Knowledge base

Learn how to use the Standards Map, how data is collected and checked and read users testimonies and stories!

  • Methodology
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Methodology, data protocols and updates

Standards participation on Standards Map is absolutely free-of-charge and accessible for all sustainability standards organizations that meet the following rules:


  • Existence of a published set of criteria and indicators: “the requirements”
  • The requirements include criteria that address at least one pillar of sustainable development - Social / Environment / Economic - and/or which focus on Ethics or Quality Management

Should standards wish to take part in Standards Map, and respond to the aforementioned criteria, we invite them to contact us.


Standards organizations should know that they will be actively involved in the process, helping the data collection and analysis of their standards.

The ITC database is comprised of 1650 baseline indicators, which allow the comparison of standards on their:

  • Environmental performance (protection of forest, soil, water, biodiversity climate...)
  • Social performance (protection of human rights, labour rights, local communities…)
  • Management and ethical performance (supply chain responsibilities, sustainability management …)
  • Quality performance (manufactured products, food systems…)
  • Operational performance (assurance, standard setting, traceability, claims…)

For a full description of the benchmarking indicators, please click here.

Standards requirements and systems are assessed in depth against these indicators.

The Standards Map generates graphs and statistics on standards performance, which also allows for the comparison of  several standards (sided by side).

Standards Map is the only web platform providing information at such a high level of detail and accuracy on standards.

The process of data collection, analysis and publication in Standards Map is managed through a robust process, with external control and systematic participation of standards organizations.
This guaranties the accuracy and neutrality of the information.

  1. As first step, the Standards Map team loads the information into the ITC database, and assesses it against the benchmarking indicators, using official information provided by the standard organization.
  2. Then, an independent expert reviews the information in depth. This expert is knowledgeable about the standard initiative and specialised in the industry sectors and thematic areas it covers.
  3. After that, the standard organization checks, revises and completes the information.

This process is iterative, and each party reviews the information as often as needed.

Once the information is approved by all parties, it is published on Standards Map.

The key and unique feature of the Standards Map tool is that all information that is accessible online is reviewed and quality-controlled by each participating standard organization.

Standards are frequently reviewed, and their systems processes evolve constantly. The ITC database also goes through regular revisions and maintenance updates.

As a result, standards information is constantly updated in Standards Map.

In general, large standards updates are conducted on a biannual basis, involving the process as described above 

Within this 2-year cycle, ad-hoc changes and adaptations are always possible. These are addressed by the Standards Team whenever there is a request, or a gap identified. The standards organization also informs ITC if changes are made to their standards and processes.

The benchmarks and information displayed on the Standards Map are therefore up to date, accurate and frequently revised to reflect the latest evolutions on standards and international agreements on sustainability.

ITC, as an agency of the United Nations, has the responsibility to deliver accurate, comprehensive and unbiased information. Credibility and integrity of the information is therefore absolutely crucial and must be achieved through the use of strict content management protocols.

The Standards Map team has developed these data protocols to guarantee integrity and credibility of the information loaded into the Standards Map database. These data protocols include external quality controls of the data as well as a participation process for all standard organizations.

All parties contributing to the addition of information in the database follow these protocols.

Data entered in Standards Map is not only impartial, but also credible as it has been quality checked by the participating standard organizations.
Standards Map does not make any value judgments nor rate standards.

Impartiality, quality, transparency and neutrality are key features and objectives of the Standards Map tool.

Availability and latest up-dates of data in Standards Map

Data entered in Standards Map is not only impartial, but also credible as it has been quality checked by the participating standard organizations. Standard organizations review the information which is initially entered by ITC, and reviewed by third party experts, and provides comments or requests changes to be made. All changes made by the standard are tracked and can only be accepted following consultations with ITC. Once ITC and the standard organization agree on the content of the data, the standard record is published on the Standards Map website.

