ISO 26000 and the Standardization of Strategic Management Processes for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility


  • Rüdiger Hahn

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Business and Economics, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Rüdiger Hahn, Faculty of Business and Economics, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, 40204 Düsseldorf, Germany. E-mail:

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The standard ISO 26000 aims to provide guidance on social responsibility and help all types of organizations contribute to sustainable development. Such guidance is important since there is still no consistent understanding of what corporate sustainability and social responsibility (CSSR) encompass. Many companies lack a strategic approach to CSSR and instead follow unsystematic procedures; thus, formal strategic planning could improve operational efficiency.

Against this background, this article critically examines the contribution of ISO 26000 to the strategic management processes of different types of companies. This allows the potential of ISO 26000 for guiding companies on their path to sustainability to be identified. The analysis shows that the standard is most useful for beginners in CSSR. However, ISO 26000 does not cover the entire range of strategic management processes. Instead, the standard is especially helpful for internal and external analyses and in providing starting points for implementing sustainability strategies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.