ISO 26000

ISO 26000 Guidance on social responsibility is launched from ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. Is an International Standard providing guidelines for social responsibility (SR) named ISO 26000 or simply ISO SR. It was released on 1 November 2010. Its goal is to contribute to global sustainable development, by encouraging business and other organizations to practice social responsibility to improve their impacts on their workers, their natural environments and their communities.[1]

This standard was developed by ISO/TMBG Technical Management Board - groups. ISO 26000 was published for the first time in November 2010.

Main requirements of the standard

The ISO 26000[2] adopts the structure in the following breakdown:

  • 1. Scope
  • 2. Terms and definitions
  • 3. Understanding social responsibility
  • 4. Principles of social responsibility
  • 5. Recognizing social responsibility and engaging stakeholders
  • 6. Guidance on social responsibility core subjects
  • 7. Guidance on integrating social responsibility throughout an organization.

Voluntary Guidance Standard for All Organizations

ISO 26000 offers guidance on socially responsible behavior and possible actions. There are three ways it is different from the more widespread standards designed for companies to use to meet particular requirements for activities such as manufacturing, managing, accounting and reporting.

1) ISO 26000 is a voluntary guidance standard- that is, it does not contain requirements such as those used when a standard is offered for "certification". ISO There is a certain learning curve associated with using ISO 26000, because there is no specific external reward - certification - explicitly tied to ISO 26000. ISO recommends that users say, for example, that they have "used ISO 26000 as a guide to integrate social responsibility into our values and practices."

2) ISO 26000 is designed for use by all organizations, not only businesses and corporations. Organizations, such as hospitals and schools, charities (not-for-profits), etc. are also included. ISO 26000 makes particular efforts to show that its flexibility means that it can be applied by small businesses and other groups as well [3] So far, many of the earliest users of ISO 26000 have been multi-national corporations, especially those based in Europe, and East Asia, particularly Japan.

3)ISO 26000 was developed through a multi-stakeholder process, meeting in eight Working Group Plenary Sessions between 2005 and 2010, with additional committee meetings and consultations on e-mail throughout the five-year process. Approximately five hundred delegates participated in this process, drawn from six stakeholder groups: Industry, Government, NGO (non-governmental organization), Labour, Consumer, and SSRO (Service, Support, Research and Others - primarily academics and consultants). Leadership of various task groups and committees was "twinned" between "developing" and "developed" countries, to ensure viewpoints from different economic and cultural contexts. Since ISO operates on a parliamentary procedure form based on consensus, the final agreed-on standard was the result of deliberation and negotiations; no one group was able to block it, but also no one group was able to achieve its objectives when others strongly disagreed. The goal was to make ISO 26000 accessible and usable by all organizations, in different countries, precisely because it reflects the goals and concerns of each and all of the stakeholder groups in its final compromise form.

Key Principles and Core Subjects of ISO 26000

The Seven Key Principles, advocated as the roots of socially responsible behavior, are:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Ethical behavior
  • Respect for stakeholder interests (stakeholders are individuals or groups who are affected by, or have the ability to impact, the organization's actions)
  • Respect for the rule of law
  • Respect for international norms of behavior
  • Respect for human rights

The Seven Core Subjects, which every user of ISO 26000 should consider, are:

  • Organizational governance
  • Human rights
  • Labor practices
  • Environment
  • Fair operating practices
  • Consumer issues
  • Community involvement and development

Many of the 84 pages of the standard are devoted to definitions, examples, and suggestions on how to identify and communicate with stakeholders, and how to identify and address specific issues in each Core Subject area.

To Obtain a Copy of ISO 26000

ISO 26000 is available for sale by National Standards Bodies in many countries. Prices are set by the different National Standards Bodies, and vary widely. ISO 26000 is available in many national and international languages, including Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English , French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Montenegrin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese. ISO 26000 is copyrighted by ISO. See the ISO webpage at http://www.iso.org for more information.

User Guides to ISO 26000

There is a growing number of user guides, many of which are significantly less expensive than the standard itself. Quality and applicability of these guides will vary widely. An assessment tool has been worked out e.g. by The Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Norges Vel), supported by the Asociatia Pentru Implementarea Democratiei (AID -Romania).[4]

Additional information and critiques

The ISO 26000 Scope states "This International Standard is not a management system standard. It is not intended or appropriate for certification purposes or regulatory or contractual use. Any offer to certify, or claims to be certified, to ISO 26000 would be a misrepresentation of the intent and purpose and a misuse of this International Standard. As this International Standard does not contain requirements, any such certification would not be a demonstration of conformity with this International Standard." [5] This statement includes that ISO 26000 cannot be used as basis for audits, conformity tests and certificates, or for any other kind of compliance statements. It can however be used as a statement of intention by the CEO and this is seen as its main value.

