The efficiency of freight transport is key for the competitiveness of EU transport, economy and the functioning of the internal market. This is all the more so since freight transport increased in the EU by almost 25 % over the last 20 years and, according to the European Commission, is projected to increase by 50 % by 2050. Freight movement is accompanied by a large amount of information, which is still exchanged in paper format and represents a significant burden for businesses, transport operators and public authorities.
The EU Commission has therefore adopted a proposal for a Regulation on electronic freight transport information. This proposed regulation includes provisions about the accredited certification of eFTI platforms and service providers.
Further information is available on the EU Commission website.
The Hungarian Meteorological Service (OMSZ) relies on accredited certification to ISO 9001 for the whole range of its activities in order to support the quality delivery of its services. It ensures that the organisation’s activities and the demands and expectations of its customers and partners are clearly defined and that they are internally focused to fulfil them and to achieve customer and partner satisfaction.
Further information is available on the OMSZ website. http://www.met.hu/en/omsz/minosegiranyitas/
National enterprises are required to fill in ‘Evaluation Date Form of National Enterprises Technical Centre’. The enterprise gets preferential status in their evaluation score if its laboratory has obtained CNAS accreditation for public works.
Daugavpils is the second largest city in Latvia with a population of over 94,500. It is located in the southeast close to borders with Lithuania and Belarus. The Municipality employs a total of 5910 persons.
The city decided to gain accredited certification as many energy efficiency initiatives were not well planned. In addition, a new national Energy Efficiency Law approved in Latvia set out that nine Latvian cities, including Daugavpils, are obliged to implement a certified EnMS by April 2017.
After certification, the city improved it energy performance by 1.95%, resulting in total energy cost savings of USD$86,920
Further details of this case study can be found on the Clean Energy Ministerial website.
The City of Puteaux (West of Paris, France) obtained the voluntary Qualiville certification in 2014 (Service certification under ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation). It undertook a satisfaction survey on its service quality in 2015 and 2016. The satisfaction rate increased from 96.7% (2014), to 98.5% (2015) and 99.7% (2016)
The Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) provides support solutions for Typhoon by providing innovative repair-not-replace solutions. DECA is an MOD and industry partner that aims to provide benchmark support services as the principal in-house government organisation dedicated to maintenance, repair, overhaul, upgrade and procurement in the defence avionics, electronics and components field.
DECA inspects composite cylinders in support of Typhoon. These specialist cylinders, which carry nitrogen and air, are smaller and lighter than the steel cylinders traditionally used and require specialist support capabilities. The cylinders are inspected, examined, and hydrostatic tested to BSEN 11623:2002 and BSEN 1802:2002 standards and pressure tested up to 6526 psi before being prepared for dispatch to front line Typhoon units.
To ensure that this work is carried out effectively, this facility is UKAS accredited and is able to perform hydrostatic testing up to 10,000psi. Further information is available on the DECA website.
Public Health England (PHE), UK executive agency sponsored by the Department of Health, recognises the importance of the role of food, water and environmental microbiology laboratories and provides a range of PT schemes.
Food and water examination laboratories play a vital role in protecting people’s health by ensuring that food and waters are safe and do not pose a threat to health. One of PHE’s goal is protecting the country from infectious diseases and environmental hazards, including the growing problem of infections that resist treatment with antibiotics. In support of this goal, PHE provides tools such as proficiency testing (PT) schemes and reference materials to support food and water microbiology laboratories in assuring their results.
In order to demonstrate that the PHE PT schemes are underpinned by professional, scientific and technical expertise, they are accredited by UKAS, the UK’s accreditation body.
Further information is available on the PHE website.
The National Environmental Laboratory (NEL) operates under the Department of Environment of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Environment and Sustainable Development. Its main responsibilities include monitoring water, wastewater and ambient air quality to ensure compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Standards, Guidelines and Regulations of the Environment Protection Act (EPA).
At its onset, the laboratory was not operating a formal quality management system, however in order to provide a better service, the need to implement a quality management system was evident. The NEL, boosted by the government policy, gained accredited certified to ISO 9001 in 2003. However, this certification, was not enough to ensure recognition of technical competence.
In 2006, NEL opted for implementation of ISO 17025 standard and within the next two years, with the support and commitment of the Ministry’s management, a quality management system complying with the requirements of MS ISO 17025 was put in place. Since January 2009, the NEL is accredited for tests (as per its scope of accreditation) on water and wastewater.
Documents and reports are easily traceable and results are admissible in a court of law. This has helped to increase public confidence in our results which implies better recognition in the quality of service being offered by the Ministry.
