Standards Development

The Business Standards for 21st Century Leadership are informed by data and research as well as broad and equitable stakeholder engagement. Our development process embodies our commitment to advancing equity and achieving lasting positive impact.

Our third public comment period is open and we want to hear from you! From May 20 through October 31, 2024, share your feedback on the draft standards, our approach to governance, and our implementation plans.

Get involved here.

Guiding Principles

Building on the 2021 CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity, we began our standards development effort by formulating our Guiding Principles. These Principles serve as the foundation for our strategy, the methodology of the standards, our development process, and the standards themselves. They are: 

  1. Achieving equitable outcomes
  2. Following equitable processes
  3. Lifting up what works
  4. Championing transparency
  5. Building a big tent and robust standards that stand the test of time
  6. Embedding accountability in processes and outcomes

See complete descriptions of our Guiding Principles in our Standards FAQs.

Commitment to Equitable Stakeholder Engagement

In line with our guiding principle to follow equitable processes, broad stakeholder engagement is core to our standards development effort. Gathering feedback throughout our development process is one way that we aim to ensure the standards we build meet the needs of all people.

Our approach to stakeholder engagement not only aims to align with industry best practices, including the ISEAL Code of Good Practice, but also aims to build consensus and connection across the broad array of corporate stakeholders (especially those most impacted by our current economic system) and increase the likelihood of adoption by businesses. 

We have learned from a rich diversity of voices that have affirmed and strengthened our work — from frontline workers to young people, equity advocates, under- and unemployed people, community leaders, consumers, investors, business leaders, standards setters, academics, public leaders, business advisors, trade groups, and more. Read our blog for more on our approach to equitable stakeholder engagement. 

In 2022, we hosted a public comment period focused on our approach and methodology to standards development. Find the complete comment record from our 2022 Public Comment Period here.  

Standards Development Process 

Over the past several years, we have released our standards development approach and methodology, developed the draft standards, and conducted robust engagement with a broad array of stakeholders to gather feedback and test our work. 

Looking Ahead

Approximately every three or four years, we plan to review and update the standards as needed to address changes in circumstances and opportunities to deepen the positive impacts of companies in line with sustainable value creation that serves all stakeholders. We will invite stakeholders to provide their feedback as new versions of the standards are being developed. In addition to formal public comment periods, we welcome feedback at any time at

After several years of standards implementation in the US, if not sooner, we will explore ecosystem partnerships to adapt and deploy the standards to other regions across the globe. Sign up for the CRE Alliance newsletter for these and other standards development updates.