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

Defining the Scope of an Assurance Code - discussion paper Feb 2011

This paper outlines the current emphasis of assurance on impartiality and replicability and argues that a broader focus on accessibility and scalability are equally important.