Further information is available on the Department website.
Making Accreditation Mandatory in Sri Lanka for Taking Technical Decisions
In order to create a quality conscious culture in Sri Lanka, it was the view of the Cabinet Ministers that technical measures on the issues related to quality, environment, food safety, occupational health and safety, energy etc. must be controlled and monitored through stipulated standards and technical regulations.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka has taken a decision and proposed to implement relevant regulations by making conformity assessment procedures such as testing (including medical testing and calibration), inspection and certification mandatory and using accreditation as a means of providing assurance and trust on consumers. The proposal contains following main three activities;
a) To use regulations and implement conformity assessment procedures such as testing, inspection and certification by regulators for controlling activities in relation to quality, environment, food safety, occupational health and safety, energy etc.
b) To update regulations in which conformity assessment procedures are not mentioned and/or accreditation is not used as a means of acceptance and to include statement to reflect “not to use any facility that is not assessed and accredited”.
c) To develop a conformity assessment framework which is composed of testing laboratories, inspection bodies and/or certification bodies as applicable, within and outside the regulatory bodies to facilitate accreditation.
Attention has also been drawn on the frequently questioned market fairness issues related to the assurance of safety and public utility measures in relation to accuracy of water meters, electricity meters, taxi meters etc.
Hon. Minister of Science, Technology has requested from relevant Ministries and Regulatory bodies to take immediate measures to comply with the above Cabinet Decision.
In order to make the railway systems more inter-operable and secure in Sweden and Europe, Swedac accredits notified bodies, certification bodies, inspection bodies and laboratories in the field.
Accreditation takes place within all railway areas such as infrastructure, energy, signalling, rolling stock and trains intended for passenger services. The regulatory framework is developed by the European Railway Agency, ERA, jointly with Member States’ competent authorities. In Sweden’s case, this is the Swedish Transport Agency. If European law is missing, the national rules are applicable.
When building new, or making changes to the rail system, notified bodies check if the changes comply with the requirements stipulated in the technical specifications developed in Europe. They are determined by the European Commission and must be followed by all Member States.
When it comes to risk assessment of railway safety, also here applies a European regulation that says, if substantial changes are made in trains and railway infrastructure, an inspection body shall assess that the one that makes the change have a risk management processes to be able to ensure safety on Europe’s railways SWEDAC also accredits laboratories that perform testing of trains and railway infrastructure, including components, in order to determine the functionality and security required. The test is then used as the basis when, for example, a notified body shall determine whether the train or the infrastructure meets the safety and compatibility requirements, such as fire testing of textiles to be used in trains.
Further information is available on the Swedish Transport Agency website.
The Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore made use of accredited certification to Quality Management for Bunker Supply Chain (QMBS) to recognise good bunker suppliers and deter malpractice in the industry. Bunker suppliers shall have a quality management system based on the requirements as specified in the SS 524:2006. Bunker suppliers shall engage a certification body which is accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for quality management system (QMS) to certify their compliance with SS 524:2006. An annual audit report has to be submitted to MPA before the expiry of their annual licences.
MPA also made use of accredited inspection scheme to enhance the accountability and professionalism of bunkering surveying companies. With effect from 1 Jan 2010, MPA require all bunker surveyors to be employed by bunker surveying companies that are accredited under the accreditation scheme for cargo inspection administered by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) as part of the bunker surveyor licensing requirements.
Further information is available from:
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) marks changes for military on all levels— including the launch of pioneering legislation of quality assurance of certification programs and standards for professional credentials obtained by members of the Armed Forces. Accreditation for certification bodies would meet the requirements of the legislation.
This law puts in place a mechanism for quality assurance of certifications thereby recognizing only those certification programs that meet a national/international standard. Programs accredited under the Personnel Certification Accreditation Program (PER) are in compliance with the legislation. This is specifically described in the legislation, Section 559 – Quality Assurance of Certification Programs and Standards for Professional Credentials obtained by members of the Armed Forces.
Further information is available on the ANSI website.
The Wastewater Laboratory of Cork County Council relies on accreditation to ISO 17025 to supports its regulatory role in the monitoring of the environmental aspects of wastewater.
Accreditation has proven invaluable over the years, and is an intrinsic tool in supporting the Council’s regulatory monitoring of industrial and municipal wastewater discharges, and has proven the sine qua non in the enforcement of water pollution or discharge consents’ violations, where prosecution is required.
Further information is available on the County Cork Council website.
ERA, the European Railway Agency (an agency of the European Union) supports the use of accreditation by Member states to ensure interoperability on railways. Accredited conformity assessment will cover railway infrastructure and construction projects; energy; control, command and signalling; and rolling stock.