Standard NameLast update
4C The Common Code for the Coffee Community30/10/2020
ABNT Ecolabel22/1/2020
Accredited Fish Farm Scheme29/7/2020
ADM Responsible Soybean Standard21/7/2020
Agricultura Sustentable Certificada
Alliance for Water Stewardship27/1/2021
Aluminium Stewardship Initiative2/12/2020
Amaggi Responsible Soy Standard6/3/2020
amfori BEPI - Level 14/4/2019
amfori BEPI - Level 24/4/2019
amfori BEPI - Level 34/4/2019
amfori BSCI13/3/2020
Aquaculture Stewardship Council - ASC Pangasius15/4/2020
Aquaculture Stewardship Council - ASC Salmon15/4/2020
Aquaculture Stewardship Council - ASC Shrimps16/4/2020
Aquaculture Stewardship Council - ASC Tilapia17/6/2020
ASC - Camarones/Langostino11/1/2021
ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry19/3/2021
Baseline Code - Global Coffee Platform25/6/2020
Belgian Feed Association (BFA), formerly BEMEFA
Better Biomass (new name for the NTA 8080 Approved certificate)25/6/2020
Better Cotton Initiative - BCI3/3/2021
Bio Suisse Standards for Imports22/1/2021
Biosphere Responsible Tourism29/3/2021
bluesign� system18/3/2021
BOPP Standard - Grower Standard23/1/2020
BOPP Standard - Packhouse Standard23/1/2020
Botswana Ecotourism Certification System Accomodation Standards25/6/2020
Botswana Ecotourism Certification System Ecotour Standards25/6/2020
BRCGS Food Safety27/10/2020
Bunge Pro-S Assuring Sustainable Sourcing1/7/2019
Carbon Trust Product Footprint Certification22/1/2021
Cargill Triple S Soya Products6/3/2020
Cefetra Certified Responsible Soya Standard
Certified Elephant Friendly� Tea11/12/2020
Certified Sea Turtle Friendly� Tourism15/6/2020
Certified Wildlife Friendly�15/5/2020
China Environmental Labeling3/3/2021
China GAP3/3/2021
Chinese National Organic Products Certification Program3/3/2021
Clean Clothes Campaign - Code of Labour Practices22/1/2021
Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards - CCB Standards29/3/2021
Cocoa Horizons - Barry Callebaut16/9/2020
Code of Practice for Sustainable Flower Production - EHPEA22/1/2020
Codex Alimentarius Food Hygiene2/3/2020
Codigo Nacional de Sustentibilidad de la Industria Vitivinicola20/9/2019
Comercio Justo Internacional - Organizaciones de Pequenos Productores11/1/2021
Coop Naturaline16/10/2020
Coporate Sustainability Compact for Textile and Apparel Industry22/1/2021
Cotton made in Africa29/11/2019
CSQA Sustainable Cereal and Oilseed Standard (DTP 112)31/1/2020
Disha Common Code of Conduct - CCC25/6/2020
Donau Soja6/3/2020
East African organic products standard (EAOPS)
Echar PA'LANTE - Colcocoa30/9/2019
Eco Awards Namibia - Accommodation establishments23/3/2021
Ecotourism Kenya Eco-Rating23/3/2021
Ekolabel Indonesia19/9/2019
EO100TM Standard for Responsible Energy Development23/1/2020
Esencial COSTA RICA (Essential COSTA RICA)23/1/2020
Ethical Trading Initiative - ETI18/1/2021
EU Organic Farming22/3/2021
Europe Soya
European Feed ingredients Safety Certification - EFISC23/1/2020
Fair for Life30/3/2020
Fair Labor Association12/12/2019
Fair Stone 19/1/2021
Fair Trade Tourism Product Certification Standard - FTT30/9/2019
Fair Trade USA APS for Large Farms and Facilities9/3/2021
Fair Trade USA APS for Small Farms and Facilities9/3/2021
Fair Wage Network
Fair Wear Foundation22/1/2021
Fairmined Standard-Requirements for Licensed brand29/3/2021
Fairmined Standard-Requirements for Mining organization29/3/2021
Fairmined Standard-Requirements for Supplier29/3/2021
Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organizations24/8/2020
Fairtrade International - Small Producers Organizations - Cocoa22/3/2021
Fairtrade International - Gold Standard30/3/2020
Fairtrade International - Hired Labour17/11/2020
Fairtrade International Textile Standard30/3/2020
Fairtrade International Trader30/3/2020
FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines29/11/2019
FEMAS Responsible Sourcing of Agricultural & Natural Products31/3/2020
Florverde� Sustainable Flowers5/11/2020
Flowers and Ornamentals Sustainability Standard - KFC Gold and Silver Level29/3/2021
Food Alliance3/4/2020
Food Safety System Certification 220002/1/2020
For Life27/1/2021
Forest Stewardship Council� - FSC� - Chain of Custody4/3/2021
Forest Stewardship Council� - FSC� - Forest Management4/3/2021
FOS - Wild - Generic Sustainable fishing Requirements8/6/2020
Friend of the Sea - Chain of Custody5/2/2021
Friend of the Sea (FOS) - Marine Aquaculture11/2/2021
FSA - Farms with labour and with irrigation21/12/2018
Global Aquaculture Alliance - Best Aquaculture Practices15/4/2020
Global Organic Textile Standard - GOTS25/1/2021
Global Red Meat Standard23/3/2021
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)29/3/2021
Global Social Compliance Programme - Environment Level 24/4/2019
