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Today we have a rather unusual question to ask. It’s this: what is ISO 26000 and why does it matter to us — and, incidentally, to you?

Well, maybe we should start by saying what ISO 26000 actually is. It’s a standard, a standard that has been developed, agreed upon and then launched by The International Organisation for Standardisation. This organisation was founded nearly 70 years ago and, although it’s voluntary, in practice, the fact that it has so many recognised authorities on standards in its membership makes it a respected global standards body.

Yes, yes, we hear you say, but what has that got to do with Musgrave’s business and us, your customers? A good question. Well, ISO 26000 offers guidance to groups like Musgrave on socially responsible behaviour. The idea is that this form of guidance can do something positive for global sustainable development, by encouraging businesses and other organisations to, well, to do the right thing — or (at slightly greater length) to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities.

A good thing, right? Well, we think so, which is why we take it seriously — even though we’re not obliged to. ISO 26000 isn’t a legally enforceable standard but a series of recommendations. They are, however, fairly wide-ranging recommendations covering (to name a few) accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour, human rights, labour practices, the environment, consumer issues and community involvement and development.

And that’s why ISO 26000 matters to us. The concerns this standard highlights are behind pretty much everything we do and we believe we’re making a serious effort to live up to it.

And it seems that we are not the only ones who believe that. You see, Musgrave Group was awarded the Business Working Responsibly Mark at an event in Dublin recently. This is Ireland’s first and only independently audited (by the National Standards Authority of Ireland) certification for responsible and sustainable business practices. And this mark, is — you guessed it — based on ISO 26000. During the process of achieving the mark, Musgrave was assessed against hundreds of measurements under such headings as workplace, marketplace, environment, community, and customer relationship management and communications.

As you can see, then, it’s not just a matter of looking good for our own benefit. A lot of this is about treating you — the customer — and the environment you live in with respect, so we’re delighted that an independent body feels we’re on the right track.

But we didn’t just take the award and feel pleased with ourselves. We only get to keep it for two years in any case and it comes with a roadmap to develop and enhance our sustainable policies and practices into the future. So if we (along with the other companies that have met the criteria) want to keep the award we’re going to have to keep up the good work. And we will. You might call it making sure that everything we do is up to standard.

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