ISEAL Surveys 100 Experts on Sustainability Standards (March 2011)

Mar 2011

The ISEAL Alliance has released a report entitled the ISEAL 100 in which it surveys 100 “thought leaders” (mainly business people) as to how they use and regard sustainability standards.  The report can be downloaded from the following location:

The main findings are as follows.


  • Certification is an increasingly useful tool with which large companies address and implement sustainability issues.  On average large companies (e.g. Walmart, Nestle) use four different social and environmental standards.  Two thirds use either Fairtrade, FSC, MSC, Rainforest Alliance or an organic standard or a combination of the five.
  • 80% of the respondents mention the value of using certified standards to increase efficiency of operations, with credible verification cited as a positive.
  • Frustrations include: cost involved, overlap of different standards and differences in systems and approaches of standards.  However, more than half rejected the notion of a universal eco-label to cover all issues and sectors.
  • Conclusions: (a) social and environmental standards are an increasingly useful sustainability tool for large companies; (b) credibility of the standards is all-important, their reputation and a multi-stakeholder approach is essential; (c) operational improvements are a key benefit from use of standards; (d) the standards landscape needs to be more coherent, with less overlap and more business focused.



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