Using sustainability standards to improve the world

By Alexander Ellebrecht | April 25, 2018

Standards_CompaniesChainPoint has been working with brand owners, NGOs and other organisations for years to improve sustainability. One way for companies to improve their sustainability is by adopting a sustainability standard. Below we outline how standards can contribute towards a sustainable world. 

Sustainability standards and certifications play an important role in improving the sustainability of commodities, products, companies and entire supply chains. Standards are adopted by companies not only to bring a sense of compliance and best practices to their operations but also to convey authenticity and respect for environmental and ethical factors.

Definition of standards:
“Sustainability standards and certifications are usually third party-assessed norms and standards relating to environmental, social, ethical and food safety issues.”  source

Origin of standards

The first sustainability standards were formed in the late 1980s. Nowadays there are more than 400 standards in the world and their number is still growing. The origin of standards can be found in social movements in certain countries, or standards initiated by roundtables consisting of NGOs, private firms, development agencies and other stakeholders. Other standards have been initiated by individual companies before being more widely adopted.

Studies show that standards play an important role in improving sustainability. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) adopted by companies on a voluntary basis proves to be much more effective than government regulated CSR.

Some examples of well-established standards are Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance as well as younger standards with new approaches like Better Cotton Initiative.

As sustainability is becoming increasingly more important, so is the need for standards. Most recently standards have also moved into new areas such as mining, cattle, electronics, plastics, bioplastics and tourism.

ISEAL Alliance

With the growing number of standards in the world, it is essential that the legitimacy and performance of the different initiatives are assessed. It is important for consumers, NGOs, private firms and many other stakeholders to know which standards deliver real social, environmental and economic results. The ISEAL Alliance, founded in 2002, has emerged as the important authority on assessing standards. By complying to the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice, standards companies can demonstrate their efforts and show the legitimacy of their standard.

ChainPoint: The IT partner for standards

ChainPoint has extensive experience with standards companies, supplying them with traceability and certification solutions. Standards such as RTRS, BCI and The Rainforest Alliance, rely on ChainPoint technology and experience.

Interested in our work for standards companies?

We will be happy to share some of our use cases and demos with you if you are interested. Please fill in the form below to contact us and we will arrange a call/demo.


Posted in BCI, RTRS, Fairtrade, sustainability standards, ISEAL, standards

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