The Principles of the GS1 System of Standards

The GS1 System is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world, a combination of standards, guidelines, solutions and services which have been created in a collaborative manner between GS1 and end-users.


There are many principles that the GS1 Standards, when being created, must deliver. These include conformance, consistency, interoperability, scalability, openness, simplicity and technology independence.

The development and implementation of GS1 Standards must also:

  • deliver demonstrable business value,
  • be applicable globally and in multiple industry sectors, and
  • have an equitable spread of costs and benefits throughout the supply chain.

The GS1 Identification Keys form the foundation of the GS1 System. The keys are globally established and defined, unique identifiers for accessing information
about objects stored in databases. The GS1 Identification Keys bring value to the GS1 System by enabling secure, portable and non-significant identification across business processes and transactions, by connecting the physical flow of goods with the flow of digital information about them.

The GS1 Identification Keys are defined independently of the technology solutions used to carry out the processes of capturing and sharing supply chain information.