Making data work smarter

FSC works with the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL) and other ISEAL members to develop an information and data standard for sustainability. This work is supported by the ISEAL Innovation Fund.

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 Innovation 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.



We are currently developing a matrix of data objects for each requirement in ISEAL codes, as well as four sample repositories which will be piloted in FSC.

Following this will be the development of guidance material and white-label repositories for voluntary implementation with other ISEAL members.

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

Swizz Confederation