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ISO Advisory Group Addresses Corporate Social Responsibility

New York, Jan 24, 2003

A newly formed advisory group of the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Technical Management Board (TMB) met in Toronto recently to consider the viability of developing International Standards in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to an organization’s commitment to operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business. In recent years, a re-evaluation of the roles, rights and responsibilities of business in society, and the responsiveness of businesses to stakeholders’ legal, ethical, social and environmental expectations, has evolved.

ISO’s Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO), on behalf of the global standards community, recently has been engaged in a concentrated effort to address the issue of CSR and the advisory group was formed following a special workshop held in conjunction with the June 2002 COPOLCO plenary meeting in Trinidad. As stated in a resolution from the workshop: “While corporations cannot and should not be expected to assume the role of government in protecting the public interest or providing the legal framework and ensuring the health, education and security of citizens, corporations can exercise leadership in creating communities and societies which are fair and safe for all.”

“CSR is an issue of concern to a significant group of ISO stakeholders,” remarked Richard Johns of Motorola. Johns has been designated by the ANSI International Policy Committee as the “industry” representative for the Americas region on the new ISO Advisory Group. “One of our initial jobs is to discuss the need for ISO to be involved in this area, or whether there are already sufficient codes and regulations on the subject. This meeting was the first step in this process.”

The ISO/TMB is expected to report to ISO Council on the outcome of its work no later than the March 2003 Council meeting.

For additional information, contact Steven P. Cornish, ANSI director of international policy.

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