Global Social Compliance Programme - Environment Level 34/4/2019
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations 23/1/2020
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Hotel and Tour Operators23/1/2020
GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture
GLOBALG.A.P. Crops19/6/2020
GLOBALG.A.P. Floriculture
GlobalG.A.P. Livestock
GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP)21/9/2020
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) - Floor Coverings29/3/2021
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) - Furniture, fittings29/3/2021
Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) - Panel Boards29/3/2021
GoodWeave International3/3/2021
Green Food28/11/2019
Green Mark Taiwan10/2/2020
Green Seal
GreenLine Responsible Tourism6/11/2020
GSCP - Self assessment - Social Criteria4/4/2019
Guide on Social Responsibility for Chinese Int Contractors22/1/2021
HALAL - Cosmetic and Personal Care - MS 2200:PART1:2008
HALAL - Requirements for Retailing - MS 2400-3:2010
Halal cosmetic and personal hygiene products - PNM 08.0.802
Halal Food - MS 1500:2009 - General Guidelines
Halal food - NM 08.0.800 - 2012 (Morocco)
Halal Food - SMIIC
Halal food preparation - Turkish Standard
Halal Standard India - Halal Certification Terms & Conditions
HAND IN HAND (HIH) - Fair Trade Rapunzel28/2/2020
Harvested By Women Norms and Standards
Heritage Certification - Hotels and Tourist Accommodation30/3/2020
Hong Kong Green Label Scheme - HKGLS
IFC Performance Standards on Environmental&Social Sustainability
IFFO Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS)
IFOAM Standard29/11/2018
IFS Food9/2/2021
Initiative for Compliance and Sustainability (ICS) Environmental Criteria15/2/2019
Initiative for Compliance and Sustainability (ICS) Social Criteria15/2/2019
International Code of Conduct for the Production of Cut Flowers 15/10/2019
International Council on Mining and Metals
International Labour Organization Labour Standards
IP Suisse7/9/2020
IP-Suisse Guidelines for cereals16/10/2020
IP-Suisse Guidelines for fruits and vegetables16/10/2020
IP-Suisse Guidelines for meat16/10/2020
IP-Suisse Guidelines for milk16/10/2020
Irish Food Bord Master21/3/2019
ISCC EU24/3/2020
ISCC PLUS24/3/2020
ISCC PLUS - Voluntary Add-ons24/3/2020
LBCS Comercio Justo � PERU24/9/2020
LBCS Medio Ambiente, Calidad y Social - PERU24/9/2020
LBCS Org�nico - PERU21/8/2020
LEAF Marque26/3/2021
LIFE Certification31/3/2020
Lineamientos Basicos para la produccion de quinua sostenible CJ23/1/2020
Lineamientos Basicos para la Quinua Sostenible - Calidad23/1/2020
Lineamientos basicos para un Cacao Sostenible - Organizaciones18/9/2020
Lineamientos basicos para un Cacao Sostenible - Productores18/9/2020
Lineamientos para la produccion de Quinua Sostenible - Organico23/1/2020
Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) program for Sustainable Agriculture19/12/2018
Marine Stewardship Council - MSC25/6/2020
McDonalds Supplier Workplace Accountability21/3/2019
MPS-Socially Qualified (SQ)22/1/2020
myBMP - Best Management Practices27/3/2019
National Ecolabelling Programme - Green Choice Philippines18/2/2021
Naturland Fair6/8/2020
Naturland Organic Aquaculture
Naturland Standards on Production6/8/2020
Naturland Sustainable Capture Fishery
Norma de Turismo Comunitario5/11/2020
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises - Edition 20113/2/2020
OFDC Organic Certification Standard 27/3/2020
On The Way To PlanetProof for Plant Products in Central Europe1/11/2019
Origin Green Sustainable Dairy Assurance Standard24/3/2020
Pacific Organic Standard - Crops30/9/2019
Pacific Organic Standard - Livestock4/4/2019
Pacific Organic Standard Aquaculture30/9/2019
PEFC International4/3/2021
PEFC International - Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products4/3/2021
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative26/2/2019
Predator Friendly� Standards15/5/2020
Protected Harvest Certification Standards: Stonefruit
Protected Harvest Standards for Lodi Winegrapes
Protected Harvest Standards for Oranges and Mandarines
ProTerra Foundation3/7/2020
Rainforest Alliance - 202026/2/2021
Rainforest Alliance � RA 2017 (expires December 2021)15/1/2021
Recognised - Environmental Credentials Scheme4/10/2019
Red Tractor Combinable Crops and Sugar Beet Standards29/11/2018
Red Tractor Fresh Produce Standards29/11/2018
Reglamento Tecnlco para los Productos orqanlcos - Norma Peruana12/2/2019
Responsible Business Alliance (RBA)10/2/2020
Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)29/11/2018
Responsible Recycling Standard for Electronics Recyclers22/1/2021
Responsible Tourism Tanzania - RTTZ
