Rwanda should embrace the ISO 26000 social responsibly standard because it contributes to sustainable development and promotes healthy eco-systems, social equity and good organisational gorvenance, an expert has advised.
Jonathon Hanks, a South Africa-based international expert on standardisation, said when adopted, the ISO 26000 social responsibly standard helps firms gain a competitive advantage, enhance their reputation and ability to attract and retain workers, as well as increase their market share.
Hanks was speaking during a stakeholders seminar on the implementation and benefits of social responsibility standard organised by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards at the standards body headquarters in Kicukiro, Kigali.
The standard, adopted by 163 countries across the world, also strengthens consumers confidence, resulting into increased profitability, he pointed out.
“There are no short cuts; it is every company’s responsibility to give back to communities because without them you have no business,” Omar said.
Dr Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) director general, said many companies were not aware of the standard or its benefits.
“Though some companies are already applying the standard unknowingly, we need to sensitise them about it as it is essential to ensure sustainable productivity and growth of a business and the economy at large,” he told participants.
Bagabe added that the ISO 26000 standard is optional, but noted that it is morally important for firms to give back to communities in which they operate.
Didas Ngumire, factory inspector from SORWATE Ltd, said giving back to community builds public trust and confidence in firms, which is an important aspect for business’ survival.
Jack Nsengiyumva, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority standards and regulations officer, argued that the standard might not be effective if it not made mandatory.
“It’s important that standards that impact society positively are certifiable or even made mandatory,” said Nsengiyumva