Table of Resources for Compliance with the Assurance Code

This table includes resources and guidance available to support ISEAL members in meeting the Assurance Code. This overview will be updated on an ad hoc basis.

ISEAL's Code of Good Practice for Assuring Compliance with Social and Environmental Standards (the Assurance Code) was adopted in 2012. In late 2016 ISEAL members will be independently assessed for overall compliance with the Code. ISEAL's team and experts have developed a range of guidance, training and informational material to support the compliance process, complementing and elaborating on the guidance that is included in the Code itself. This table of resources gives a structured overview of the most relevant guidance material. 

The table first lists overarching and introductory resources which cover most key elements of the Assurance Code. The rest of the table provides a clause-per-clause overview of relevant guidance and resources. The compliance criteria status (baseline/improvement/aspirational) is noted next to each clause. Lastly, additional resources on innovations in assurance, chains of custody / traceability, and ISO standards are provided separately. Please note that there is also useful guidance contained in the Code itself, and you are encouraged to consult this, particuarly where there is not an additional resource provided below.  

The Table of Resources can be navigated by clicking the sections below:  

General Provisions:

Obligations for Scheme Implementation (clause 5.1) ||  Management of the Assurance System (clause 5.2)

Strategies for Effective Assurance:

Transparency (clause 6.1) || Knowledge Sharing (clause 6.2) || Personnel Competence (clause 6.3) || Consistent Assessment (clause 6.4)  ||  Assessment of Groups (clause 6.5)  || Oversight (clause 6.6)  || Ongoing Scrutiny (clause 6.7) 

Additional Resources:  

Innovations in Assurance  || Chain of Custody and Traceability ||  ISO Standards

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OVERARCHING and INTRODUCTORY RESOURCES

Resource Access Type Date
ISEAL Presenting the Assurance Code Public Webinar 2012
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Good Practice in Assurance Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Different Assurance Models Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Background research for the ISEAL Alliance Assurance Code Community Resource 2011
ISEAL Ways to Overcome Auditing Challenges Community Blog 2013

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS

OBLIGATIONS for SCHEME IMPLEMENTATION (clause 5.1)

5.1.1 Responsibility for Conformity (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
See Clause 6.6.1 on Oversight mechanism        
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Good Practice in Assurance 13m25s-15m10s Community Webinar 2013

5.1.2 Requirements for Assurance Providers (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Assurance Code Interpretation of clause 5.1.2   Public Guidance 2014
For info on ISO 17065, see ISO standards         

MANAGEMENT of the ASSURANCE SYSTEM (clause 5.2)

5.2.2 Risk Management Plan (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Risk Management Primer   Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Integrating Risk in Assurance   Community Webinar 2014
ISEAL Assurance Code  - Annex A: Sample of Risks to Assurance - Annex B: Risk Management  Annex A / Annex B Public Code 2012
ISEAL Risk Management for ISEAL Members: Research and Recommendations   Members Resource 2014

5.2.3 Conflicts of interest (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Conflict of Interest in Assurance   Community Blog 2012
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 8: Managing Conflicts of Interest    Community Resource 2007
ISEAL Managing Conflicts of Interest in Standards and Assurance   Community Resource

2013

5.2.4 System review (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Oversight and Accreditation 28m15s-33m Community Webinar 2014
ISEAL Member Assurance System Reports   Members Resource 2015
For info on ISO 17065, see ISO standards        

 

STRATEGIES for EFFECTIVE ASSURANCE

TRANSPARENCY (clause 6.1) 

6.1.1 Publicly available information (baseline - aspirational)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Public Information about Assurance   Community Guidance 2013

6.1.4 Stakeholder Engagement (improvement - aspirational)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Linking assurance, learning and impacts in voluntary standards systems 2; 4.1; 4.4 Members Resource 2014

KNOWLEDGE SHARING (clause 6.2) 

6.2.1 Provision of Information within the Audit (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Providing Advice   Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Consulting? or Informing   Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Linking assurance, learning and impacts in voluntary standards systems 4.2; 4.3; 4.4 Members Resource 2013
For info on ISO 17065, see ISO standards        

PERSONNEL COMPETENCE (clause 6.3) 

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 7.9 ; 8.7 Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Ensuring Auditor Competence   Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Auditor Competence and Applying ISO 19011 to Sustainability Standards   Community Webinar 2013

6.3.1 Defining Personnel Requirements (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL How to find good auditors   Community Blog 2014
ISEAL Selecting Candidates for Auditors   Community Resource 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Ensuring Auditor Competence 9m50s - 16m Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Assurance Code - Annex C: Competence of Personnel Annex C Public Code 2012
IAF Auditor Code of Conduct and Ethics   Community Resource 2013

6.3.2 Training (aspirational)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Framework for an Auditor Training Programme   Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Ensuring Auditor Competence 6m20s - 7m20s / 16m - 26m20s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Developing an Online Auditor Training Programme (delivered by MSC)   Community Webinar 2013

