Integration of Social Responsibility into the Norwegian Environmental Certification Scheme Eco-Lighthouse (Miljøfyrtårn): A comparison with ISO 26000 Guidance on social responsibility
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Eco-Lighthouse (Miljøfyrtårn) is a Norwegian environmental certification scheme adminis-trated by the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation (Stiftelsen Miljøfyrtårn). In connection with the release of ISO 26000 Guidance on social responsibility, the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is considering the possibility of integrating more social responsibility into the certification scheme. The Eco-Lighthouse scheme consists of 72 sets of requirements, as per April 16, 2010. The first set of requirements Requirements for all branches (Krav til alle bransjer) applies to all organisations regardless of activity. The remaining 71 sets of requirements consist of branch specific requirements. For an organisation to get an Eco-Lighthouse certification it needs to fulfil Requirements for all branches as well as at least one set of branch specific requirements.The aim of this study is to investigate to what extent the content of ISO 26000 can be found in the branch requirements of the Eco-Lighthouse scheme. Due to the time limitation of the study only three sets of requirements are investigated; Requirement for all branches and branch specific requirements for Office activities and Main offices.The method chosen for investigation is a mixture of three different analysis methods. Docu-ment analysis to examine the content of ISO 26000 and identify criteria that can be compared with Eco-Lighthouse requirements, thematic analysis is used to link Eco-Lighthouse require-ments to ISO 26000 criteria, and gap analysis is used to highlight the differences between the two standards.ISO 26000 is organised in seven core subjects; Organisational governance, Human rights, Labour practices, The environment, Fair operating practices, Consumer issues, and Commu-nity involvement and development. The core subjects are subdivided into issues, except in the case of Organisational governance. The Eco-Lighthouse requirements investigated in this study can mainly be found in three core subjects; Organisational governance, The environ-ment, and Labour practices. Within the core subject The environment, Eco-Lighthouse score highest in the issues: Prevention of pollution and Sustainable resource use. Within Labour practices, an especially high score is found in Health and safety at work since many of the requirements are based on Norwegian laws and regulations.The main focus of the Eco-Lighthouse scheme is on environmental issues relating to internal processes of the organisation. That is management, working environment for the employees, purchasing and material use, energy consumption, transportation, and emission and waste management. There is also some focus on upstream suppliers in the value chain but nothing concerning the downstream end of the value chain. There are many environmental impacts connected with the use phase and end-of-life phase of a product. This corresponds to the ISO 26000 core subject of consumer issues.The result of the analysis was presented and discussed together with representatives of Fokus Bank, who were participating in the development of the branch requirements for main offices. In their opinion it is important to focus on the whole value chain and therefore they would like to see requirements which ensure that companies take responsibility for their products and services even after they have left the company, i.e. when used by costumers and finally dis-carded. However, it is also important that the implementation of those requirements focuses on essentials. If the cost of implementing actions to meet the requirements is too high in rela-tion to the environmental and societal benefits, companies might as well refrain from certify-ing themselves.As a provider of an environmental certification scheme, the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is recommended to extend the scheme to include producer responsibility for products and ser-vices provided by the certified organisations. The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is also recom-mended to clearly define how far social responsibility reaches for an environmental certifica-tion scheme. Today the Eco-Lighthouse scheme includes requirements concerning working conditions for employees, which are not considered an environmental issue in ISO 26000. A possible solution would be to develop a new scheme concerning social responsibility. This would be especially beneficial if the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation decides to extend their certi-fication service further into non-environmental issues.