The obligation to demonstrate that the work has been carried out in accordance with the agreed rules and standards, or to report properly and accurately on the performance results to the commissioners. This may require a careful, even legally defensible, demonstration of the work's compliance with the terms of the contract.
Confirmation by a third party that a assurance provider has the necessary competence to carry out specific assurance tasks.
A person appointed by an accreditation body to carry out, alone or as part of an assessment team, the assessment of a conformity assessment body.
Demonstrable evidence that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled
Body that assesses compliance of a client with a standard, also known as Conformity Assessment Body (CAB). Assurance providers can be accredited (ISO/IEC 17011: 2004). Oftentimes, membership initiatives are standard-setting body and CAB at the same time.
Management system to guarantee that the scheme requirements in the area of assurance are adhered to and practicable. This includes an at least annual systematic management review by the scheme owner's senior management to assess performance of its assurance system, update classification of risks, and inform improvements. An analysis of assurance system data, stakeholder input and risk classifications can be used for the assessment.
Systematic, documented process for obtaining records, statements of fact or other relevant information and objectively evaluating them to determine the extent to which the specified requirements have been met.
Control activity performed by a person or body independent of the person or organisation providing the test object and of the user interests in that object.
A report on observations of compliance of establishments with the requirements/requirements. The report focuses on information about non-conformities. Cf. ' Audit '
A person who carries out the audit (Cf. ' Audit ').
Business-to-Business (B2B) is generally used for the relationship between at least two companies. B2B labels distinguish particularly committed companies and their products and services. They are often not readily visible to the end consumer. Siegelklarheit currently focuses mainly on consumer labels (business-to-consumer/B2C labels). In other words, labels that are not aimed at other companies, but primarily at consumers.
Collective term for all means used to indicate that compliance with the specified requirements has been demonstrated.
Third party attestation in relation to a conformity assessment body , providing formal evidence of its competence, impartiality and consistent operation in carrying out specific conformity assessment activities (cf. 'Conformity Assessment Body ').
The aim of chain of custody (CoC) systems is to validate statements about the product, process, company or service covered by the sustainability standard. This is achieved by defining a set of requirements and measures. They provide the necessary controls for the movement of material or products (and associated sustainability data) from approved or certified companies through each stage of the supply chain. The CoC system thus forms the basis for all statements that can be made about the approved or certified product.
Written or pictorial statement about the sustainability attributes of a product, process, service or organisation. They can act as filters that provide people with information about the social and environmental attributes of a product or service, which can influence the decision to buy a particular product.
Expression of dissatisfaction by an individual or organisation to a signatory organisation, an audit body or a regulatory body in relation to their respective activities, where a response is expected.
Process to ensure that the specific requirements of a standard are met.
Measures to eliminate the cause of a non-conformity and prevent its recurrence.
In the credibility dimension, the requirements are based on principles of the ISEAL Alliance. This examines how the label provider ensures that its requirements are met by the label recipients and how transparent the implementation system is. A label is considered credible if it meets at least the minimum requirements in the credibility dimension.
The credibility criteria were developed by Siegelklarheit in cooperation with (inter)national experts and were last revised in 2021 in a comprehensive revision process.
Basically, the decision-making body is the highest organisational body that has decision-making authority over the strategic and managerial decisions of an organisation. In this context, the decision-making body is usually the scheme owner.
The requirements of Siegelklarheit for sustainability labels are divided into three dimensions:
- Environmental friendliness
- Social compatibility
In the dimension of environmental friendliness, we analyse labels in up to nine sub-areas:
- Water: Is water used carefully and is water pollution, for example through sewage, avoided?
- Soil: Is soil quality, especially soil fertility, maintained? Are there measures to protect the soil, such as maintaining crop rotation?
- Energy and climate: What measures are in place to reduce energy demand and avoid greenhouse gases? What measures are being taken to adapt to climate change?
- Chemicals: Which chemicals may be used? Are there regulations on how hazardous substances must be handled? Are there regulations on when and to what extent hazardous substances may be used?
- Waste and air pollution: Are waste and harmful emissions avoided, raw materials reused and, in particular, toxic waste disposed of appropriately?
- Biodiversity and ecosystems: What provisions are being made to protect important ecosystems, promote habitat diversity and conserve biodiversity?
- Environmental management: Is there an operational environmental management system or environmental impact assessments?
- Material use: Are there specifications for the environmentally compatible production of raw materials or of other materials used in the manufacture of the products, such as fibres in textile production?
- Quality: How is the fitness for use and durability of the products ensured in order to guarantee a long period of use and reduce negative environmental impacts?
In the dimension of social compatibility, we examine the labels in three thematic areas:
- Human rights and social responsibility: Are possible negative effects of production on workers checked and countermeasures taken? To what extent do manufacturers ensure that the fundamental rights of local people are respected?
- Workers' rights: Are basic labour standards and occupational health and safety measures respected?
- Ethical business practices: What about supply relationships, productivity or anti-corruption measures?