The use of accreditation is voluntary, however when a Member State decides not to use accreditation, it shall provide the European Commission and other EU Member States with all the documentary evidence necessary for the verification of the competence of the conformity assessment bodies it selects for the implementation of the Community harmonisation legislation in question.
The use of this harmonised accreditation scheme is expected to increase mutual trust amongst the relevant stakeholders.
Further information is available on the ERA website.
The European Space Agency (ESA), an international organisation with 20 member states, has adopted accredited certification to ISO 27001 to protect sensitive information and confidential data.
The information security management system (ISMS) allows the organisation to confidently manage the security of its data, minimise risk and protect stakeholder information.
Further information is available from the ESA website.
In Sweden, a Government Ordinance requires all public authorities to consult the Swedish National Accreditation Body (SWEDAC) before issuing any regulations containing a requirement for conformity assessment activities. This ensures that the public authority receives expert advice on the practicality of the measure being considered and on the potential for avoiding the need for regulation where accredited conformity assessment activity could deliver the same outcome.
Further information on Swedish Regulation (2011:811) Accreditation and Conformity Assessment can be accessed Swedish Regulation. (In Swedish).
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the business division of the Executive Office of the President of the United States that administers the United States federal budget and oversees the performance of federal agencies, published a revised Circular on the federal use and development of voluntary standards:Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities. U.S. federal agency use of the global accreditation infrastructure continues to grow in line with the OMB conformity assessment policy.
Download the circular from the Office of Management and Budget website.
Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the government authority charged with regulating, coordinating and supervising all aspects of Dubai’s maritime sector, has achieved certification against four leading management system standards.
DMCA has been certified to the ISO Quality Management System ISO 9001, the ISO Environmental Management System ISO 14001, the Health and Safety Management System OHSAS18001 and the ISO Information Security Management System ISO 27001.
DMCA believes that the use of standards and certification against these standards helps support their world-class aims. Building on the four certifications in 2015, in 2016 DMCA will work on the ISO Customer Satisfaction Standard, SA 800 Social Accountability Standard and ISO 22301 Business Continuity MAnagement System standard. DMCA will also update its Quality Management System to the latest 2015 version.
Further details can be seen here
The reconfiguration of Genetic Laboratory service provision in England is supporting the creation of a world class resource in the use of genomics and genetic technologies within the NHS, and the provision of high quality, equitable and cost effective services across the pipeline from sample acquisition, to data analysis, validation and clinical interpretation, with support for patients and families. This will be critical in ensuring that genomic information and genetic testing is integrated across the NHS together with clinical genomic services to improve the prevention and diagnosis of disease and to support treatment decisions by identifying the right targeted therapies in order to maximise efficacy and outcomes and to reduce adverse effects.
The development of genomic medicine in the NHS will lead to improvements in the ability to diagnose, treat and prevent disease and to provide high quality personalised care for all. It will support the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases and the impact will affect all ages as the interaction between genetic factors and environmental modifiers is understood better thus improving diagnostic services for patients more generally.
Further information is available on the NHS England website.
Hotels are classified on a star scale going from 1 to 5 – assessing the quality of the facilities – by the French national authorized tourism operator Atout France. In the framework of the development and modernization law of French tourism services, the decree 2009-1652, dated 22 December 2009, requires accreditation of inspection bodies carrying out controls of hotel facilities applying for this classification. The criteria is more competitive, modern and rigorous to further upgrade the overall standards of hotels in France. In this way, accreditation contributes to the national policy aim to improve hotel classification by providing national and international guests with more reliable information, therefore confirming France as one of the tops tourism destination in the world.
Further information can be found on the Atout France site. (in French)
The Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade has relaxed its import rules of steel and steel products, and will rely on the ILAC and IAF arrangements to maintain quality assurance.
Quality certification should be either from a product certification body (ISO Guide 65/ISO 17065) accredited by an IAF MLA signatory, or from an ISO 17020 inspection body accredited by an ILAC Signatory.
Further information is available from the DGFT website.
The Abu Dhabi Police have seen the benefits of certification is a range of directorates.
In 2013, the Western Region Directorate extended its commitment to ISO 9001 by renewing its certification. Colonel Ojail Ali Abdullah, Director of the Western Region Police Directorate said, “Obtaining this certificate is not merely an objective; it is an incentive to maintain our efforts and continue to achieve quality across all functional tasks in order to enhance excellence.”