The practical value of ISO 26000 has been debated. It might be limited if it merely provided a common understanding of social responsibility instead of also facilitating management routines and practices leading to social responsibility. Despite the non-certifiability, some scholars see distinct elements of a management system standard also in ISO 26000.[6] Against this background, the potential benefits of the new standard, the managerial relevance, and specific limitations of ISO 26000 are currently being discussed.[7] Critiques include the lack of any certification, the potential to "decouple" and isolate corporate social responsibility issues in an organization (Schwarz & Tilling 2009), the difficulty for smaller organizations to access the 100-plus-page "textbook" form of the standard, and the fact that the best practices represented by the standard tend to age; to address at least this last concern, interested parties are tracking the need and timing of a possible update.[8][9] There is also a concern that ISO 26000 is just one among "too many" social impact reporting standards available to corporations.[10]

As a guidance document the ISO 26000 is an offer, voluntary in use, and encourages organizations to discuss their social responsibility issues and possible actions with relevant stakeholders. As service providers, certification bodies do not belong to an organization’s stakeholders. ISO 26000 encourages its users to reconsider an organization's social responsibility or "socially responsible behaviour" and to identify/select from its recommendations those where the organization could/should engage in contributions to society. ISO 26000 encourages its users to report to their stakeholders, and get feedback, on actions taken to improve their social responsibility.

It is this identification of "stakeholders" that makes the ISO 26000 an important step forward in solving the dilemma presented by corporations still in pursuit of single bottom line accountability, moving the discussion beyond Triple Bottom Line Accountability. It is also an important step in the development of business-led social responsibility initiatives which evidence suggests is much more effective than government-regulated social responsibly policies.[11]

Project aim

There is a range of many different opinions as to the right approach to ethical and socially responsible behavior by businesses, ranging from strict legislation at one end to complete freedom at the other. ISO 26000 is looking for a golden middle way that promotes respect and responsibility based on known reference documents without stifling creativity and development. ISO (established 1947 to promote international trade by developing manufacturing standards) is now composed of 162 members, each of which is a National Standards Board of a particular country. ISO's expansion into the field of Social Responsibility (Corporate Social Responsibility) was driven by many factors, including a recognition that the pace of global development calls for increasing actions by organizations, including businesses, to reduce their harmful impacts on people and communities, and increase their positive impacts.

Development leadership

ISO chose Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) and ABNT, Brazilian Association of Technical Standards to provide the joint leadership of the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility (WG SR). The WG SR was given the task of drafting an International Standard for social responsibility that was published in 2010 as ISO 26000.[12]

Target: wide range

The need for organizations in both public and private sectors to behave in a socially responsible way is becoming a generalized requirement of society. It is shared by the stakeholder groups that participated in the WG SR to develop ISO 26000: industry, government, labour, consumers, nongovernmental organizations, and others, in addition to geographical and gender-based balance.[13] A Memorandum of Understanding was developed between the ISO Group and the United Nations Global Compact in order to both develop and promote the ISO 26000 as the go to Standard for CSR. Unfortunately the United Nations Global Compact did not fulfill its commitment under that MOU nor subsequent commitments to bring the ISO 26000 to the other 90 UN agencies.