We assess the credibility of a label based on the following topics:
- System management: How is the standard-setting organisation structured? How transparent are its structures and how are the decision-making bodies composed?
- Control system: Are the requirements checked by an independent, qualified body? Are abuses sanctioned?
- Standard setting: Who is involved in formulating the requirements? Are the objections of stakeholders taken into account? How often is the catalogue of requirements revised?
- Product labelling and traceability: What does a label claim and who may adorn themselves with it? Can certified raw materials also be traced back through the production phases?
They identify products that have been produced in an environmentally friendly way.
The assessment of the labels is based on a catalogue of more than 300 requirements that leading experts from academia, civil society and the private sector develop with us - based on existing international standards, the latest scientific research and the specifications of labelling associations. These include, for example, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the overall requirements, we distinguish between minimum requirements of the German Government and the extended requirements.
Any written, printed or graphic representation present on, accompanying or displayed near a product. It indicates that the corresponding product is compliant with the standard. Environmental and social labels support consumers in making conscious purchases and thereby promote responsible economic action.
An agreement or contract that grants a certified operator the right to use certificates or certification marks in accordance with the requirements of this scheme.
A set of interrelated or interacting elements of a labelling organisation to establish policies and objectives and processes to achieve them.
A management system can address a single discipline or several disciplines, e.g. quality management, financial management or environmental management. The elements of the management system define the organisation's structure, roles and responsibilities, planning, operations, policies, practices, rules, beliefs, objectives and processes to achieve these objectives. The scope of the management system may include the entire organisation, specific and identified functions of the organisation, specific and identified areas of the organisation, or one or more functions in a group of organisations.
The minimum requirements are adopted by the German Federal Government. They are selected from the list with the overall requirements.
The minimum requirements cover topics of particular relevance in the respective dimensions (environmental/social/credibility) and thus ensure that
- the labels address the most important social and environmental challenges in their product group and
- they are backed up by a credible implementation system.
There are separate requirements for each dimension and for each product group. Labels that you find on Siegelklarheit are marked according to whether they meet the minimum requirements (✓) or not (✕).
The differentiation between the extended requirements and the minimum requirements is important because labels are structured very differently. Some labels are very comprehensive and set ambitious requirements for products to be certified in all dimensions. Other labels focus on a single dimension, for example environmental aspects, or only consider certain parts of the respective value chain. Still others set lower requirements for certification. However, they all make an important contribution to sustainable development and should be mapped to Siegelklarheit, provided they have a credible standard and implementation system.
Systematic repetition of conformity assessment activities as a basis for maintaining the validity of the declaration of conformity. Monitoring activities of false claims and misuse of claims and labels to support quality assurance.
In this context, the term means a process in which different interest groups (stakeholders) are fully involved. By including the perspectives and opinions of diverse stakeholders, it is more likely that the outcomes will be seen as legitimate. In turn, pooling the knowledge and resources of the respective stakeholders enables better and potentially more sustainable solutions. The ISEAL Alliance, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to strengthening sustainability standard systems for the benefit of people and the environment, considers multi-stakeholder processes as good practice for developing, structuring and improving credible and effective standard systems.
The National Programme on Sustainable Consumption is an important tool for implementing the Agenda 2030. The program aims to reconcile the consumption patterns and needs of current generations with the needs of future generations without exceeding Earth's planetary boundaries.
As part of the Programme, the federal government has committed to expanding Siegelklarheit. By making sustainable purchasing decisions easier, the portal is an important tool for promoting sustainable private consumption.
In the National Sustainable Development Strategy (DNS) is a guideline issued by the German government to promote the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 in national legislation. In addition to politics, the strategy also addresses businesses, the scientific community and civil society as actors of sustainability. The strategy is regularly revised and updated. On March 10, 2021, the further development of the strategy was approved by the German Cabinet.
The overall catalogue of requirements, consisting of approx. 300 requirements, forms the basis for an assessment of Siegelklarheit. It was developed in 2013/2014 by over 200 experts from science, civil society and the private sector. It is based on international standards, scientific findings and the specifications of label associations such as the ISEAL Alliance or the Global Ecolabelling Network. The requirements relate to the three dimensions credibility, social and environment. For the latter two, they partly take into account specific sustainability challenges of individual product groups.
Assessment of an assurance provider’s demonstration of competence to carry out specific assurance tasks. Oversight can be provided by both an accreditation body (AB), an official body that performs accreditation, and the standard-setting organization.
Best practice is to ensure that there is independent evaluation and judgement. This may mean that independent accreditation is performed or that oversight is performed by an institution separate from the assurance provider and the standard-setting organization.
An organisation that assesses the competence of a conformity assessment body to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.
Siegelklarheit currently has 7 product groups. A product group contains different labels for the evaluation of products that are similar due to their intended purpose, their material composition or their properties in such a way that the same equirements can be applied to each of them. In two additional product groups (timber and foodstuff) there are currently no requirements defined, however, labels can be presented for information purposes.
Evidence that specified requirements for a product, process, system, person or body have been met.
