Some 400 experts from over 80 countries are taking part in the 7th meeting of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Working Group on Social Responsibility in Québec City through May 22. The purpose of the meeting is to define the ISO 26000 standard, which will provide guidelines for incorporating the principles of sustainable development into the management of organizations. Premier Jean Charest and the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, addressed the event’s participants.
Left to right: Jacques Girard, BNQ Director, Jorge Cajazeira, Chair of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility, Premier Charest and Michel Bourassa, Director of Standards, Standards Council of Canada (SCC). Photo: Marc-André Grenier
Premier Charest began by thanking the experts involved in working out an international sustainable development standard. Minister Arcand stated that the economic, social and environmental upheavals in recent years require concrete action to guarantee development and prosperity that are mindful of the collective well-being.
Minister Arcand also emphasized the role played by La Francophonie in defining the concept of social responsibility, indicating that the IEPF (Institute for Energy and the Environment for Francophone Countries) had helped in preparing the publication of the guidelines for the ISO 26000 standard. The Minister likewise noted that social responsibility was one of the sub-topics discussed at the 12th Summit of La Francophonie held in Québec City in 2008. Francophone countries made a commitment during that Summit to strengthen economic solidarity and cooperation, as well as promote the social responsibility of enterprises.
Minister Arcand was pleased that the meeting is being held in Québec City because it serves to demonstrate Québec’s vitality when it comes to sustainable development and social responsibility. In this regard, he made mention of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Act in 2006 as well as the Government Sustainable Development Strategy 2008-2013.
This is the first time that the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility has met in a French-speaking area. The meeting was organized by the BNQ (Québec Standardization Office), with support from the Ministère des Relations internationales. It was preceded by a symposium on May 14 and 15 entitled “About ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility for Organizations.”
Speech by Minister Arcand
Symposium: About ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility for Organizations