Round Table on Responsible Soy Association - RTRS
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - Principles and Criteria7/7/2020
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil - Supply Chain Certification
RSB Standard (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials)22/2/2021
RSG Requirements (based on RTRS)
Safe Quality Food Program5/11/2020
SAI Platform -- Farm Sustainability Assessment
Sedex Global (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange)
Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit - SMETA Best Practice Guidance5/12/2018
Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label
SGE 213/4/2020
Simple Sri Lanka GAP (For training purposes)
Singapore Green Labelling Scheme
Small Producers Symbol3/3/2021
Social Accountability International - SA800010/2/2020
Soil Association organic standards- farming and growing8/4/2019
STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX�9/9/2020
Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems - SAFA
Sustainability Code of the Chilean Wine Industry18/1/2021
Sustainability Initiative of South Africa - SIZA31/3/2020
Sustainable Agriculture Network - Rainforest Alliance - 2010
Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)17/2/2021
Sustainable Farming Assurance Programme
Sustainable Feed Standard�
Sustainable Food Group Sustainability Standard� Certification21/1/2020
Sustainable Rice Platform31/3/2021
Sustainable Tourism Standard for Hotels and Lodging Services23/1/2020
Sustainably Grown18/5/2020
Swiss Norme Halal n�12014-03 - Les aliments Halal - Exigences
TE Responsible Down Standard, 2014
TerraChoice -EcoLogo Program (UL Ecologo Certification)
Textile Exchange Global Recycled Standard18/4/2019
Textile Exchange Organic Content Standard18/4/2019
Textile Exchange Recycled Claim Standard18/4/2019
Thai Green Label29/6/2020
The EU Ecolabel29/3/2021
The European Ecotourism Labelling Standard 24/3/2020
The Gold Standard30/4/2020
The International Council of Toy Industries Ethical Toy Program18/12/2020
The Oceanic Standard22/12/2020
The Social & Labour Convergence Program (SLCP) CAF Version 1.4 - Step 125/3/2021
The Social & Labour Convergence Program (SLCP) CAF Version 1.4 - Step 225/3/2021
The Social & Labour Convergence Program (SLCP) CAF Version 1.4 - Step 325/3/2021
The Social & Labour Convergence Program (SLCP) Version 1.325/3/2021
The Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS)24/10/2019
The Sustainable Egg Assurance Scheme (SEAS)24/10/2019
The Sustainable Horticulture Assurance Scheme (SHAS)24/10/2019
Together for Sustainability AISBL (TfS)4/8/2020
Travelife Award of Excellence
Travelife Gold Award for large hotels/groups
Travelife Gold Award for small/medium-sized hotels
Triple Sello30/9/2019
T�V Rheinland - Green Product Mark - Furniture5/3/2021
U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol18/3/2021
UN Global Compact3/7/2020
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights20/11/2020
UNCTAD BioTrade Principles & Criteria - Marine Food Sectors8/12/2020
UNCTAD BioTrade Principles & Criteria - Terrestrial Food Sectors15/11/2020
UNCTAD BioTrade Principles & Criteria - Terrestrial Non-food Sectors15/11/2020
UNCTAD BioTrade Principles & Criteria - Tourism in Marine Ecosystems11/1/2021
UNECE Standard DDP-01 Inshell Walnuts6/3/2020
UNECE Standard FFV-50 Apples6/3/2020
Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code5/11/2020
Union for Ethical BioTrade - UEBT19/3/2021
USDA National Organic Program - NOP
UTZ (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Cocoa Module Group Certification (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Codigo de Conducta para grupo y multi-grupos - Cafe (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Codigo de Conducta para grupo y multi-grupos versi�n - Cacao (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Codigo de Conducta para Individual y multisitio - Cafe (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Coffee Module Group Certification (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
UTZ Coffee Module Individual Certification (expires July 2021)18/8/2020
Vegaplan Standard for Primary Crop Prod. - Veg. for processing.24/1/2020
Vegaplan Standard for Primary Crop Production - Grains.24/1/2020
Vegaplan Standard for Primary Crop Production - Potatoes.24/1/2020
Vegaplan Standard for Primary Crop Production - Sugar beet.24/1/2020
Verified Carbon Standard - VCS29/3/2021
WFTO Guarantee System21/9/2020
Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trading Association (WIETA)29/10/2018
Workplace Condition Assessment (WCA)30/4/2020
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production - WRAP11/8/2020