See also

References

  1. ^ "ISO - International Organization for Standardization". www.iso.org.
  2. ^ "ISO 26000:2010 - Guidance on social responsibility". www.iso.org.
  3. ^ ISO26000:2010 Box 3, "ISO 26000 and small and medium-sized organizations(SMOs)
  4. ^ http://responsabilitate-sociala.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/ISO_26000_Practical_Guide_SITE.pdf
  5. ^ ISO 26000:2010 Clause 1, p. 1
  6. ^ E.g., Hahn, R. (2012): "Standardizing Social Responsibility? New Perspectives on Guidance Documents and Management System Standards for Sustainable Development". In: IEEE - Transactions on Engineering Management doi:10.1109/TEM.2012.2183639
  7. ^ For a largely positive assessment see e.g., Hahn, R. (2012): "Standardizing Social Responsibility? New Perspectives on Guidance Documents and Management System Standards for Sustainable Development". In: IEEE - Transactions on Engineering Management doi:10.1109/TEM.2012.2183639. A largely pessimistic view can be found in, for example, Schwarz, B. & Tilling, K. (2009): "‘ISO-lating’ Corporate Social Responsibility in the Organizational Context: A Dissenting Interpretation of ISO 26000". In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management doi:10.1002/csr.211
  8. ^ Henriques, Adrian (2012-01-05). "What are standards for? The case of ISO 26000". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ Guertler, Guido (July 2013). "Is ISO 26000 Ready for Revision?". Is ISO 26000 Ready for Revision?. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  10. ^ Brett, David (2015-02-17). "Is the state of the current social impact measurement infrastructure a cause for concern?". Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  11. ^ Armstrong and, J. Scott; Green, Kesten C. (1 December 2012). "Effects of corporate social responsibility and irresponsibility policies" (PDF). Journal of Business Research. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  12. ^ Hahn, R. (2012): "Transnational Governance, Deliberative Democracy, and the Legitimacy of ISO 26000". In: Business and Society doi:10.1177/0007650312462666
  13. ^ For a detailed analysis of the ISO 26000 development process see Hahn, R. (2012): "Transnational Governance, Deliberative Democracy, and the Legitimacy of ISO 26000". In: Business and Society doi:10.1177/0007650312462666

Further reading

External links

Bureau Veritas

Bureau Veritas S. A. (formerly BVQI, Bureau Veritas Quality International) is an international certification agency. In addition to certifications, they provide HSE expertise (Health, Safety and Environmental). Today the headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine, nearby La Défense. The company went public on the Paris Bourse in October 2007.The organization was originally formed in Antwerp in 1828 as Bureau de Renseignements pour les Assurances Maritimes (Information Office for Maritime Insurance). The Bureau Veritas name was adopted in 1829.

In 2013, Bureau Veritas bought the company 7layers. Bureau Veritas also launched in this year a video about its main businesses and its Testing, Inspection and Certification activities. This video won the 2014 TopCom "Silver Award" in the External Audiovisual category.

CorpWatch

CorpWatch is a research group based in San Francisco, California, USA. Its stated mission is to expose corporate malfeasance, and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency.

Corporate behaviour

Corporate behaviour is the actions of a company or group who are acting as a single body. It defines the company's ethical strategies and describes the image of the company.

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate sustainability, sustainable business, corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, conscious capitalism, or responsible business) is a type of international private business self-regulation. While once it was possible to describe CSR as an internal organisational policy or a corporate ethic strategy, that time has passed as various international laws have been developed and various organisations have used their authority to push it beyond individual or even industry-wide initiatives. While it has been considered a form of corporate self-regulation for some time, over the last decade or so it has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organisations, to mandatory schemes at regional, national and even transnational levels.

Considered at the organisational level, CSR is generally understood as a private firm policy. As such, it must align with and be integrated into a business model to be successful. With some models, a firm's implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance with regulatory requirements and engages in "actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law". The choices of 'complying' with the law, failing to comply, and 'going beyond' are three distinct strategic organisational choices. While in many areas such as environmental or labor regulations, employers may choose to comply with the law, or go beyond the law, other organisations may choose to flout the law. These organisations are taking on clear legal risks. The nature of the legal risk, however, changes when attention is paid to soft law. Soft law may incur legal liability particularly when businesses make misleading claims about their sustainability or other ethical credentials and practices. Overall, businesses may engage in CSR for strategic or ethical purposes. From a strategic perspective, the aim is to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others. From an ethical perspective, some businesses will adopt CSR policies and practices because of ethical beliefs of senior management. For example, a CEO may believe that harming the environment is ethically objectionable.Proponents argue that corporations increase long-term profits by operating with a CSR perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from businesses' economic role. A 2000 study compared existing econometric studies of the relationship between social and financial performance, concluding that the contradictory results of previous studies reporting positive, negative, and neutral financial impact, were due to flawed empirical analysis and claimed when the study is properly specified, CSR has a neutral impact on financial outcomes. Critics questioned the "lofty" and sometimes "unrealistic expectations" in CSR. or that CSR is merely window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations. In line with this critical perspective, political and sociological institutionalists became interested in CSR in the context of theories of globalization, neoliberalism and late capitalism. Some institutionalists viewed CSR as a form of capitalist legitimacy and in particular point out that what began as a social movement against uninhibited corporate power was transformed by corporations into a "business model" and a "risk management" device, often with questionable results.CSR is titled to aid an organization's mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers. Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation.