Additionally, the Directorate-General of Human Resources, the Police Schools Department and the Human Resources Planning Department, have obtained ISO 14001 certification for Environment Management System Standards and the OHSAS 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety System Standards
Abu Dhabi University succeeded in renewing its ISO 9001:2008 certification for its commitment to quality standards in the design, development and delivery of its academic programs and their supported services, according to the international standards set by ISO for organizations around the world.
Basem Obaid Area General Manager of Lloyds Register Quality Assurance Ltd (LRQA) for the MEA Region who certified Abu Dahbi University said: “Abu Dhabi University really earned the renewal for its commitment to quality standards in the design, development and delivery of its academic programs and their supported services. This success demonstrates the University’s commitment to implementing further development of the services it offers to students, faculty and staff, especially since its one of few universities to successfully receive this certification in the UAE, moreover, covering all areas of the institution, and not just certain departments or functions”.
Further details available here.
The Houston Police Department (HPD) has used certification to ISO 9001 in a number of carefully selected Divisions.
The HPD Property and Emergency Communications Divisions used the implementation and certification of ISO 9001 to drive efficiencies in these two departments. Having initially been certified in 2011, in 2015 the HPD is now looking at expanding the scope of their ISO 9001 certification to include the Budget & Finance, Mental Health and Inspections Divisions.
At the announcement of the certification, Police Chief Charles A. McClelland Jr said, “We are constantly examining ourselves and looking for efficiencies because our resources are very precious. This certification indicates we are following best practices in the industry and we’re the leaders”.
Further details here.
The Hong Kong Housing Authority builds an average of 20000 flats per year for the public sector of Hong Kong. The quality of building materials and components is always of prime concern to the Housing Authority and the industry since rework of any non-complying building products would have time & cost implications to the housing projects. Housing Authority fully recognizes that product certification is an upstream quality control process and it offers higher quality assurance through regular rigorous audits by a competent third party certification body.
Since 2010, the Housing Authority has specified the requirement of using certified products for ten major building materials in its construction projects. This initiative expedites the development of product certification for construction materials. Other than those building materials specified by Housing Authority, more construction product certification schemes had also been developed or are being developed (e.g. steel reinforcement, paints, mechanical couplers, aggregate products, etc) per the requirement of various stakeholders. Product certification provides a reliable means for assuring production quality throughout the whole production process from incoming raw materials, production, inspection, sample selection and testing, traceability, etc thus making available certified construction products of quality for use in building projects.
As well as specifying the use of certified products for building materials in its construction projects, the Hong Kong Housing Authority makes extensive use of management systems standards to deliver better performance in a number of areas. For example, the Authority’s Mid-Year Performance Review of the 2013/14 Corporate Plan states that certification to ISO 50001 Energy Management system standard has been achieved at its Kwai Shing West Estate.
The above Review additionally states in section 3.11, ‘To further enhance the quality of estate management and to develop a comfortable and healthy living environment for our PRH tenants, we (the Hong Kong Housing Authority) had implemented the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification programme in planned maintenance and improvement works for all estates as well as in property management since 2010. We had successfully obtained the ISO 14001 certification for property management for all estates in July 2013.’
In 2013, the Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA) and Office of the Rail Transport (UTK) signed the agreement on cooperation concerning the assessment and surveillance of accredited bodies for the purpose of authorization and notification to directive of the European Parliament and of the Council No 2008/57/WE on interoperability of the railway system in the Community.
In Poland, the President of the Office of the Rail Transport – through the administrative decision – gives authorization to the bodies seeking the notification. One of the pre-requisite conditions for seeking the authorization by conformity assessment bodies is obtaining the PCA accreditation.
Further policy information is available on the PCA website.
GCC Member states United Arab Emirates , Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, State of Kuwait and the Republic of Yemen operate a single regulatory system to control products in the GCC market.
The System is comprised of two sets of Technical Regulations (TR):
1) Horizontal Regulations applied to all products wishing to access the GCC Single market which are:
a) GCC Conformity Marking TR.
b) The General TR for product Safety.
c) Conformity Assessment Modules.
d) Notified Bodies Selection and Notification.
e) Market Surveillance technical Regulation
f) Product Liability technical Regulation
g) Rapid Exchange of Information System(AGEL)
2) Vertical Regulations each addressing a Category of Products including:
a) Toys (Approved)
b) Low Voltage Devices (Approved)
c) Other products (in process)
Accreditation is considered an essential tool for the implementation of the regulatory system as it is used in all regulations to assure the competence of notified bodies.
India’s Performance Management Division has the Vision to create ‘A results-driven government machinery that delivers what it promises’, with the Mission ‘To be a learning and knowledge sharing organization that continuously strives to improve the functioning of government machinery and make it an example of international best practice’.
