Industry Codes

Published: Mar 24, 2016
Last Updated: May 13, 2016
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The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

At the start of your research, it may not be clear what specific industry you should be examining. A good strategy is to find out if your business idea is classified in an industrial classification system. These systems organize industries by assigning them a numeric code. The most commonly used system is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Once you know your Industry Classification Code you can use this number to:

  • Find industry-specific statistics on government websites or in library databases
  • Generate lists of competitors in company directories

Another common classification system is the Standard Industry Code (SIC). NAICS have most replaced the SIC, but the SIC is still used by some commercial databases. Finding and using these classification systems to effectively search can be tricky, so don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help.

Note: NAICS / SIC codes do not identify whether a business is 'Green' or not, but can be useful in researching the specific industry that your green business operates within. Here are a few examples of how NAICS codes relate to specific industries.

Try These

Type Code Description
NAICS 31-33 Manufacturing
NAICS 3371 Household and Institutional Furniture and Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturing
NAICS 337126 Household Furniture (except Wood and Upholstered) Manufacturing
NAICS 44-45 Retail Trade
NAICS 4452 Specialty Food Stores
NAICS 445230 Fruit and Vegetable Markets
SIC 5812 Eating Places

»Search or browse all NAICS or SIC codes on the NAICS Association website. Some NAICS codes are different in Canada, you can search by keyword or browse Canadian NAICS codes at Statistics Canada or Canadian Industry Statistics. To search for a SIC code using a NAICS code and vice-versa use the NAICS & SIC Crosswalks.   

For more information about planning your industry research and industry codes, check out the video tutorial for Module 3: Planning Your Industry Research.