Corporate Social Responsibilities

Quality Glossary Definition: Social responsibility

Social responsibility is a means of achieving sustainability. Adopting key social responsibility principles, such as accountability and transparency, can help ensure the long-term viability and success of any organization or system.

  • - Core subjects and key principles
  • - Social responsibility in business
  • - History of social responsibility and quality
  • - Social responsibility resources

In 2010, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published an international standard, ISO 26000, to help organizations assess and address their social responsibilities. ISO 26000-2010: Guidance on Social Responsibility defines social responsibility as:

The responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:

  • - Contributes to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society
  • - Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders
  • - Is in compliance with applicable laws and consistent with international norms of behavior
  • - Is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships

Organizations can achieve sustainability by paying careful attention to their impact on society and the environment. Behaving in a transparent, ethical manner ensures an approach that helps protect the long-term success of society and the environment.

Another tenet of social responsibility is the triple bottom line, also known as "people, planet, and profit." This is the belief that achieving profit does not require harm to the planet or the exploitation of people. Organizations can profit while also taking care of the planet and people.