A cornerstone of this is ISO 9001 and for Indian government and agencies to be certified. In a first, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to form world’s first “ISO 9001” certified government. The Secretary has sent a letter to all ministries and departments informing about the plan.
The U.S. General Services Administration requires star of life ambulances procured by the U.S. government to be tested by an independent laboratory accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the ILAC MRA.
All of the GSA’s ambulance standards are used to validate that their contractors are producing a quality product, and the MRA is one tool among many in their assessment of quality. They accept accreditation from MRA signatories but still perform source inspections on each ambulance ordered and procured for federal agencies under a GSA contract.
The agency still does its own inspection but has confidence that the critical components of the ambulance have been tested by competent laboratories.
The UAE Ministry of Interior (MoI) has obtained ISO 9001 certification across all its departments, to the support of the UAE leadership and the efforts of the employees at the ministry. With this achievement, the UAE MoI became the first ministry of interior in the world to have achieved ISO 9001 certification across the whole of its organisation.
Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior stated “These efforts serve all UAE institutions, and help them in their journey to improve the quality of services and achieve the excellence that the country’s leadership and government are keen to accomplish,”
The Head of Quality Department at the MoI, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Saeed Matar Al Suraidi, made a very significant statement about this achievement: “The goals were not to obtain this certificate only, but to continuously improve and develop our police operations and services, to satisfy the clients and achieve the vision and the strategy of the ministry.”
In the UK, Lancashire Constabulary set a precedent by being the first Police Force outside of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to set up their own in-house Forensics Service, thereby saving over £500,000 a year.
To ensure compliance to ISO/IEC 17025, the Forensics Lab has achieved UKAS Accreditation for a number of tests enabling it to run crime scene investigations and demonstrate its capability for forensic provision equals that of external providers and private companies. (UK)
In July 2003, the Records and Identification Bureau of the Phoenix Police Department, Arizona, became the first law enforcement unit in the United States to certify its quality management system to ISO 9001. This case study describes the pioneering implementation of the standard in an “industry” where life-altering decisions are made 24/7 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week and resulted in savings of $11 million. (USA)
South Africa has come a long way since the formal introduction of ‘Measurement and Verification (M & V)’ to energy efficiency, in 2000. The country has been amongst the first globally, to officially introduce a standard (SABS/SANS 50010: 2011) for M & V and the accreditation of those who may perform M&V, which has led to South Africa becoming involved and nominated to lead the international ISO 50001 Workgroup dealing with the M&V of energy efficiency.
The fairly recent advent of Energy Efficiency (12-I and 12-L) Tax Incentives, where a high level of accuracy is required, necessitated the introduction of an independent accreditation system to ensure that M & V Practitioners do indeed have the necessary competence, which includes qualifications, systems and (calibrated) equipment in place, to accurately perform the task of M & V. The South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), who has the mandate in terms of Act 19 of 2006, ‘The accreditation for Conformity Assessment, Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act’, to perform this task, have developed all the necessary systems to fulfil this mandate. Criteria for accreditation have been established and agreed to by relevant stakeholders, and it includes specific requirements for various scopes.
Accreditation has proven to reduce the risk of inaccurate results and enhance public confidence and assurance in the results that are produced from the CABs that are accredited. With this new accreditation programme, which was rolled out on 6 February 2014, SANAS will be providing third-party attestation of the technical competence of the certification bodies that will be certifying organisations’ energy management systems in accordance with SANS/ISO 50001. (South Africa)
Accredited certification has been embraced by a variety of public sector organisation in Mauritius. Twenty Departments within many ministries in Mauritius have accredited certification to ISO 9001 granted by the Mauritius Standards Bureau, including the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, the Mauritius Meteorological Services and the Mauritius Revenue Authority. Three secondary schools have accredited certification to ISO 9001 as well as the Willougby Primary Government School. The National Blood Transfusion Service of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in Mauritius also has accredited Certification to ISO 9001 granted by the Mauritius Standards Bureau and the Passport and Immigration Office has accredited certification to ISO/IEC 27001. The Forensic Science Laboratory of Mauritius is itself accredited to ISO/IEC 17025. (Mauritius)
The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has been certified to quality management system standard ISO 9001. The Director General of the NMA Olav Akselsen has a clear view of certification’s role in improvement, “Certification alone, however, does not mean the job is done. We will work continuously to evaluate and refine our internal processes according to the standard, focusing on service and quality that will benefit our end users.”
