CSR Sweden arranged a breakfast meeting today, focusing ISO 26000. The meeting was hosted by Danske Bank, and Ulrika Huss (Corporate Responsibility coordinator at Danske Bank) first gave us a brief review of their Corporate Responsibility Program.
I have to say that I was impressed. I especially liked their initiatives on "Financial Literacy" (in Swedish: "Privatekonomisk fortbildning"). Danske Bank has identified a huge gap in financial understanding and knowledge in society, and decided to take on the task of educating the public, especially youngsters. They have developed programs for small kids (5 - 9 years old), young "teenagers" (10 - 15 years old), and for the young grown ups (18 to 27 years old).
After Ulrika's presentation of CSR-initiatives by Danske Bank, Bengt Rydstedt from SIS, gave a brief introduction to ISO 26000, the recently published international standard on Social Responsibility.
I have discussed ISO 26000 several times before here at the blog (e.g. September 24 - 2010, September 7 - 2010, July 7 - 2010, Februari 13 - 2009, November 14 - 2008). All of those discussions in Swedish however...
Bengt told us that the standard was published Nov 1, and came with the official Swedish translation last Friday. There will be two important launch-events in Sweden over the coming months, Dec 2 this year "en viktig kväll", and on the Social Responsibility Day Jan 20, 2011.
A large part of our discussions today was related to the fact that the standard is "only a guideline", not a standard to be certified against. As I have stated previously, I think that there will be options to certify your operations nevertheless. I am sure that it will be possible to have a third party evaluate your performance against the different principles and "all should-sentences" in the standard. I became even more convinced on this when bengt told us that the Danish have already decided that they will develop a "certifiable national standard based on 26000". Hence, that would open up for certificates towards that Danish standard also in other countries, as we have done with British Standards previously for instance.
We also had a discussion on the common matter: "Is philanthropy a part of Social Responsibility?". You who have followed me on the blog know that I claim that that is the case. To me it is very obvious that philanthropic initiatives such as our Pfizer Investmenst in Health is part of our total Corporate Social Responsibility. Bengt showed us that this is also how it is stated in the standard: "It is a part of, but it can never be the only thing".
It will be very interesting to follow the process in the coming year when companies and organizations starts to implement the standard in their daily operations. How it will be done? Whether any obvious improvements in the operations are made? And whether or not there will be certificates... Hertz is one of the first examples on a company who publicly states that they are implementing ISO 26000. It will be interesting to see how they chose to verify their success.