The standard, dubbed PAS 56, will allow companies to see at a glance whether their suppliers have proper business continuity plans in place and whether they regularly rehearse or test them.
The Post Office, Sainsbury's, and Royal and SunAlliance are among the firms backing the development of PAS 56, which is expected to become a full British Standard in 18 months.
The specification for PAS 56 provides a framework for business continuity planning and highlights potential risks that may not be obvious to companies.
"It will help you prove that you are managing business continuity well. Just by going through the checklists, firms will be alerted to things they had not thought about," said Nicki Dennis, head of risk market development at the British Standards Institute.
Businesses are already using the draft standard to demonstrate to customers and insurance companies that they have business continuity plans.
The BSI plans to set up a technical committee and a specialist panel to develop a formal business continuity standard in the summer.