance to social issues within a management system will help coordinate those who manage the environmental responsibilities with those that manage the social responsibilities.

A recent survey found that 86% of employees are not engaged by their employers on sustainability even though the same amount – 86% – said that their organization promotes employee sustainability.  It is possible to engage employees more effectively using a management system rather than relying on only on training and awareness.  A properly implemented management system can make sustainability part of what every employee does every day by including it in the work instructions and every aspect of their involvement with the organization.  CAPACCIO is already seeing this make a difference with our clients that are integrating their sustainability efforts directly with their sustainability efforts.  The new ISO 26000:2010 standard will make this effort easier and more effective.

CAPACCIO is preparing a “white paper” on how to use ISO 26000:2010 with your management systems.  Please reserve a copy by contacting Bob Pojasek at rpojasek@capaccio.com or calling him – 508-970-0033 Ext. 137.

Separating Energy Management from Environmental Management 1

Voting on a draft Energy Management System (ISO/DIS 5001) came to an end on August 26, 2010. The project committee (ISO/PC 242) will seek to resolve comments and issue the final standard by mid-2011. Companies will be able to seek certification to this standard or use it to self-declare their energy management system. It is interesting to note that this energy management system will NOT be part of the widely used ISO 14000 (EMS) series. The separation of this management system standard was supported by ANSI and Georgia Tech. They teamed up in the past to write ANSI MSE 2000 – the predecessor to ISO 50001. More…

Sustainability as a Regulatory Requirement Reply

Sustainability developed initially as a voluntary activity.  Some companies have even referred to their sustainability or corporate responsibility efforts as, “doing well by doing good!” however, there are some changes in the works that would move at least parts of sustainability into a company’s regulatory compliance program.  Some of your customers may be demanding that you have a formal sustainability program.  Walmart is a good example of a company who has an initiative that many retail customers are following.  It consists of a number of required sustainability elements. Walmart enforces these requirements by training and sending out a cadre of auditors to make sure that the requirements are being adhered to. 

The United States Government has also notified 600,000 government contractors that they have to adhere to the greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements articulated in the Presidential Executive Order #13514. If these contractors do not begin making progress against these established goals, they could lose their contracts.

If your firm is publicly traded, or you work for a customer that is publicly traded, there is growing pressure from investors to have sustainability programs implemented throughout a supply chain.  Investors are organizing in an effort to share information and keep pressure on their targets.  One such group, Investor Network on Climate Risk, has supported a large number of stockholder proxies at annual meetings this year.  These groups have websites with best practices and toolkits to help investors be more effective at demanding sustainability throughout a supply chain.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and other watchdog government groups are making sure that companies are properly disclosing their risks associated with climate change and other environmental, social and economic issues.  Investor groups have been relentless in making sure that their concerns are addressed in the disclosure process, such as Form 10K reports.

Corporate Responsibility Magazine reported on the “100 Worst Corporate Citizens.” As transparency is considered the holy grail of sustainability, they were looking for companies that had little to no sustainability information on their websites.  There are also demands for accountability – setting goals and targets followed by reporting on the progress being made to attain these goals.  It is amazing just how much information on a company’s sustainability is being posted on the Internet these days. This makes it easier to conduct valid benchmarking unless, of course, the data is not accurate.

New International Sustainability Management System Standard Reply

After over five years and nearly 2,500 written comments, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has announced that it will release a final draft of ISO 26000 (international standard for social responsibility) for a two-month vote (August and September) by ISO member countries. Following the vote, it will become published as a full-fledged ISO International Standard by November, 2010.  This new standard will be in the form of a guidance document like ISO 14004 (environmental management system guidance).  You will not be able to certify to this standard.  Instead, by using the information in the document, your company will be able to convert an ISO 14001 (EMS) into a sustainability management system (SMS).

So what does this mean to you?  While the standard refers to “social responsibility,” it is really outlining what most people are calling “sustainability.”  They have taken all of the three responsibilities of sustainability and divided them into manageable “core subjects.”  For example, there are core subjects on environment, consumer issues, community involvement, labor practices and a number of other social and economic topics.  The current draft has one of the best set of consensus information on each of these topics and how they can relate to a sustainability program.  Like other ISO documents, this standard is not prescriptive.  The guidance clearly states that companies can select the core subjects that pertain to their operations and determine what each should cover.  If you wish to start with environmental sustainability, that is fine.  Social and economic core subjects can be added at a later time.

Next, the ISO 26000 guidance addresses a set of principles that should be considered when planning, implementing and maintaining a sustainability program.  This is very helpful since guiding principles are very important in adapting the program to take advantage of the company culture.  Companies that have already implemented sustainability programs can strengthen them using this new standard.

Finally, the ISO 26000 document provides guidance on how to integrate sustainability throughout the organization.  This is very important to implement a corporate sustainability program at the facility level and make it part of what every employee does every day.

We will be posting more blogs on this topic.  Since this guidance already exists in draft form, there is little need to wait until the final publication to start creating an integrated SMS for your company.