Frequently asked questions

Who created the Navigator website and why?

The website was created by BSI with the support of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS, now BEIS) and The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to provide support and guidance to businesses in the wider area of sustainability. Launched in May 2014, the Sustainability Navigator is currently a pilot site.

Sustainability standards apply across different sectors and deliver a wide range of benefits. There are many standards in this fast-moving area and there is much confusion regarding the relative benefits of each standard. The Sustainability Standards Navigator is intended to provide a practical tool that organizations can employ to understand which standard in the sustainability space will help with a specific problem, and the benefits of implementing these standard(s). It is intended to improve the accessibility of standards to organizations across all sectors and of all sizes.

BSI is the business standards company that helps organizations all over the world make excellence a habit. We are well placed to provide this content as the UK's National Standards body, appointed by government to represent the UK in regional and international standards making activities.

This is a prototype site with a focus on a limited number of standards and standardization material. We appreciate that the Sustainability Standards Navigator site may need further enhancement so your feedback on the content and functionality of it are important to us and will inform the review and update of the site at a later stage.

How do I use the Sustainability Standards Navigator website?

  • You can explore the sustainability themes and sub-themes content to find out more about the complex area of sustainability, and to find key standards and related support materials; or
  • You can take the Solution Finder assessment by answering 4 questions to receive useful information and lists of standards and related materials that are specific to your needs. We also ask one optional question on what your job role is and collect your email address (you may opt in to receive Sustainability newsletters from BSI).

Why we collect your email address

  • We collect your email address in order to complete the validation process and provide you with your results to the Solution Finder assessment. In order to receive your results, you will need to click on the validation link in the email from, the first time you submit your answers. Thereafter you will receive your results on the Navigator site, unless you clear your cookies. You will be sent an email of each Solution Finder result set you submit. We collect your submissions for analysis (the answers you selected when using the Solution Finder, your email address and opt-in selections). NB. Check the email from us hasn't gone into your junk folder. You may want to add the to your safe senders list.
  • BSI collects your email address in order to send you updates about the Sustainability Standards Navigator website and the standards and supporting materials the site covers, as well as Sustainability newsletters from BSI, if you have opted in to receive these. We will not contact you if you choose NOT to opt-in to one or both of these information services.

Understanding the Sustainability Standards Navigator results

The results displayed on your results page are based on the answers you provided to the following Solution Finder questions:

  • Question 1, Issue
  • Question 2, Level of applicability
  • Question 3, Industry
  • Question 4, Organization size

Solution finder questions 1-4


Two groups of results are displayed on the Results page: 1) a list of themes and sub-themes that are closely related to the issue you have identified in response to Question 1:

Solution Finder results-themes

And 2) a list of key standards and supporting material which relate to the identified issue, further filtered down by your response to Questions 2, 3 and 4. Here is a truncated example of this second part of the results page:

Solution Finder-results2


List of standards, related support materials and standards in development

If you are interested in finding out more about a specific standard included in your list of results, click on the link to visit BSI Shop or, in some cases (if the standard is available for free download) , you will be taken to a registration page. Further information on how to use the BSI Shop website can be found here.

Search results on occasion refer to a whole group of standards, i.e. a series. By clicking on the link to the series, you’ll be taken to a search results page on the BSI Shop where all the publications and parts within the respective series will be listed. You can then click on each individual part or standard to read more about it before deciding to download it or move on to more relevant results.

Related materials (supporting materials such as books, guidance and other business information publications) can be also found on the BSI Shop or can be obtained directly from the material’s download/registration page. On some occasions, the link displayed on your results page/list of standards will take you to an external website where more information about non-BSI documents or initiatives can be found.

You can view BSI standards, reports and specifications online via the BSI Shop. To download any document, you will need to complete a short form. The content is currently provided by BSI and is protected by copyright, author rights and/or other intellectual property rights.

What are the different types of standards? 

Click here to find out more about the different types of standards or visit the Understanding standards section of this site.

These different types are produced depending on market demand and purpose, and the time taken to draft and approve them can vary.

What websites/organizations do the documents link to?

The documents have referenced standards, specifications and reports and these have links to the relevant documents on the BSI Shop. There are also references to relevant standards and support materials from other providers, which you can also access by clicking on the links.

How do I get involved in standards?

We actively seek to bring together all those with significant interest in particular projects. We encourage participation in a number of ways, including via membership of a BSI committee and we’re always on hand to give you the support you need.

Visit the BSI website to find out about getting involved in helping to develop standards in the UK.

Find out more about standards on the BSI website.

Visit BSI's other sites for further information about standards, our work in progress and the standards development process:

  • BSI Standards Development enables you to increase your awareness of the work that BSI is involved in and to become more actively involved in the standardization process
  • BSI Draft Review site offers an easy way to make comments on draft standards, voicing your views and sharing your expertise
  • BSI Standards proposals allows you to view and comment on new proposals; search proposals by name, subject matter or committee, and  suggest new ideas for standards.

I’m having a problem using the site using Internet Explorer 8

The Sustainability Standards Navigator website is optimized for Chrome, Firefox and IE9 and above. You may experience a few display issues if you are using IE8, which sometimes makes websites display incorrectly. To get a better experience you can either:

  • upgrade your version of Internet Explorer. Visit the Microsoft website to find the latest version
  • try a different, free, browser; the website works on a number of other browsers including Firefox and Chrome

What if I want to view all standards on the Navigator website?

If you want to view all the latest versions of the standards linked from the site, select all answers to Question 2 'Where does this issue apply within your organization?' and select answer 'Other' to Question 3 'Which industry do you work in?'. 

I want to access an older version of a standard, how do I do that?

In the Navigator site we direct you to the most recent version of particular standards. Once you have found this standard in BSI's Shop, you can search within the Shop for previous or other versions and related documents.

What happens if I find a technical problem?

As this is a pilot website, we do not yet offer full technical support. However, please complete our site survey (which should pop-up when you go to the Results page) to provide feedback or contact Customer Services with your enquiry.

Why doesn't the Solution Finder tool work?

You must validate your email address by clicking on the link within the email from, in order to receive your personalized results to the Solution Finder questions. If you do not receive the email immediately, check that it is not in your junk folder and add us to your safe sender list. The first time you click on the link, a cookie will be placed on your device. This process of email validation will not function correctly if you are in incognito browser mode.

Where does the content come from? 

Initially the content for the pilot Navigator site is provided by BSI.

The links in the content are to relevant and related standards and specifications produced by BSI and other standards organizations.

Why are standards important?

Standards exist principally to provide a reliable basis on which common expectations can be shared regarding specific characteristics of a product, service or process. For a standard to be a useful and attractive tool for conducting business or supporting public policy, it has to command the trust and respect of all those who are likely to be affected by it. BSI and the standards bodies we work with facilitate collaboration to produce relevant and specific standards.


Find out more about standards on the BSI website.