Defining credibility

Photo of cocoa beans in Ivory Coast © UTZ CERTIFIED
ISEAL helps people understand what good practice looks like for different aspects of a standard, including standard-setting and impact evaluation.

We aim to improve the impacts of sustainability standards by improving their effectiveness and creating the conditions for their increased uptake. We led the development of a globally agreed set of Credibility Principles that capture the essentials for a standards system to deliver positive impact.

We also help people understand what good practice looks like for standard-setting, assurance (certification and accreditation) and impact evaluation. We also support standards systems to comply with the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice - our most broadly recognised tools.

ISEAL’s Credibility Principles were finalised in mid-2013 after a year-long multi-stakeholder consultation on five continents that engaged more than 400 individuals from NGOs, governments, businesses, producer groups, consumer organisations and certification systems.  They represent the concepts and actions that underpin credible standards systems. The Credibility Principles can be used for any standard that assesses sustainability and are also useful for a company’s own internal codes or standards and alongside benchmarking initiatives.

ISEAL also responds to technical enquiries, develops technical resources and delivers training to our members. Using our expertise, we create special tools and initiatives such as an academy to build knowledge for users of standards systems or an online tool that offers a comparison of standards according to a user’s preferences.  A new guidance tool that will provide support for credible claims and labelling for sustainability standards is currently in discussion.

Martina Zeballa, factory worker, Bolivia © Hugo Lara Rainforest Alliance
Sustainability standards need to operate effectively to deliver on their social and environmental goals. ISEAL's Codes of Good Practice are seen as global references for developing credible standards.
ISEAL's new Challenge the Label tool:
ISEAL is a leader in defining the essential characteristics of credible sustainability claims. With tools for both standards systems and businesses, ISEAL is bringing clarity to the landscape and promoting the growth of credible claims and labels globally.
Green Leaf © Shutterstock
At the heart of the ISEAL Alliance is a set of Credibility Principles that represent the core values upon which effective standards are built.