This course introduces participants to the various types of standards which exist and how they may impact your business.

This course introduces participants to the concepts of standards and sustainability, focusing on voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) and the various ways in which enterprises can approach them.

This course introduces participants to the main terminology and steps involved in getting their business certified

This course introduces participants to the main potential advantages and discadvantages linked to certification

Short tutorial on the Quick-Scan module of Standards Map.

View this video to understand how information is being portrayed in the Compare module.

Watch this short video to see how a specific standard can be set as a reference.

Watch this video to see how you could take a FREE online-questionnaire to assess the sustainability of your business.

Some of the most Frequently Asked Questions from our users

Sustainability standards are guidelines used by producers, manufacturers, traders, retailers, and service providers to develop good environmental, social, ethical, and food safety practices.


They can be voluntary standards, consumer-facing certification schemes, corporate code of conducts, audit protocols, reporting frameworks, or company programs.


Sustainability standards all have similar goals but differ in terms of product and geographical scope, themes of work, or processes.


For instance, some standards  concentrate on the eradication of human rights violations in supply chains, while others focus on phytosanitary practices or on food quality improvement.


Many standards are accompanied by a verification process to check compliance, or with traceability processes to track products along the supply chains until consumers buy them.


Sustainability standards often reference internationally agreed rights and principles and require compliance with national laws and regulations.


Sustainability standards also have different governance models, depending on their historical developments and internal systems. They may have been developed by civil society, or by the private sector, or even by multi-stakeholder initiatives also involving public authorities.


Sustainability standards play a central role in global trade, and greatly contribute to the improvement of  environmental and social compliance in supply chains.


Check out the 300+ sustainability standards presented in Standards Map!


Users may use the first module of Standards Map to identify the standards on which they would like to focus their analysis.

Navigating and understanding the plethora of standards has become a very difficult task for many producers, exporters, trade support institutions and policy makers.

