ISO Developing Standard on Organizational Governance

The project is timely because trust in business and in governments is quite low. The standard is expected to be published by 2020 and could help to improve this situation.

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has launched a project to develop a standard for organizational governance. The project is timely because trust in business and in governments is quite low, ISO's Clare Naden noted Oct. 16, saying the standard is expected to be published by 2020 and could help to improve this situation.

Her post cites the U.S. examples of Enron and Lehman Brothers, saying they and other examples are "contributing to an increasing expectation from society for the heads of businesses to be accountable for their organizations. While laws and regulations are necessary foundations, truly good governance that takes organizations to new levels of performance over the long term goes far beyond the law to instill trust and effectiveness. In this context, ISO’s committee of experts that specializes in governance (ISO/TC 309) has just been given the green light to develop an ISO international guidance standard that will help organizations establish good governance practices, going beyond the avoidance of risk and contributing to their long-term value overall."

It identifies Axel Kravatzky as co-convenor of the working group that is developing the standard. "There are many governance standards out there, yet there are currently none that are applicable to organizations that span all jurisdictions, industries, sectors and types," he tells Naden. "With increased connectedness and interdependence, the importance of this is rising continuously. This standard will therefore fill this gap in standardization, allowing it to be accessible and useful for any organization, whether it crosses different sectors and geographies or is simply a small business that feels it can benefit from better governance."

The other co-convenor -- Victoria Hurth, who was appointed by BSI -- tells Naden that "the benefits of good governance are well evidenced. As well as reducing the risk of bad surprises that can destroy an organization, a well-governed organization is more trusted and attracts talent, which in turn drives performance and investment. The proposed new standard has the potential to increase the number of socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable organizations, providing multiple benefits for investors and society as a whole."

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