Various governmental entities in Abu Dhabi are also accredited to improve their performance, including the Food Control Department, Municipality Clinical Laboratory, Municipality Animal Laboratory. The Digital Forensic Laboratory of Abu Dhabi Police is certified to ISO/IEC 17025 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. (Abu Dubai)
In order to have a better quality operation of key activities and more efficient management of its processes, the Serbian Directorate of Measures and Precious Metals (DMDM), the Serbian National Metrology Institute, has accredited certification for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001. Moreover, they are ISO/IEC 17025 accredited (one testing laboratory and one calibration laboratory). (Serbia)
Ireland’s National Car Testing Service has achieved accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection to ensure that it improves car safety and deliver its services with impartiality and consistency. (Ireland)
In Eritrea, the National Blood Bank is certified to ISO 9001. Set up in 1999 as a center, the NBTS is a blood supply centre through out the country. Working in accordance with the internationally accepted management systems enables the NBTS run its activities effectively to the level of utmost excellence. Eritrea has now met the international standards of blood management system and gained international recognition to be certified by South African Accreditation body known as South African Bureau of Standards, SABS. (Eriteria)
By obtaining certification to ISO 50001 energy management system standard, Sheffield Hallam University in northern England has achieved reductions in carbon emissions and energy costs. These are estimated as being reduced by 11% and £10,000 per month respectively.
In London, the City of London Corporation has implemented ISO 50001 with the very specific aim to help in its six year plan started in 2009 to reduce energy costs by 15%, believing that by implementing that standard will help them achieve this target by making their efforts more visible both internally and externally.
The South African Department of Labour (DOL) uses accreditation to determine the competence of Approved Inspection Authorities in the occupational hygiene field. The DoL’s Inspectorate was experiencing a market failure in the performance of some of the AIAs it had approved, brought about by the inconsistent and non-standard performance of practitioners.
The DoL and SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) set about determining criteria for accreditation in this field, with the help of technically knowledgeable stakeholders who were invited to form the SANAS Specialist Technical Committee (STC). Once the criteria and scope had been determined, SANAS and the DoL conducted workshops to inform stakeholders about the accreditation process, including information on the standard ISO/IEC 17020. (South Africa)
The New Approach was established in the European Union to ‘recast technical harmonisation within the European Union (EU) on a new basis by only harmonising the essential requirements of products and by applying the “general reference to standards” formula and the principle of mutual recognition in order to eliminate technical obstacles to the free movement of goods.’
The New Approach has a number of objectives, all seeking to use standardisation, to achieve aims such as supporting the single European market – especially for products, reducing barriers to trade, increasing product safety, delivering an efficient system based on consensus standards.
Product areas covered by the New Approach vary from toys to pressure equipment, from boilers to boats, from medical devices to explosives. The full range of products can be seen under the New Legislative Framework.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement, released on November 5th 2015, between twelve Pacific Rim countries. The agreement’s goal is to promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labour and environmental protections.
Accreditation, recognised by existing regional and international mutual recognition Arrangements (the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA) is referenced as being as a key measure to support trade through the removal of technical barriers.
The twelve Pacific-rim countries include Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the USA.
The UK National Audit Office, the Government department responsible for holding Parliament to account and improving the delivery and efficiency of public service delivery, publishes paper setting out how accreditation can act as an alternative to Regulation. It cites accreditation as a means of self-regulation, co-regulation (also known as enforced self-regulation) as effective alternatives whilst protecting and benefiting people, businesses and the environment, stabilising markets and addressing market failures to support economic growth.
Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) is one of three Government Utilities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have implemented ISO 50001:2011. Within one year of implementing this standard they have achieved an energy saving of 7.1% which equates to a total energy cost saving over this period of $26,079.
SEWA’s vision is: “To be among the best authentic organisations in the world”. This vision has been derived from the Ministry of Energy’s (UAE) vision 2021 for sustainable development.
Implementing ISO 50001:2011 (Energy Management Systems) was one of SEWA’s strategic initiatives for the fulfilment of its vision towards achieving environment and energy conservation, maintaining load growth, and meeting sustainability and climate change objectives.
In 2015, ISO 50001 was implemented in its Head Office which consists of ten functional departments, and a staff headcount of 300. If you would like to read more detail about this case study you can do so here.
This report shows how the role of the infrastructure – standards, measurement, accreditation, design and intellectual property – can be integrated into a quantitative model of the innovation system and used to help explain levels and changes in labour productivity and growth in turnover and employment.
- The infrastructure is a key resource for the effective functioning of innovation and for economic performance more widely. Standards, design, accreditation, metrology and IP are all deeply embedded in the modes and styles of innovation practice across industry and commerce and in the public sector.
