ECPAR | Espace québécois de concertation sur les pratiques d'approvisionnement responsable

Social responsibility

Sustainable development is a strategy that involves societies in their entirety. Social responsibility is an organization’s contribution to sustainable development. It is now widely recognized that public and private organizations significantly contribute to sustainable development when they assume their social responsibility.

The  ISO 26000 standard defines the concept of social responsibility: 

“Social responsibility is the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that:
  • Contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society
  • Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders
  • Is in compliance with applicable laws and consistent with international norms of behaviour
  • Is integrated throughout the organization and practised in its relationships
The activities include products, services and processes, and the relationships refer to an organization’s activities within its sphere of influence.” (ISO 26000, 2010, p. 4).
The ISO 26000 standard is focused on an organization’s responsibility to limit the negative impacts of its activities as well as those of its sphere of influence, which is defined as the “the range/extent of political, contractual, economic and other relationships through which an organization has the ability to affect the decisions or activities of individuals or organizations.”
The supply chain is an area in which an organization can exert its influence. In most cases, this influence is proportional to the supplier’s share of production that the organization’s purchases represent and increases when organizations in a given sector agree to set out similar sustainable development requirements for their suppliers.