All stakeholders need to understand standards, including their differences (areas covered, methodology used, etc.),  and how they can aid efforts towards sustainability. 

Within its unique search and comparison tool on standards, the Standards Map helps making sense of all standards data, and helps all stakeholders find the information they need on standards in any sector or area of interest.

Standards Map covers a wide area of products and sectors ranging from agriculture to textiles, mining, forestry, fishery, but also to services like tourism or finance.

Each sector presents specific challenges and opportunities related to sustainability and Standards Map presents a unique way to explain how standards address these.

Standards Map covers all regions and countries in the world, where there are operations: production, extraction, transformation, market outreach, etc.

No. Data in Standards Map cannot be downloaded. 

Standard Map is actively used by companies, governments, civil society, researchers, and consumers to assess, compare, and understand in detail all sustainability standards.

Standards Map Glossary of terms and expressions

Glossary of terms and expressions developed by the Standards Map Technical Working Group.

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State of being answerable for adapted decisions and activities to the interested parties  of an organization 

ISO 37101, Management system for sustainable development



Combined processes of audit, review, and decision on a client’s conformity with the requirements of a standard (or of the assurance provider’s conformance with requirements for assurance)

ISEAL Assurance Code



Demonstrable evidence that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled.

ISEAL Credibility Principles, adapted from ISO 17000 




Systematic, documented process for obtaining records, statements of fact or other relevant information and assessing them objectively to determine the extent to which specified requirements are fulfilled.

ISEAL Assurance Code, adapted from ISO 17000



Formal request for the reconsideration of a decision.

SSCI Glossary of Terms




Person who performs the audit

ISEAL Assurance Code





Practice of comparing an organization’s sustainability processes and performance to best practices 



Variability among living organisms from all sources, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are part, this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 1994

Capacity Building (or Capacity development)

Process through which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.

UNDP, Capacity Development


Generic expression used to include all means of communicating that fulfilment of specified requirements has been demonstrated

ISEAL Assurance Code, adapted from ISO 17000



Issuance of a third-party statement that fulfilment of specified conformance requirements have been demonstrated.

SSCI Glossary of Terms

Chain of custody 

Custodial sequence that occurs as ownership or control of the material supply is transferred from one custodian to another in the supply chain.

ISEAL Claims Good Practice Guide


Child labour

Refers to work which deprives children (any person under 18) of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, that is harmful to their physical and/or mental development, is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with their education

ILO Convention


Message used to set apart and promote a product, process, business or service with reference to one or more of the pillars of sustainability: social, economic and/or environmental

ISEAL Assurance Code


Code of Conduct (or Code of Ethics)

Voluntary expressions of commitment made by an organisation (private company, association of companies, NGOs, inter- government organizations) to influence its processes and activities for the benefit of the organisation itself and for the communities in which it operates, covering

sustainability issues.

Adapted from OECD Working Papers on International Investment Codes of Corporate Conduct


Group of people with an arrangement of responsibilities, activities and relationships. In many, but not all, contexts, a community has a defined geographical boundary.


ISO 37101:2016, Management system for sustainable development




Demonstrated ability to design, produce and commercialize an offer that fully, uniquely and continuously fulfils the needs of targeted market segments, while connecting with and drawing resources from the business environment, and achieving a sustainable return on the resources employed

ITC, SME Competitiveness Outlook







Expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, actions, or lack of action

SSCI Glossary of Terms



State of an organization that meets prescribed specifications, contract terms, regulations or standards. Compliance obligations can arise from mandatory requirements, such as applicable laws and regulations, or voluntary commitments

ASQ Quality Glossary, ISO 37101, Management system for sustainable development


Conformity Assessment

Process of determining whether someone or something meets the requirements of a standard. It can be done in one of three ways:

  • first party (assessment by the organization itself),
  • second party (assessment of organization by a user),
  • third party (assessment of organization by an independent body).

Adapted from ISO, Glossary of Terms



Conformity Assessment Body

Third-party conformity assessment body operating certification schemes.

SSCI Glossary of Terms


Continuous Improvement

Ongoing effort of an organization to improve sustainability practices, products, services, and/or processes. 

