Assurance Code

ISEAL has a Code of Good Practice for Assuring Compliance with Social and Environmental Standards (the Assurance Code). Our members know that effective, high quality, efficient assurance is not only critical, but also challenging.

The purpose of the Assurance Code is to provide guidance for high quality assurance that supports sustainability and improves the effectiveness of different verification and certification models. During 2017, ISEAL is revising the Assurance Code through an extensive global consultation process. Find information about how you can engage in this consultation here.

Read the Assurance Code online

The ISEAL Assurance Code sets out minimum criteria for implementation of the assurance process while recognising that different models can be effective for different purposes. The Code builds on a set of principles for effective assurance and describes how these principles are applied in practice. The Assurance Code also references and builds on existing guidance for good practices in certification and accreditation.

The intent of the Assurance Code is not to duplicate existing requirements but to provide additional guidance on practices that are relevant to the implementation of sustainability standards. Within these standards there are many different types of assurance that can be credible and appropriate. Assurance models that are fit for the purposes they serve are capable of scaling-up while at the same time continuing to serve as useful tools to mitigate the risks of non-compliance.

By implementing the Assurance Code, organisations can develop assurance systems that ensure audit consistency and rigour at the same time as promoting accessibility and efficiency. The Code also drives standards systems to innovate in areas such as risk management in order to make their systems more effective and drive the uptake of certification. The ISEAL Credibility Principles such as transparency, impartiality, accessibility and rigour underpin the Assurance Code.

Published in 2012, the Assurance Code is the newest of the three ISEAL Codes of Good Practice.  ISEAL members are currently working towards demonstrating full compliance, which they should complete by late 2017. Learn more about ISEAL membership process and compliance with our Codes. 


Further Information

If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding the Assurance Code please contact Ana Garzon at
You may also participate in the revision of the Assurance Code in 2017 by visiting our Assurance Code consultation page. 

Related information and resources

Assurance Code Comments – Second Consultation Apr-May 2012

Comments recieved during the second consultation of the Assurance Code were considered and responses were provided.

Assurance Code Newsletter: August 2012

We have published the Draft Assurance Code Version 1.0, which will be submitted to the ISEAL Board of Directors in September. If the ISEAL Board approves, this will become the official Version 1.0 of the Assurance Code.

Assurance Code Newsletter July 2012

The Assurance Code Steering Committee gave their approval on the final draft Assurance Code on July 9th. The potential of the Assurance Code is becoming apparent to ISEAL members and others as a way for standards systems to scale-up their impact by employing new models of assurance.

Assurance Code Newsletter: May 2012

The Assurance Code 2nd consultation is progressing well, with 23 persons attending the webinar on April 24th. Comments are not streaming in yet, but I am confident that they will increase as we near the end of the consultation (May 31st). May will be busy, as I prepare for the ISEAL Conference in Bonn (May 29, 30) and compile the comments from this consultation.

Second Assurance Code consultation opens

The second draft of the Assurance Code is open for consultation until 31 May. Paddy Doherty, ISEAL's Code Development Manager, explains how this latest draft brings us closer to a final code that will help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of members' assurance systems.

Comments from the first consultation on version 1 of ISEAL's Draft Assurance Code

Following the first consultation period for the ISEAL's draft Assurance Code, which took place from 1 November to 31 December 2011, we have collated all of the feedback and comments we received during the process into a document which is available to download below.

Assurance Code First Consultation Survey Responses

A summary of the responses to the first consultation of the Assurance Code, which took place between 1 November and 31 December 2011

The ISEAL Assurance Code Consultation Opens

ISEAL is developing a new Code of Good Practice that aims to make assurance a more effective tool to support social and environmental impact.

Draft Assurance Code Version 0.1 (PDF)

Version 0.1 of the draft Code of Good Practice for Assuring Compliance with Social and Environmental Standards.

Assurance Code Newsletter: September 2011

September 2011 issue of the ISEAL Assurance Code newsletter.