ISEAL membership linked to improved transparency, accessibility and rigour of a standards systems

A new infographic illustrates the positive effect of full ISEAL membership on transparency, accessibility and rigour of a standards system.

ISEAL members share the same approach of using the market to drive improvements in how goods and services are produced and are all committed to being credible, transparent and effective systems.

Transparency, accessibility and rigour are three key drivers of credibility. Using data from the ITC (International Trade Centre) standards map database, a new ISEAL infographic highlights analysis that shows ISEAL membership is an important factor in determining the transparency of a standards system. For example, ISEAL members commit to publishing reports on their standard-setting, assurance and monitoring and evaluation procedures on an annual basis. With this information publicly available, the standards system is open and transparent about the development and content, impact and governance structure of the standard.

Membership of ISEAL is also a predictor of the producer-friendliness of a standards system; members are more likely to offer financial and learning assistance to producers, and more likely to share the certification costs between all actors in the supply chain, thereby increasing the accessibility of the standards system. ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice require stakeholder engagement processes throughout the standards system development process, with key emphasis on minimising burdensome costs and providing access to resources and capacity building throughout the supply chain.

Compliance with ISEAL’s three Codes of Good Practice ensures that members are committed to making verified improvements to their practices through evaluation, peer learning and innovation. A rigourous standards system undergoes robust monitoring and evaluation procedures and regular compliance assessments, offering the opportunity to reflect, learn and refine system practices over time. The infographic highlights verified improvements made by members over the last few years, based on internal analysis of ISEAL’s compliance programme.

ISEAL has long advocated trust and credibility of sustainability standards, maintaining that credible sustainability claims are clear, accurate and relevant, and are backed up by systems that are transparent and robust.

ISEAL’s members are committed to evolving, innovating and improving their systems in order to increase effectiveness and maintain trust and credibility.

The full infographic is available on, where more than 100 credible and/or independent reports demonstrate the change that the sustainability standards approach brings about.

Source: Social and Environmental Standards: Contributing to More Sustainable Value Chains, ITC