World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is celebrating the inclusion of animal welfare in the newly launched ISO Standard 26000 as a historic first. The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) new guidelines, the ISO 26000, are internationally accepted standards on social responsibility for all organisations, public, private or third sector.
The inclusion of animal welfare in these standards will encourage a large number of entities to acknowledge the importance of the wellbeing of animals whilst attempting to attain the ISO standard, according to WSPA.
Although ISO standards are voluntary, they are highly sought after as a certification standard. These standards stipulate what organisations need to do in order to state that they operate in a socially responsible manner – organisations that carry the ISO 26000 certification will be recognisable as having incorporated animal welfare in everything they do.
Animal welfare has been integrated into actions governing ethical behaviour, consumer issues and community involvement as well as development, specifically in wealth and income creation.
WSPA, together with Dutch consumers association, Goede Waar & Co, were included in the working group discussing the development of ISO 26000. The discussions on ISO 26000 began in 2005, and the working group formed by ISO was the largest in the Swiss-based organisation’s history. Nearly 400 experts from 99 countries were involved in discussing the new standards and although the initial focus was on corporate responsibility, it was decided to open the standard up to include all types of organisations, including government-owned businesses and non-governmental organisations.