How can SMEs implement Social Responsibility practices? The Canadian Standards Association has the answer
This guest blog post is provided by the Strategic Policy Sector (SPS), which provides policy leadership for Innovation, Science and Economic Development and works to achieve an integrated approach to policy formulation by developing and advising on policies aimed at the growth of economic prosperity in Canada, including sustainable development.
A new National Standard of Canada on Social Responsibility (SR) has recently been published by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) – CAN/CSA ISO 26000 – Guidance on Social Responsibility. The new standard is useful for all firms in Canada, including SMEs, and provides valuable knowledge on how to embed SR practices into daily operations and core business strategies.
What is social responsibility?
Social responsibility is about behaving ethically and with sensitivity towards economic, social, cultural and environmental issues. Developing social responsibility practices helps individuals, organizations and governments have a more positive impact on development, business and society. While companies in Canada must comply with laws and regulations, SR is generally about voluntary practices that go beyond compliance with the law.
How will social responsibility benefit an SME?
There is a strong business case for implementing SR as integration has proven to improve reputation and brand, increase access to markets and customers, attract new investors and highly qualified employees, and develop new supply chain partners. Companies that demonstrate a commitment to continually improve their SR practices have a more positive impact on society, and are more equipped to mitigate risks and identify new opportunities for innovative products and services.
What does the guide include?
The guide provides everything an organization needs to know about social responsibility including the core principles of:
- Ethical and international norms of behaviour
- Stakeholder interests
- Human rights
These principles are integrated into guidance on the core subject areas of:
- Fair operating and labour practices
- Organizational governance
- Community involvement and development
SMEs that are already passionate about social responsibility can also benefit from the new guide by further expanding their SR practices. For example, the guide demonstrates how to assess your supply chain for SR practices, and can help you ensure that there is no child or forced labour producing inputs into the products or services you distribute in Canada.
For more information on the standard, contact CSA at 1-800-463-6727 or visit their website.