Environmental full-cost accounting

Environmental full-cost accounting (EFCA) is a method of cost accounting that traces direct costs and allocates indirect costs by collecting and presenting information about the possible environmental, social and economical costs and benefits or advantages – in short, about the "triple bottom line" – for each proposed alternative. It is also known as true-cost accounting (TCA), but, as definitions for "true" and "full" are inherently subjective, experts consider both terms problematical.Since costs and advantages are usually considered in terms of environmental, economic and social impacts, full or true cost efforts are collectively called the "triple bottom line". A large number of standards now exist in this area including Ecological Footprint, eco-labels, and the United Nations International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives approach to triple bottom line using the ecoBudget metric. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has several accredited standards useful in FCA or TCA including for greenhouse gases, the ISO 26000 series for corporate social responsibility coming in 2010, and the ISO 19011 standard for audits including all these.

Because of this evolution of terminology in the public sector use especially, the term full-cost accounting is now more commonly used in management accounting, e.g. infrastructure management and finance. Use of the terms FCA or TCA usually indicate relatively conservative extensions of current management practices, and incremental improvements to GAAP to deal with waste output or resource input.

These have the advantage of avoiding the more contentious questions of social cost.

Equality impact assessment

An equality impact assessment (EqIA) is a process designed to ensure that a policy, project or scheme does not discriminate against any disadvantaged or vulnerable people.

Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (known as GRI) is an international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.

Under increasing pressure from different stakeholder groups – such as governments, consumers and investors – to be more transparent about their environmental, economic and social impacts, many companies publish a sustainability report, also known as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental, social and governance (ESG) report. GRI’s framework for sustainability reporting helps companies identify, gather and report this information in a clear and comparable manner. First launched in 2000, GRI’s sustainability reporting framework is now widely used by multinational organizations, governments, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), NGOs and industry groups in more than 90 countries. In 2017, 63 percent of the largest 100 companies (N100), and 75 percent of the Global Fortune 250 (G250) reported applying the GRI reporting framework.The most recent of GRI’s reporting frameworks are the GRI Standards, launched in October 2016. Developed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the GRI Standards are the first global standards for sustainability reporting and are a free public good. In contrast to the earlier reporting frameworks, the GRI Standards have a modular structure, making them easier to update and adapt.

GxP

GxP is a general abbreviation for the "good practice" quality guidelines and regulations. The "x" stands for the various fields, including the pharmaceutical and food industries, for example good agricultural practice, or GAP.

A "c" or "C" is sometimes added to the front of the initialism. The preceding "c" stands for "current." For example, cGMP is an acronym for "current good manufacturing practice". The term GxP is frequently used to refer in a general way to a collection of quality guidelines.

Higg Index

The Higg Index is an apparel and footwear industry self-assessment standard for assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain. Launched in 2012, it was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of fashion companies, the United States government Environmental Protection Agency, and other nonprofit entities.

ISO 14000

ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (a) minimize how their operations (processes, etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land); (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and (c) continually improve in the above.ISO 14000 is similar to ISO 9000 quality management in that both pertain to the process of how a product is produced, rather than to the product itself. As with ISO 9001, certification is performed by third-party organizations rather than being awarded by ISO directly. The ISO 19011 and ISO 17021 audit standards apply when audits are being performed.

The requirements of ISO 14001 are an integral part of the European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). EMAS's structure and material are more demanding, mainly concerning performance improvement, legal compliance, and reporting duties. The current version of ISO 14001 is ISO 14001:2015, which was published in September 2015.

ISO 19011

ISO 19011 is an international standard that sets forth guidelines for management systems auditing. The current version is ISO 19011:2018.

It is developed by the International Organization for Standardization.

The standard offers four resources to organizations to "save time, effort and money":

A clear explanation of the principles of management systems auditing.

Guidance on the management of audit programs.

Guidance on the conduct of internal or external audits.

Advice on the competence and evaluation of auditors.

Intertek

Intertek Group plc is a multinational assurance, inspection, product testing and certification company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 26000-27999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

Reykjavik Geothermal

Reykjavik Geothermal Ltd (RG) is a geothermal development company that specifically identifies and targets high quality geothermal resources in combination with underserved power markets.RG was founded in Iceland in 2008 by experienced geothermal management and science team, in all aspects of the geoscience, engineering, financing and management of geothermal development, exploration and plant construction.RG has been verified by accredited management standards and authenticated systems and frameworks including ISO 9001. The Company has implemented ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and these environmental and occupational health and safety systems are pending BSI audit. Furthermore the company has implemented ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility and the SA 8000 standard on social accountability.