Adapted from ISO 9001

Corrective action

Action to eliminate the (root) cause(s) of a detected non-conformance/ non-compliance and to prevent recurrence

Adapted from SSCI Glossary of Terms and ISO 37101

 Corporate Social Responsibility

Business's contribution to sustainable development and response to societal and environmental concerns.

OECD, Partners for Progress

Data management

Measures using data technologies and resources to solve sustainability challenges, gathered for instance from surveys, mobile apps, sensors and crowd-sourced input and analysed with data science and visualisation. The collection and management of data can be used to detect, monitor, inform and improve sustainability processes and practices

Adapted from ISEAL Alliance excerpt on Data collection and technology innovation


Any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin (among other characteristics), which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity and treatment in employment or occupation

ILO Convention C111


Due Diligence

For a company or an organization, process of identifying, reviewing and mitigating potential environmental and social risks associated with the activities of business partners, suppliers and other third parties.

Adapted from OECD guidelines on Business and Human Rights


The naturally produced physical surroundings on which living organisms are dependent

Adapted from OECD Glossary of statistical terms

Ecosystem services

Benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Forced (or compulsory) labour

Refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities.

ILO Conventions 29&105

Gender equality

Situation achieved when human being from all genders enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured

Adapted from European Institute for Gender Equality





Grievance mechanism

Channel of communication (and associated processes) available to individuals or organisations to report concerns or complaints and address them within a formal process that offers them protection from retribution       

SSCI Glossary



Organized body of persons or enterprises that share similar characteristics are part of a shared internal management system and, for assessment purposes, are considered as a single client (e.g. groups of farmers, retail stores, or distributors). 

ISEAL Assurance Code Version 2.0

Human Rights

Basic international standards aimed at securing dignity and equality for all. Every human being is entitled to enjoy them without discrimination. They include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education

Adapted from UNGP Guidelines on Business and Human Rights


Positive and negative long-term effects resulting from the implementation of a standards system, either directly or indirectly, intended or unintended

ISEAL Impacts Code v2 Dec. 2014, adapted from OECD Glossary, 2002



Resource mobilized by a standards system, an organization or a business to support activities to further desired long‐term impacts. Examples of inputs include physical, human, financial, and capital resources.

ISEAL Impacts Code v2, Dec. 2014

Internal Management System

Documented set of procedures and processes that a group will implement to ensure it can achieve its specified requirements.

Adapted from ISEAL Assurance Code Version 2.0


Set of consumer information tools to provide information relating to sustainable consumption and production, allowing organizations to measure performance, communicate and market the sustainability credentials of a given product.

 Adapted from UNEP and Johannesburg Plan of Implementation


Labour rights

Fundamental and universal rights at work: Freedom of association, Collective bargaining, abolition of forced or compulsory labour, Equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation, Protection of children and young person

ILO Conventions


Landscape (and jurisdictional) approach

Strategy to achieve sustainable practices at scale, bringing regional stakeholders to agree on and implement a shared approach to more sustainable use of natural resources and land use management, across sectors and jurisdictions.

Adapted from ISEAL Alliance excerpt on Landscape approach

Living Wage

Remuneration or compensation for a standard 48-hour work week sufficient to pay a decent standard of living for the worker and his/her family, covering food, water, housing, education, medical care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs, including the provision for unexpected events

IDH and Global Living Wage Coalition

Market Analysis

Activity of gathering information about the size, growth, profitability, target groups and existing products of a market, which is used to inform decision making at a strategic level.

 UNEP Glossary

Monitoring and Evaluation System 

Ongoing functions, processes and activities through which an organisation draws conclusions about its contribution to intended outcomes and impacts.


Likely or achieved short-term and medium-term results from the implementation of a standards system’s strategies.

ISEAL Code of Good Practice Version 6.0 – December 2014, adapted from OECD Glossary                                                              



Assessment of an assurance provider’s demonstration of competence to carry out specific assurance tasks  

ISEAL  Assurance Code


Intentions and direction of an organization , as formally expressed by its top management 

ISO 37101, Management system for sustainable development


Protected Areas

Clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.