- They are complementary to, and supportive of, the other drivers of innovation, such as new technology, knowledge from the research base, organizational and managerial changes and marketing strategies.
- Notably, information from standards tends to be conjointly used with scientific and trade publications and with direct sourcing of knowledge from the research base.
- Certification to ISO 9001 by UKAS accredited bodies is positively and significantly associated with several modes of innovation and with productivity directly.
- The National Measurement System is part of or directly supports several types of innovation strategy and has a distinct impact on productivity.
- The innovation and efficiency promoting roles of the infrastructure are contributors to economic growth and productivity as well as to international competitiveness.
A full copy of the report is available from the UK Government website.
AIRMIC, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce, has published a white paper on the value that standards and accredited conformity assessment can play in the management of risk. The report states that there is plenty of evidence that organisations perform better when they adopt voluntary quality standards, yet for the most part, insurers ignore these standards when setting terms and conditions for policyholders.
Standards assure customers and other stakeholders of consistent quality in products, services, processes, systems and people. They are based on the practical experience of sector professionals, and are a means by which organisations can demonstrate assurance about the quality of their risk management. The paper builds on an earlier study commissioned by BSI, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research earlier this year, which underlined the economic and practical value that standards can have.
The paper also states that the wider quality infrastructure, namely accreditation and the conformity assessment community, play a supporting role in the management of risk for the insurance sector. The report contains case studies that demonstrate how insurers are using accredited services to evaluate risk and therefore provide discounted premiums or improved terms and conditions.
The paper titled Standards: Supporting Risk Management and Adding Value was published at a press conference during the AIRMIC annual conference on June 11th.
A study titled “Standardisation: a contribution to the competitiveness of Colombian organisations, case studies to measure the economic impact of technical standards.” was published in 2018, to increase the awareness of the multiple benefits that the technical standards bring to Colombian organisations.
This publication describes not only the evolution of standardization in Colombia, but also presents three case studies that have allowed us to quantify, in organizations of different sizes and sectors, the direct economic benefits of the implementation of the standards. This study gives continuity to a similar study carried out in 2011.
The economic contribution of the standards in organizations such as Gerfor (tube systems, large size organization), Doria (food, large size organization) and Vilaseca (food, medium size organization) range between 0,9% to 88% to the EBIT of the organization, as well as to the benefits that impact on the processes that cover organization improvements in the productive processes, saving of resources, among other aspects.
The publishing organisation (ICONTEC – a Colombian Certification and standardisation body), highlights that the economic benefits derived from the application of the standards were observed in two fundamental aspects:
- Derived from the improvements that impact the productive processes, which enables the optimisation and saving and access to resources,
- Maintenance in markets, aware of the importance of quality, safety and sustainability.
Finally, it stated that maintaining competitiveness is one of the greatest challenges for Colombia. Therefore, the development and promotion of the application of Technical Standards is considered to represent a concrete action for the fulfilment of this objective.
This study is available in Spanish here
The National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) is Australia’s national authority for the accreditation of laboratories and producers of reference materials, and a peak body for the accreditation of inspection bodies and proficiency testing scheme providers. It commissioned the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to conduct research to evaluate the economic value of accreditation focused on NATA’s five sectors of accreditation: Inspection, Infrastructure, Calibration, Life Sciences and Legal and Clinical.
It analyses the attributes of NATA accreditation distributed across five key themes exploring the benefits of NATA accreditation – Importance of Recognition, Standards and Quality, Efficiency and Productivity, Innovation, and Organisational Culture.
The report concludes that accreditation in Australia provides indirect but real benefits for the community and consumers of intermediate and final goods and services. This research report highlights the measurable and intangible attributes of NATA accreditation as a contributor to the Australian economy. Whilst the estimated measurable economic worth represents a value of between AUD $315m and AUD $421m, to place a value on the intangible attributes of accreditation is impossible as the services NATA provides are intrinsically woven within the fabric of the Australian business, economy, and society.
A copy of the report is available here.
Author: R Agarwal, R Green, C Bajada – Australia, University of Technology Sydney
Standardisation and standards have often been perceived as a contradiction to innovation. This report provide conceptual arguments and empirical evidence that standardisation as such and standards can be used as to promote innovation especially in three different areas. After a brief section on the general economic functions of standards, the relationship between research and standardisation is examined by first showing both standardization as a technology transfer channel and standards as enablers and facilitators for research. The second area focuses on the difficult but promising issue of transferring intellectual property rights (IPR) into standards, and shows how this can be beneficial both for IPR holders and standards implementers. The third newly emerging field concerns the role of standards and standardization in procurement processes, which are more and more forced to address and promote innovation. In the final chapter, the results are summarised and recommendations for policy makers are derived.
