ISO Considers Standards For Corporate Social Responsibility

By Peter Strozniak The International Organization for Standardization is conducting a feasibility study to look at developing standards for corporate social responsibility. ISO's committee on consumer policy (COPOLCO) has set up an online forum hosted by the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs. The forum is being used to gather viewpoints and to promote discussions on corporate-social-responsibility initiatives. "The reason for COPOLCO to take up the matter is that an increasing number of consumers are expressing their concern regarding the social integrity of corporations in their operations in the global marketplace," Niles Ringstedt, COPOLCO chairman, said in a prepared statement. "In this field, ISO international standards could play a useful role in laying out guidelines or looking at specific areas where defining conduct could be helpful." According to one survey, four in ten Americans say they have a high level of respect for companies that build a solid brand reputation but almost eight in ten strongly endorse firms known to give back generously to the communities in which they operate. The U.S. survey, based on a sample of 1,000 adults, was conducted by Toronto-based Environics International Ltd., a public opinion research firm. To join the online forum contact Kernaghan Webb, senior legal policy advisor and chief of research at the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs. His email address is [email protected].

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