What does "the bar is rising" mean in this sentence?

"The Bar Is Rising on Sustainability Leadership." (https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2013/02/06/the-bar-is-rising-on-sustainability-leadership/)

Thanks in advance for your help.

  • It means that the standard is getting higher. Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 14:09
  • Thanks everyone. I take" the standard is getting hier" fits the best, but it can have slightly different meanings depending on the situation.
    – TK CP
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 14:22
  • 1
    Well, yes: if you're in a pub, and a magician causes the counter to levitate, then it would have a different meaning. Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 14:26

2 Answers 2


TFD idiom

set the bar (high/low)

To establish an expected, required, or desired standard of quality. (Often said of a standard that is constrictive in being either too low or too high).

As in:

"The Bar Is Rising on Sustainability Leadership."


... sustainable leadership is becoming harder to achieve


The bar is a metaphor of a hurdle that must be jumped over to continue the competition.


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Thus, raising the bar means the situation has become more difficult, especially for the less skilled competitors.

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