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

Interview: Richard Bradley on What Makes a Competent Auditor

ISEAL’s Assurance Code will apply to auditing and certification bodies that assess and verify compliance with voluntary social and environmental standards. The primary aims of the Code are to improve the quality and consistency of the assurance process and a major part of that is carried out by auditors. Here we talk to Richard Bradley who, with Taruna Group Ltd, carried out background research for ISEAL’s Assurance Code about what auditor competence means.

Presentation about the ISEAL Assurance Code

A presentation from the June 2011 ISEAL Conference that describes the scope, challenges, and detailed aspects of the proposed Assurance Code.

Strengthening Verification in Sustainability Standards: The development of the ISEAL Assurance Code - presentation

A presentation that provides an overview of the consultation to develop the scope of the ISEAL Assurance Code.

Assurance Code Scoping Report

Published in June 2011, this document describes the proposed scope of the ISEAL Assurance Code, as well as the scope consultation process.

Assurance Code Critical Issues Survey Summary

A summary of the responses to the Assurance Code Critical Issues Survey.

Assurance Code Committee Members

List of the members of the Assurance Code Steering and Technical Committees.

Assurance Code Summary of Semi-structured Interviews

A compilation of a series of interviews with key people in the standards sector about assurance and recommendations for the Assurance Code.

Assurance Code Newsletter: March 2011

March 2011 issue of the ISEAL Assurance Code newsletter.

ISEAL’s New Assurance Code

ISEAL embarks on the development of the Assurance Code; next in the suite of Credibility Tools.

Defining the Scope of an ISEAL Assurance Code - presentation

PowerPoint presentation on pertinent aspects for the scope of an Assurance Code.