Reflecting on current and future trends affecting standards and similar systems

There are hundreds of standards and certification schemes on the market – but some are more credible than others. The ISEAL Credibility Principles aim to represent the core values on which effective sustainability systems are built. ISEAL developed the Credibility Principles through a global consultation with a diverse group of more than 400 stakeholders with the guidance of an international multi-stakeholder Steering Committee. Their goal was to pinpoint the fundamental qualities that make sustainability systems most likely to achieve positive impacts. The principles provide a guide for any system that assesses sustainability. Companies, governments and NGOs can also use them as a reference point for developing benchmarking or internal audit tools.

ISEAL is currently revising the Credibility Principles and is engaging stakeholders in consultations. Through the revision, ISEAL is updating the principles to reflect current and future trends affecting standards and similar systems. The revision process involves two rounds of consultation on the revised principles in 2020 before the final revised version will be published in 2021.

Participate and Contribute to the Consultation Process

The second round of stakeholder consultation on the ISEAL Credibility Principles is now open until 18 December 2020. The draft proposed is informed by extensive feedback received during the first round of consultation on version 1.1 that took place in May to July 2020 and the earlier review of the principles. We encourage everyone with an interest in what credible practices look like for sustainability standards and similar systems, such as data-driven or landscape approaches, to participate.

ISEAL has organised a webinar in Spanish (Presentación de los Principios de Credibilidad de ISEAL versión 1.2) where they will introduce the principles and create a safe space for interested parties to raise their concerns and share their feedback on the principles.

You may also be interested in registering for a further webinar that ISEAL is co-hosting with GlobeScan: From consultation to collaboration: stakeholder engagement that drives systemic change  on 10 December 2020.

Information about the consultation is available in Chinese, English, Portuguese and Spanish here

You can find more information about consultation feedback and review findings on the consultation webpage or email

The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.