6.3.4 Evaluation of competency (improvement - aspirational)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Ensuring Auditor Competence 22m55s - 27m20s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Oversight and Accreditation 28m15s-33m Community Webinar 2014

CONSISTENT ASSESSMENT (clause 6.4)

6.4.1 Assessment Methodology (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 8 Community Guidance 2013

6.4.2 Audit Procedures (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: The Audit Process 4m35s - 8m Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 8.2; 8.3; 8.4 Community Guidance 2013

6.4.3 Audit Frequency and Intensity (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: The Audit Process 14m10s - 21m05s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Risk-based Audit Systems   Community Resource 2012

6.4.4 Sampling Within the Audit (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 8.4 Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: The Audit Process 21m30s -23m55s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Sampling in Assurance   Community Resource 2012
ISEAL Sampling Strategies and Statistical Analysis for Use in your Monitoring and Evaluation System   Members Resource 2013

6.4.5 Representative Sampling (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Representative Sampling in Assurance   Community Blog 2012
ISEAL Sampling in Assurance page 3-5 Community Resource 2012

6.4.9 Decision-Making Mechanism (baseline) / 6.4.10 Remediation and Sanctions (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Assurance Scoring Systems   Community Blog 2012
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Different Assurance Models 15m50s - 20m30s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 7.7; 8.5 Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Linking assurance, learning and impacts in voluntary standards systems 3 Members Resource 2014

6.4.11 Certificates (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Claims Good Practice Guide 3.2; 3.3 Public Guidance 2015

ASSESSMENTS in GROUPS (clause 6.5 - baseline) 

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: The Audit Process 32m10s -34m40s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Group Assurance Guide   Community Guidance 2013
ISEAL Common Requirements for Certification of Producer Groups (note: supersedes the Assurance Code but still provides relevant guidance)   Community Resource 2008
ISEAL Producer Group Models and Certification Report   Community Resource 2011

OVERSIGHT (clause 6.6)

6.6.1 Oversight Mechanism (baseline - improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Assurance Code Interpretation of clause 6.6.1   Public Guidance 2014
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Oversight and Accreditation General; 1m50s-12m35s
Different models; 14m40s 21m10s
Community Webinar 2014
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 7.4; 7.5; 7.6; 7.11 Community Guidance 2013
For info on ISO 17011, see ISO standards        

6.6.2 Competence of Oversight Bodies (improvement - aspirational)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Oversight and Accreditation proxy-accred.:12m45s- 14m15s
Good practice: 28m15s-33m
Outcomes&quality: 28m15s-33m
Community Webinar 2014

6.6.4 Risk-based Approach (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Risk-based Audit Systems   Community Blog 2012
ISEAL Risk Management Primer   Community Guidance 2013

6.6.5 On-site Appraisal (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Oversight and Accreditation 21m10s - 23m20s Community Webinar 2014

ONGOING SCRUTINY (clause 6.7)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Different Assurance Models 20m30s - 23m30s Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Emerging Standards Module 3: Models of Assurance 5.3 ; 8.6 Community Guidance 2013

6.7.1 Market Surveillance (improvement) / 6.7.2 Fraud or Misrepresentation (baseline)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Sustainability Claims Good Practice Guide 3.3; 3.4 Public Guidance 2015

6.7.3 Complaints (improvement)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Managing Complaints in Assurance   Community Blog 2013

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

INNOVATIONS in ASSURANCE (selected reading)

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Innovations in Assuring Good Practices   Community Blog 2015
ISEAL Assurance and capacity building: Rethinking our firewalls   Community Blog 2014
ISEAL M&E and Assurance, What does the Future Hold?   Members Presentation 2015
ISEAL Linking assurance, learning and impacts in voluntary standards systems   Members Resource 2013
ISEAL Assurance and Learning   Community Blog 2014
ISEAL Assurance Technologies    Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Remote Sensing and Assurance   Community Blog 2013
ISEAL IT Systems for Assurance   Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Geospatial data: uses for M&E and certification (delivered by RA)   Members Webinar 2015

CHAIN of CUSTODY and TRACEABILITY

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL Making sense of chain of custody    Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Standards Essentials: Traceability and Chain of Custody    Community Webinar 2013
ISEAL Model Chain of Custody Standard   Community Resource 2013
ISEAL Sustainability Claims Good Practice Guide Annex A ; Annex F Public Guidance 2015
ISEAL Traceability: a tool for scaling up?   Community Blog 2012

ISO STANDARDS

Resource Section(s) Access Type Date
ISEAL What is ISO anyway, and why do we care about it?   Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Presentation on ISO 17065   Public Resource 2013
ISEAL Getting Current with ISO 17065    Community Blog 2013
ISEAL Introducing ISO 17067   Public Resource 2013
ISO Standard Presentations    Public Resource  
ISO 17065 Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services   Purchase Standard  2012
ISO 17021 Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems   Purchase Standard  2011
ISO 17011 Conformity assessment - General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies   Purchase Standard  2004