Ebook review: Making the most of standards

13th May 2013

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Making the most of standards

Adrian Henriques / Do Sustainability / ebook £30 / ISBN 978-1-9092-9325-0

“The world of corporate responsibility standards is large and confusing” states the abstract to this DoShorts addition. The 90-minute ebook aims to cut through this morass with insights into the most prominent standards to show how they relate to each other and to offer guidance in choosing and implementing corporate responsibility standards.

The array of standards and standards bodies can indeed appear bewildering and this straightforward guide is broadly successful in its aims. It begins with an overview, briefly laying out the argument for and against standards in improving organisational performance.

This is followed by a concise description of some of the more prominent standards, characterised as “fundamental”, “broad spectrum”, “organisational practice” and “special purpose”.

Each description follows the same format, aiding comparison, and providing information on the background and purpose of each standard; development and governance; and its use in practice. Most are illustrated by a brief case study.

The author is an adviser in corporate responsibility and has contributed to the development of standards, notably ISO 26000. In the final sections of the book, he draws on this experience to offer practical insights into choosing and using sustainability standards. He concludes with a cautionary note that standards are not a goal, rather a tool for achieving desired outcomes.

Although this ebook doesn’t offer detailed analysis, it successfully deconstructs the standards world and is recommended as a concise introduction for both the sustainability professional grappling with diverse and complex issues, and the organisational manager seeking appropriate tools to advance performance and accountability.

Review by Caroline Coyle, sustainability consultant and specialist in tourism and events

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