This article discusses the significance of ISO 26000 and how the Internet of Things can help organizations achieve conformance.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become prominent in business operations worldwide. Thanks to sharper oversight from governments, industry regulators, and customers, companies are increasingly being held accountable for their social and environmental impacts.
However, not all organizations recognize the significance of social responsibility. Factors like industry, location, and budget influence an organization's motivation to "do the right thing." For those who want to be responsible, the challenge becomes figuring out how to operationalize CSR to benefit both the company and society.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) introduced the ISO 26000 standard to give organizations a much-needed sense of understanding and direction on CRS matters. ISO 26000 provides guidelines that help steer companies toward a more socially responsible, mutually beneficial path.
Today's post discusses the significance of ISO 26000 and how the Internet of Things can help organizations uphold these standards.
What is ISO 26000?
ISO 26000 is the international standard established to help organizations address the social responsibilities relevant to their mission and vision, operations, employees, customers, communities, and environment.
Published in 2010, ISO 26000 presents comprehensive documentation of social responsibilities for all organizations, regardless of size, location, or business model.
ISO 26000 does not carry a certification. Instead, it is merely intended to offer guidance toward meeting social responsibility. It guides organizations on:
1. Assessing social responsibility and getting stakeholders on board
2. Creating a socially responsible culture within the organization
3. The seven fundamental principles of social responsibility:
- Ethical conduct
- Respect for stakeholder interests
- Respect for the law
- Respect for international behavior norms
- Respect for human rights
4. The seven core social responsibility subjects:
- Fair operating practices
- Human rights
- Labor practices
- Consumer issues
- Community development
- The environment
Besides helping organizations understand and address social responsibility, ISO 26000 emphasizes performance tracking and continuous improvement in social responsibility efforts. The standard urges users to report performance periodically to the stakeholders affected, detailing achievements, shortfalls, and next steps.
Why Should You Adhere to ISO 26000?
Although ISO 26000 does not come with any certification, conformance presents several compelling benefits. Some of these include.
- Better reputation: Effective CSR helps you win the hearts of employees, customers, and other stakeholders, which improves your organization's outlook. Studies indicate that social responsibility accounts for more than 40% of a company's reputation.
- High customer retention rates: Customers are more likely to remain loyal to companies that uphold social responsibility. Research shows that 46% of customers pay close attention to a brand's CSR efforts when they buy a product.
- Improved employee morale and retention: CSR excellence attracts top talent and boosts employee morale and retention. A Porter Novelli report reveals that 88% of employees believe it is unacceptable for companies to profit at the expense of society.
- Investor interest: Many investors now include CSR factors in their analysis process to identify opportunities. According to Gartner, 85% of investors considered environment, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investments in 2020.
How Can IoT Promote ISO 26000 Conformance?
ISO 26000 emphasizes the critical need for organizations to pursue their strategic objectives while adhering to social and environmental laws. Technology has significant potential to assist with this goal. With the Internet of Things, your organization can break away from traditional CSR approaches and accelerate its journey toward greater impact.
Below are four ways IoT supports ISO 26000 conformance.
1. Measuring Performance
that the top reason CSR efforts fail is ineffective measurement. Corporations lack the tools required to gauge the impact of their actions, which prevents them from implementing successful initiatives and reduces accountability in failed projects. The few solutions most companies use to measure performance rely on human input, often from their employees, and as a result, fail to provide accurate, objective results.
IoT solutions can help bolster CSR measurement by automatically collecting and analyzing data to provide real-time, unbiased insights into performance.
For example, a chemical manufacturing plant can use sensors to detect harmful chemicals in surrounding waterways and continuously track the effectiveness of its wastewater treatment processes, reducing its reliance on subjective, error-prone manual monitoring and reporting.
2. Communicating with Stakeholders
ISO 26000 recommends that organizations keep stakeholders updated on their social responsibility efforts. Unfortunately, most companies still rely on traditional methods like news releases, annual reports, and events to communicate updates, which are no longer effective in the digital age.
IoT can help by providing a platform for real-time communication between organizations and their stakeholders. For example, a grocery store chain can use IoT-enabled shelves to provide shoppers with information about a product's origin, manufacturing process, and environmental impact.
The store can also deliver surveys directly to shoppers' smartphones to gather feedback about their CSR efforts and make necessary improvements.
3. Increasing Transparency
Transparency is an essential aspect of social responsibility. Today's customers highly favor companies that can show traces, origins, proofs, and entire lifecycles of their CSR claims, and they are quick to point out inauthentic or misleading statements.
Organizations that lack transparency risk being perceived as untrustworthy and irresponsible. They also miss out on opportunities to build relationships with stakeholders and improve their CSR performance.
IoT can help increase transparency by providing reliable avenues for collecting and sharing CSR performance data. For instance, a company using GPS and RFID tags to track the progress of its sustainable sourcing efforts and update its stakeholders openly demonstrates its commitment to social responsibility.
4. Enhancing Collaboration
Collaboration is key to successful social responsibility. Organizations must work with other companies, governments, non-profits, and local communities to make a significant impact.
Conventional communication and coordination methods are inadequate in today's globalized, digital world. With IoT, organizations can achieve reliable, real-time connections with relevant parties across supply chains, sectors, and geographies.
For example, a logistics company working to reduce its environmental impact can connect to a citywide IoT network and receive real-time data on traffic patterns and weather conditions. This information can help the company optimize routes to reduce its carbon footprint.
Bolster your ISO 26000 Conformance Efforts with IoT
Socio-economic challenges like climate change, income inequality, and human rights violations call for a new level of corporate social responsibility. To meet this demand, corporations must go beyond chasing certifications and adopt a proactive, intentional, and long-standing CSR strategy.
If you are keen on improving your organization's social responsibility performance and upholding ISO 26000 standards, consider integrating the Internet of Things into your CSR efforts. With its ability to provide real-time data, facilitate communication, increase transparency, and enhance collaboration, IoT can help you take your CSR strategy to the next level and make a lasting impact.
Do you want to learn more about how IoT can help you with your CSR strategy? Email IoT2Market at email@example.com today, and we will be happy to advise.