ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ISO Spearheads Conference on Social Responsibility

New York, Feb 10, 2004

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is planning an international conference on the social responsibility of organizations on June 21-22, 2004. The event will be hosted by the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) in Stockholm, Sweden. Input received from the conference will complement the current ISO exploration of social responsibility and will help form the basis for an ISO decision on whether or not to launch the development of International Standards or other ISO tools addressing this issue.

"Before deciding to commit ISO resources to work on international reference or guidance documents on the social responsibility of organizations, it is important for us to establish that there is sufficient support for ISO to become involved and that work we would undertake would not be duplicating what already exists, but actually add value and recognition," said ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden.

ISO established an advisory group on social responsibility (SR) in early 2003 to help it decide whether an eventual involvement in SR by ISO would add any value to already existing initiatives and programs. The group's exploratory work is proceeding along two axes:

  • a resource report being developed with the assistance of the London-based consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) providing information and analyses of current SR initiatives around the world;
  • an analysis undertaken by the advisory group based on the resource report of the issues and challenges that ISO will need to consider, and a set of corresponding recommendations.

The report and recommendations are expected to be finalized by the end of April 2004. ISO will take a decision on the next steps at a meeting in June 2004, when it will also be able to take into account the feedback provided by the international conference.

Participation in the conference is open to ISO member body delegations as well as representatives of concerned international organizations. The American National Standards Institute is accepting requests from individuals interested in being considered for a position on the ANSI delegation. Requests may be directed to Steven Cornish, ANSI international policy director, and must be received by Friday, February 27, 2004

The ANSI ISO Council (AIC) Ad Hoc Group on Social Responsibility will meet on March 9, 2004, at which it will review all potential delegates and develop a recommendation on the ANSI delegation's composition for approval at the March 11, 2004 AIC meeting.