Global brand producers and retailers increasingly require their suppliers to comply with social, environmental and safety norms. These norms are usually referred to as ‘industry or private standards’.

Compliance is not a major problem when national laws and regulations already incorporate these standards. However, sometimes private standards may also go beyond national and local laws. You will need to check which certification is available for your product and which one will provide you with more benefits, including competitive advantages, improved efficiency and, ultimately, more exporting opportunities.


Private standards are something other than the technical regulations. Private standards focus on social, safety and environmental issues and are required by brand producers and retailers when they source their products. These standards come in various shapes and sizes. For example, not all private standards have the same focus and not all are of equal importance. For example, labour issues seem more prevalent in the leather and garments sector, while requirements for compliance to environmental concerns are more common in the furniture sector.

Standards may be applicable to the production site and/or the product itself. Buyer codes of conduct usually refer primarily to production sites, while certificates and product labels most often imply compliance with requirements related to both the production site and the product itself. In the context of globalised manufacturing, private standards are constantly progressing. Some private standards have emerged from basic laws while others have come from the opposite direction and have been translated into legislation.


• To find out the most common private standards that EU buyers will ask for your product, go to Standardsmap.

Source: (