Increasing uptake

Tea pluckers sorting leaves, Kenya © Caroline Irby, 2009, Rainforest Alliance
A major part of ISEAL’s work is to increase the use of sustainability standards as tools to achieve the social and environmental goals of governments, businesses and civil society organisations.

The heart of this work is to ensure that stakeholders recognise the importance of credibility as a fundamental underpinning of effective standards systems and develop approaches to using sustainability standards that maximise their benefits. ISEAL aims to create an enabling environment in which standards can be readily applied and deliver positive impact. These efforts are guided by our Scaling Up Strategy, which provides a clearly defined pathway for standards to increase their uptake in critical areas. 

In the last few decades, sustainability standards have made a significant contribution towards responsible production and consumption. Governments are increasingly looking to sustainability standards to support their policy objectives, and corporations are making major commitments to certified, sustainable products. ISEAL is leading a landmark three-year project to increase the use of sustainability standards in public procurement practices around the world and to also support emerging economies such as Brazil, India and China to maximise sustainable development in their countries through the increased use of sustainability standards. The project aims to contribute to:

  • Vibrant stakeholder networks focused on sustainability standards
  • Increased ownership of standards by public and private sector stakeholders
  • Better understanding of how to build domestic markets for sustainable products
  • Enhanced capacity of stakeholders to use standards
  • Strengthened global discussions on good practice in the use of standards

To further support increased uptake, ISEAL is working to develop a sophisticated online platform for comparing standards according to their performance and use of credible practices. Once complete, this will be a powerful engine to inform evaluations of different standards and ensure they are meaningful.


Brazil, India and China are dominant forces in global supply chains; poised at the centre of production, trade and consumption in the world’s most important sectors. Sustainability standards can play a vital role in ensuring that economic progress in these sectors is socially and environmentally responsible.
Photo © ISEAL Alliance
Sustainability standards are starting to play a deeper role in how governments implement policy and meet sustainability targets. ISEAL engages with governments to build understanding of what makes a standard credible and how to use standards and certification.
Photo © MSC
Businesses, governments and others are increasingly seeking clarity on how sustainability standards perform and compare with each other. We are developing an analytical engine to be used in different tools for comparing sustainability standards.
The ISEAL Alliance and its members launched the Scaling Up Strategy, which provides a clearly defined strategy for ISEAL's members to increase their impacts.