Making data work smarter

FSC works with ISEAL and other ISEAL members to develop an information and data standard for sustainability. This work is supported by the ISEAL Innovations Fund, which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

FSC Data Standard
FSC IC / Phil Sharp.

Making data work for us

In collaboration with ISEAL, we are developing an Information and Data Standard for Sustainability.

Our goal in developing the data standard is to make information about sustainability standards’ performance and practices easier to access, understand and use, within, across and outside sustainability standard-setting organizations.

The project runs from 2018 to 2021 and aims to enable sustainability standards to utilise their considerable data for better impact assessments, more comparability and to assist in external research endeavours

FSC aims to assist stakeholders in facilitating easy access to a multitude of different sustainability standards and their associated benefits. The following outcomes are possible:

  • Extended reach and cost-efficiency of sustainability standards;
  • More accessible certification for smallholders, communities and people living in remote areas;
  • Increased uptake of technological innovations; and
  • Aggregated data, creating stronger standards across the world.

Collaborating for greater impact

A uniform information and data standard will allow us to standardise the meaning of different data models.

Our rationale is that for ISEAL member organisations, it is useful to have consistent formats, definitions and tags for different pieces of information so that the data and terminology can be used across standard-setting organizations.

Additionally, it helps to alleviate the need to manually provide answers repeatedly to data queries from researchers or other stakeholders. This is because an information and data standard enables contextualised searching.

With the support of the ISEAL Innovations Fund, we have the support needed to lift the standard out of a purely FSC context and make it implementable across all dominating certification schemes.



The outputs of the project is the development of a standardised data schema based on the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice, as well as repository for the  Data collections of Certificate, Normative, Geospatial and Impact Measurement.

The first two data repositories have already been created – one for FSC normative framework and one for GIS data. This has enabled our data in these areas to be standardized across FSC delivering improved operational efficiency, best practices in data governance and appropriate data licensing. It additionally supports the availability of new FSC services such as FSC on the Map and improves the experience of our stakeholders when searching for information on the various FSC Standards. The repository is open and available at  and it will  provide the template on which the IDSS will build the test environment for the wider ISEAL Community to explore the use and value of data standardisation.  From April 2020 and until October 2020 we will add the Certificate and Impact measurement collections and prepare for pilot testing of the Repository by the community.  

Simultaneously with the development of the repositories, we are developing guidance material and a test repository for voluntary piloting or implementation with other ISEAL members.

The project is expected to be concluded in 2021.

The project to develop the Information and Data Standard for Sustainability is funded by ISEAL Alliance Innovations Fund grant, which is supported the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

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