Headquartered in Iceland, RG is owned by management and U.S. investors. It has offices in New York City in USA, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

SA8000

SA8000 is an auditable certification standard that encourages organizations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace.

It was developed in 1989 by Social Accountability International, formerly the Council on Economic Priorities, by an advisory board consisting of trade unions, NGOs, civil society organizations and companies. The SA8000's criteria were developed from various industry and corporate codes to create a common standard for social welfare compliance.

Social accounting

Social accounting (also known as social accounting and auditing, social accountability, social and environmental accounting, corporate social reporting, corporate social responsibility reporting, non-financial reporting or accounting) is the process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organizations' economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large. Social Accounting is different from public interest accounting as well as from critical accounting.

Social accounting is commonly used in the context of business, or corporate social responsibility (CSR), although any organisation, including NGOs, charities, and government agencies may engage in social accounting. Social Accounting can also be used in conjunction with community-based monitoring (CBM).

Social accounting emphasises the notion of corporate accountability. D. Crowther defines social accounting in this sense as "an approach to reporting a firm’s activities which stresses the need for the identification of socially relevant behaviour, the determination of those to whom the company is accountable for its social performance and the development of appropriate measures and reporting techniques." It is an important step in helping companies independently develop CSR programs which are shown to be much more effective than government mandated CSR.Social accounting is often used as an umbrella term to describe a broad field of research and practice. The use of more narrow terms to express a specific interest is thus not uncommon. Environmental accounting may e.g. specifically refer to the research or practice of accounting for an organisation's impact on the natural environment. Sustainability accounting is often used to express the measuring and the quantitative analysis of social and economic sustainability. National accounting is a narrower usage in concentrating on the nation as the aggregable unit of analysis and economics as a method of analysis. The International Standards Organization (ISO) provides a standard, ISO 26000, that is a resource for social accounting. It addresses the seven core areas to be assessed for social responsibility accounting.

Social responsibility

Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems. A trade-off may exist between economic development, in the material sense, and the welfare of the society and environment, though this has been challenged by many reports over the past decade. Social responsibility means sustaining the equilibrium between the two. It pertains not only to business organizations but also to everyone whose any action impacts the environment. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals. Social responsibility must be intergenerational since the actions of one generation have consequences on those following.Businesses can use ethical decision making to secure their businesses by making decisions that allow for government agencies to minimize their involvement with the corporation. For instance if a company follows the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for emissions on dangerous pollutants and even goes an extra step to get involved in the community and address those concerns that the public might have; they would be less likely to have the EPA investigate them for environmental concerns. "A significant element of current thinking about privacy, however, stresses "self-regulation" rather than market or government mechanisms for protecting personal information". According to some experts, most rules and regulations are formed due to public outcry, which threatens profit maximization and therefore the well-being of the shareholder, and that if there is not an outcry there often will be limited regulation.Some critics argue that corporate social responsibility (CSR) distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; others argue that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing, or "greenwashing"; others argue that it is an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful corporations though there is no systematic evidence to support these criticisms. A significant number of studies have shown no negative influence on shareholder results from CSR but rather a slightly negative correlation with improved shareholder returns.

Stakeholder theory

The stakeholder theory is a theory of organizational management and business ethics that addresses morals and values in managing an organization, such as those related to corporate social responsibility, market economy, and social contract theory.

The stakeholder view of strategy integrates both a resource-based view and a market-based view, and adds a socio-political level. One common version of stakeholder theory seeks to define the specific stakeholders of a company (the normative theory of stakeholder identification) and then examine the conditions under which managers treat these parties as stakeholders (the descriptive theory of stakeholder salience).In fields such as law, management, human resource, stakeholder theory succeeded in challenging the usual analysis frameworks, by suggesting to put stakeholders' needs at the beginning of any action. Some authors, such as Geoffroy Murat, tried to apply stakeholder's theory to irregular warfare.

Sustainability reporting

A sustainability report is an organizational report that gives information about economic, environmental, social and governance performance.Sustainability reporting is not just report generation from collected data; instead it is a method to internalize and improve an organization’s commitment to sustainable development in a way that can be demonstrated to both internal and external stakeholders.

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