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Common Questions about the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics

What is the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics?

The Certification Board determined that the Certified Arborist Program required a reasonable ethics program, including a statement of the minimum standards of conduct for certificants. This determination resulted in the development of the new ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics, and the implementation of certain, related eligibility requirements and agreements. Please also note that the Certification Program is required to maintain and enforce such ethics or conduct rules as part of our recognition and accreditation under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 17024 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Meeting these standards in turn strengthens the value of the credential holder’s Arborist certification.

How does the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics help me?

The Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics serves as a central reference guide for ISA Certified Arborists® in support of their day-to-day decision making in the tree-care profession. It is meant to define our organization's mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct and industry standards. This document will be an important communication tool to help sustain consistency around the world and create an even playing field for all ISA Certified Arborists®. In addition, your customers can rest assured that they are receiving high quality service by hiring an ISA Certified Arborist®.

What does ISA do with the information that I give out in the ISA Certified Arborist® Agreement?

All of the information disclosed in the Certified Arborist Agreement is strictly confidential and is maintained internally by the International Society of Arboriculture. It is not shared, sold or otherwise distributed to other entities, public or private. The information provided is only reviewed by the ISA Certification Program and other authorized representatives under the applicable ethics rules. Again, information is NOT released or shared.

Why do you need to know violations of arboricultural business-related information as it relates to the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics?

The Certification Board has determined this information is important and relevant to its review of certification and recertification eligibility, and is consistent with ISA’s ability to administer an appropriate ethics program. The information received will be reviewed by the Director of Certification only to determine if the matter(s) should be referred to the ISA Ethics Review Committee for review under the ethics policies. ISA is not requiring the disclosure of confidential information. Rather, the required information is either reported in the public records of courts or governmental agencies, or is contained in the records of professional organizations.

What happens if I refuse to sign the agreement?

Submission of the signed agreement is a required condition of those seeking new certification as well those maintaining their certification. Failure to provide the required information will result in certification discipline and/or sanctions under the Certification Program Appeals Policy. This may lead to certifications being revoked or suspended. These rules serve significant organizational, public protection, and professional purposes, and are particularly important where court, governmental, and professional organization matters relate directly to a professional arborist's public conduct.

I have already signed the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics, why do I need to sign it again?

We want to let you know that we have listened to the feedback we received, and are taking action. Specifically, we have made changes to the requirement for disclosure. We have now limited the scope of this disclosure requirement, asking all ISA Certified Arborists to only report those activities which are related to the professional practice of arboriculture. Please note that you will be asked to acknowledge the changes by signing the updated agreement when you reach recertification.

How can I submit the ISA Certified Arborist® Code of Ethics?

The Code of Ethics is being sent electronically to credential holders with a valid email address or mailed to your certification address on your account. If your address or email had recently changed please contact our office to update your account.

If you have received an email notification of the Code of Ethics you may submit the Code of Ethics by clicking on the link in the email and logging into the ISA website.

If you received the Code of Ethics in the mail you may use the enclosed postage-paid return envelope or mail in a hard copy of the Code of Ethics to:

International Society of Arboriculture
Attention Certification/Code of Ethics
P.O. Box 3129
Champaign, IL 61826-3129
United States

Who can I talk to if I want more information?

You may contact ISA by e-mail at isa@isa-arbor.com or by phone at +1.217.355.9411.

©International Society of Arboriculture 2009-2014
PO Box 3129 • Champaign, IL 61826, USA • +1.217.355.9411

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