A type of verification used by one system, where recognition of another system's verification mechanism is considered sufficient to demonstrate assurance.
Public consultation is a process whereby the general public is consulted and asked about matters that affect them. The main objectives of public consultations are to improve the transparency, efficiency and legitimacy of decisions.
For instance, in early 2021 interested stakeholders (consumers, labelling organisations, certification bodies and accreditors, associations, companies, initiatives, civil society, governmental actors, etc.) had the opportunity to contribute to the revision of the SSCT credibility requirements in a public consultation consisting of two rounds. The aim of the revision was to check whether the credibility requirements were still up-to-date and practical. In addition, it should be ensured that new technical, social and political developments are reflected.
Publicly available refers to the free availability of something without having to ask for it. A document available for free download from a website is considered publicly available. In turn, if you have to send a request to get the document, this is considered "available on request".
The part of a management system that relates to the quality of a standard, organisation, product or service.
What requirements must be met by a company to be able to use a label for its product?
The requirements may refer to these points:
- Manufacturing process, e.g. the prohibition of child labour
- Properties, e.g. energy consumption of an electrical appliance
- Management processes, e.g. operational environmental management
However, they are basically label-specific.
Activity of reviewing a normative document to determine whether it should be reaffirmed, amended or withdrawn.
Introduction of all necessary changes to the content and presentation of a normative document. The results of the revision are made available by the publication of a new edition of the normative document.
The probability of something happening that has an impact on the targets. It is measured by a combination of the probability of an event and the severity of its consequences.
The probability of something happening that has an impact on the targets. It is measured by a combination of the probability of an event and the severity of its consequences
- Analysis (and comparison) of the likelihood of negative outcomes of alternative actions, which is anticipated in development, harvesting or management strategies and can serve, for example, as a basis for determining audit frequency. .
- A process consisting of three components: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
- An analytical technique in which the probabilities of occurrence of an adverse event (e.g. drought, hurricane, fall in the price of a product) are estimated for each critical element of a project. Repeated calculations are then made (usually by computer) of a measure of the value of the project, with each element entering the successive calculations according to the probability of its occurrence.
A risk analysis can support decision making processes and can refer for instance to requirements on risk-based audit frequency.
Applied when management capacity is limited in relation to the number of objectives and related problems to be addressed. The limited management capacity is concentrated on solving priority problems. In this way, management capacity is not diluted by too many problems. A phased approach is introduced, where low-risk problems are addressed at a later stage.
They identify products that were produced in a socially responsible manner.
Individuals or groups who have an interest in the system or are affected by its decisions or activities. Stakeholders also include parties with protected interests such as rights holders
The "standard" is a document. It specifies the content requirements for the product or production process.
[von Nadine: Macht Eintrag/Definition Sinn, wenn Eintrag "standard document"? Eher Synoym?]
The founding documents of a labelling organisation, which contain basic information such as the by-laws, articles of association, memorandum of association, charters, articles of association, etc.
Standard documents form the basis for the evaluation of labels and the implementation and control systems established by the label-issuing organisations.
Standard systems are used in many sectors to improve social, environmental and economic performance. They are market-based initiatives that address sustainability issues by introducing a standard or similar tool that defines levels of performance or ways to improve. However, the "standard system" goes beyond the standard itself. It involves the implementation process and the monitoring mechanism in addition to the requirements defined in the standard.
An organisation that is responsible for developing and maintaining the standard and the assurance scheme. It sets the objectives and scope of the scheme, defines which goals are to be achieved with it as well as the rules for how the scheme will operate. It also decides whether a product may be awarded with a label. It defines the standard and the standard system.
Standard-setting organisations can be set up by
- government agencies
- non-governmental organisations
or a combination of the above. Recognised inspection bodies usually verify the requirements. They must be independent of the companies applying for a label for their production process. Some organisations award labels for which they have formulated the requirements and monitor compliance. Some labels do not provide for any controls at all.
Assessment of the competence of a conformity assessment provider to carry out specific conformity assessment activities. Supervision can be carried out by an accreditation body (AB), an official body that performs accreditation, as well as by the standard-setting organisation. Good practice is to ensure that there is independent assessment. This may mean that there is independent accreditation or that oversight is carried out by an institution separate from the conformity assessment provider and the standard-setting organisation.
An organisation that provides the enterprise with goods and/or services that are an integral part of the enterprise's goods and/or services and are used in their production.
The Sustainability Standards Comparison Tool (SSCT) is a tool for analysing and evaluating sustainability standards and enables the various actors to research and compare the credibility, social and environmental requirements of the standards. SSCT was developed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In the evaluation methodology you will find all further information.
The ability to track the history, application or location of an object.
Environment in which the objectives, framework, data and information of a policy are provided to stakeholders in a comprehensible, accessible, and timely manner.
Confirmation through the provision of objective evidence that specified requirements have been met. The objective evidence required for verification may be the result of an inspection or other forms of determinations, such as making alternative calculations or reviewing documents.