Accreditation Schemes


Review of leading global ethical compliance and CSR accreditation organisations and schemes, assessing their:

  • governance and funding
  • membership and beneficiaries
  • assessment methods
  • areas of criticism
  • visibility
  • transparency


Select a scheme for more details:


Business in the Community (BITC)

As a cross-industry consultancy with more than 830 member companies, BITC claims to be the UK’s largest business membership organisation committed to corporate responsibility.


Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)

Established in 2002 by the European industry body the Foreign Trade Association, aims to establish a common, cross-industry platform for monitoring social compliance in global supply chains.


Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)

A tripartite organisation bringing together UK companies, trade Unions and NGOs with the aim of improving working conditions across supply chains.


Fair Labor Association (FLA)

This USA non-profit organisation brings together universities, civil society organizations (CSOs) and companies to find sustainable solutions to systemic labour issues.


Fair Wear Foundation (FWF)

Fair Wear Foundation works to improve workplace conditions in the garment and textile industries.



Widely viewed as the most effective attempt to promote the ideals of ethical consumption to a mainstream audience.


Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The FSC label is designed to reassure the consumer that their purchase has been sourced from a well-managed forest.


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Provides a baseline framework on reporting sustainability that can be used across industries, and aims to make sustainability reporting as routine as its financial equivalent.


Marine Stewardship Council

Based in London, the Marine Stewardship Council was established in 1997 by WWF and Unilever, becoming fully independent in 1999.


Organic (IFOAM)

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is the umbrella organisation for organic agriculture, and its establishment in 1972 marked the beginning of the modern, organised organic movement.


Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

The world's largest forest certification system. It claims to be the certification system of choice for small, non-industrial private and family-owned forests.


Rainforest Alliance (RA)

Launched its first certified farms in 1992 and in 1993 helped establish the Forest Stewardship Council, as well as launching a sustainable tourism programme. 


Social Accountability International - SA8000

Works to protect the integrity of workers around the world by building local capacity and developing systems of accountability through socially responsible standards. SA8000 is a code of conduct verification and factory certification programme run by SAI.


Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI inc)

SFI is the preferred certification system for large forestry companies, and aims to mainstream certification by taking a non-confrontational approach to business stakeholders.


United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

The largest corporate social responsibility initiative in the world.


Utz Certified

Founded by Dutch food retailer Ahold as a market-friendly alternative to Fair Trade.


Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) 

Established by industry association American Apparel and Footwear Association. Claims to run 'the largest independent facility certification program in the world mainly focused on the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sectors'.



Research by Ross Jones and Ragnhild Johansen.