IUCN Definition 2008   


Public Consultation   

Consultations with stakeholders to improve standards, policy or programme proposals.


Act by an organization of giving an official report about its sustainability policy, activities, performance and results



Need or expectation that is stated, generally implied or obligatory, describing a desired performance level or target to be achieved. It can make specific demands on how that level/target should be reached. A requirement can be based on practice, processes/systems, and outcome.


Adapted from ISO 37101:2016, Management system for sustainable development and from IISD report

Risk management

Process of risk identification, analysis and evaluation of the chance of something happening that will have an impact on objectives. It is measured in terms of a combination of the probability of an event and the severity of its consequences.

SSCI Glossary of Terms Version 1.0


Process of providing remedy for a negative impact and the substantive outcomes that can counteract, or make good, the negative impact. These outcomes may take a range of forms such as apologies, restitution, rehabilitation, financial or non-financial compensation, and punitive sanctions as well as the prevention of harm through, for example, injunctions or guarantees of non-repetition.

Adapted from UNGP reporting Glossary

Scheme owner

Organisation that determines the objectives and scope of the standards system, as well as the rules for how the scheme will operate and the standards against which conformance will be assessed. It can be a voluntary standard-setting organisation, a company, a governmental authority, a trade association or other body


Scheme Management

Determines the objectives and scope of the scheme, as well as the rules for how the scheme will operate and the standards against which conformance will be assessed.

Adapted from the ISEAL Credibility Principles v1 June 2013



Statement issued by an organization, on behalf of itself, and based on its own determination, that states its status against specified conformance requirements of a standard.

Adapted from ISO 14001

Small and Medium Enterprises

Non-subsidiary, independent firms which employ fewer than a given number of employees. SME’s integration in global supply chains can be a key driver for sustainable development.

Adapted from ITC SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015


Social impact

Direct or indirect business impacts on people: employees, workers in the value chain, customers and local communities

Adapted from UN Global Compact                                                                


Process of buying goods and services from the international market across geopolitical boundaries. Sustainable sourcing refers to the integration of social, ethical and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers, services and goods.

Adapted from OECD definition



Person, group or organisation that has interest or concern (actual or perceived) in an organisation. Stakeholders can affect or be affected by the organisation's actions, objectives and policies.

SSCI Glossary of Terms Version 1.0



Document that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, with which compliance is not necessarily legally mandatory, and which is dynamic and subject to change. A sustainability standard addresses the social, environmental or economic practices of a defined organization

Adapted from ISEAL Standard Setting Code,  SSCI Glossary of Terms and SAI Sustainable Sourcing Guide




Supply chain

Network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer. Sustainable supply chain management involves integrating sustainable practices into the complete supply chain lifecycle, from product design and development, to material selection, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, warehousing, distribution, consumption, return and disposal.

Adapted from Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation



Set of strategies to build a group’s capacities, promote the rights of its individuals and foster its access and performance towards sustainable practices.



Operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality.

UCLA Sustainability Committee, adapted from definition of UN World Commission on Environment and Development

Theory of Change

Approach describing the intended logic of an intervention into its implementation context, the causal pathways from outputs through outcomes via intermediate states towards impact, and the external factors that influence change.

Adapted from UNEP


Third Party Assurance

Assurance activity that is performed by a person or body that is independent of the person or organization that provides the object of assurance and of user interests in that object

ISEAL Assurance Code, adapted from ISO 17000


Completeness of the information about every step in a process chain which allows for verification of origin of the material.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ISEAL  Claims Good Practice Guide



Environment in which the objectives, framework, data and information of a policy are provided to stakeholders in a comprehensible, accessible, and timely manner.

Adapted from OECD Procurement ToolBox    


Economic revenue that an organization gets in return for its goods or services in a way that creates positive outcomes for society, by addressing its needs and challenges, considering economic, environmental and social considerations

Adapted from Porter & Kramer, The Big idea creating shared value 2011



Confirmation, through the provision of objective evidence, that specified requirements have been fulfilled.

ISEAL Assurance Code


Individual performing work for an organization, regardless of the existence or nature of any contractual relationship with that company.

UNGP Reporting Glossary

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