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Beware Rogue Certification, ISO Warns

Rogue certification of the ISO 26000 sustainability standards is presenting a challenge to code authors the International Organization for Standardisation, according to a recent article.

Certification firms have started “awarding” the ISO 26000 – even though, by definition, the standard is not certifiable, Ethical Corporation reports.

ISO designed the 26000 to be a voluntary guidance standard, not a management system. It therefore is not certifiable, as its cousins the ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 are.

Companies cannot ask their suppliers to comply with ISO 26000 as a condition for doing business, and governments cannot use the standard to develop social responsibility regulation, Ethical Corporation reported.

“Anyone tempted into buying such a service is wasting their money and risks damaging the credibility of their organisation since ISO has made it quite clear that ISO 26000 is not a certification standard,” said Roger Frost, head of communication at the ISO central secretariat in Geneva.

The ISO decided to make the 26000 a set of guidance rather than a certifiable standard because it did not want to overburden business with the cost of certification, sustainability consultant Paul Hohnen told Ethical Corporation. Hohnen participated in the creation of ISO 26000 as a representative of the Global Reporting Initiative.

ISO did not disclose how many rouge certification firms it has found, although Ethical Corporation reported that the ISO secretariat did tell a Swiss firm to stop offering ISO 26000 certification. Some firms even started offering ISO 26000 certification based on the draft version of the standard, before the final version was published.

In related news, employment services firm Manpower Professional and association the American Society for Quality (ASQ) have published a guide to the implications of ISO 26000, designed for business leaders quality control professionals.

A survey of over 1,000 ASQ members and other quality control professionals found that 40 percent were only somewhat or not at all familiar with the concept of social responsibility.

In a piece for Environmental Leader, Chris Knop shared his views on how ISO 26000 will impact the hotel industry.

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One thought on “Beware Rogue Certification, ISO Warns

  1. Social responsible behaviour is somethich full of creativity and dynamics, changing demands of society. It is nothing to tick on boxes. ISO had done well in developing a guidance standard “only”. Certifiers want to make money; they may do so, but not with ISO 26000. The scope of ISO 26000 excludes explicitely certification, contractual or regulatory use. Offering ISO 26000 certificates is dishonest and not in line with the ISO 26000 clause on “Fair operating practices”.

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