A copy of the report is available on the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) website.
Author: Knut Blind, TU Berlin, Rotterdam School of Management and Fraunhofer FOKUS
Following the introduction of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products, the Commission has published a report to review its impact between 2013 and 2017.
This report confirms that the European accreditation infrastructure created by the Regulation has provided added value, not only for the single market but also for international trade. Accreditation has wide support from European industry and the conformity assessment community for ensuring that products meet the applicable requirements, removing barriers for conformity assessment bodies and helping entrepreneurial activities to flourish in Europe. The Regulation established a trustworthy and stable accreditation system in all Member States, as well as EFTA countries and Turkey.
The report concludes that more than 34450 accreditations were delivered (in regulated and non-harmonised areas) covering a wide range of activities by the end of 2016. This has been a significant contributory factor in deepening the single market and seemless trade.
A full copy of the report is available from the EU Commission website.
In November 2015, the UK’s Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) commissioned Professor Christopher Hodges to produce a brief introduction to examine the theories and practice of how to control corporate behaviour through regulatory techniques, drawing on the principal theories of deterrence, economic rational acting, responsive regulation, and the findings of behavioural psychology.
The paper provides regulators and others with an interest in developments in regulatory delivery with an overview of the research theories and empirical evidence, and of the author’s proposition of a new theory of ‘ethical regulation’.
The basic idea is one of a collaborative approach between businesses, their stakeholders and public officials, based on a shared ethical approach. It recognises that compliant behaviour cannot be guaranteed by regulation alone, and that ethical culture in business is an essential component that should be promoted and not undermined. It also notes that regulatory and other systems need to be designed to provide evidence of business commitment to ethical behaviour, on which trust can be based, and that regulation will be most effective where it is based on the collaborative involvement of all parties.
The paper cites the use of accreditation as an example of collaboration between regulators and businesses in the management of risk and compliance.
A copy of the report is available on the Government’s Better Regulation website.
Economic research carried out by NZIER, a specialist consulting firm, reveals that accreditation facilitates $27.6 billion of New Zealand’s exports – over 56% of total goods exports.
Exporters need to be known and recognised overseas as delivering high-quality, safe goods and services to market. IANZ, the New Zealand accreditation body, provides precisely this ‘seal of approval’, which reduces exporters’ transaction costs and risks, and supports ongoing government and business efforts to lift the value-added from exports.
An illustrative economic modelling exercise provides an indication of the additional value that accreditation delivers to New Zealand exporters. If an 8% ‘accreditation price premium’ that an overseas survey suggests exporters receive from accreditation were to be removed, it would cost accredited exporters around $4.5 billion, and cause New Zealand’s GDP to drop by 0.63% or $1.65 billion.
IANZ also plays an important role in the domestic economy. Its accreditation services support industries that account for $35.8 billion of New Zealand’s GDP, and which employ almost 358,000 workers (17% of total employment).
A publication titled “Good practices: Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 quality management systems” has been released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The report presents the lessons learnt and good practices in applying Market Surveillance methodology to monitor the effectiveness of ISO 9001 certification in manufacturing enterprises and to evaluate the performance of respective accredited certification bodies.
The report concludes that the proper use of ISO 9001–based quality management systems assists developing countries in promoting sustainable trade, thereby helping them achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the 2030 development agenda.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.
Reducing unnecessary trade costs is an important aspect of International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC). But trade costs are only one of the many considerations that countries take into account when engaging in bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral efforts to address non-tariff measures that are related to differences in regulations. They are also concerned about pursuing domestic regulatory objectives. This report develops an analytical framework to help understand the trade-offs between trade costs and domestic regulatory objectives that will determine outcomes of IRC. It shows the possible scope and landing zones of IRC initiatives, ranging from simple information exchange to negotiations to harmonize regulations between countries. The analytical approach is based on economic game theory and provides a basis for regulators and trade negotiators to determine which specific IRC approach would be promising to pursue.
The report states that the ILAC and IAF global arrangements provide the platform for trade cost reductions. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.
National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) reforms are an important part of broader efforts aimed at enhancing trade and investment opportunities, opening markets for new innovative products, and improving the business environment. As demand to access new markets and compete with higher quality products rises, the World Bank Group is committed to supporting government’s efforts to build a more harmonized and integrated NQI. This leaflet sets out how the World Bank can support the development of standards, accreditation and metrology systems to boost economic performance and cross-border investment decisions.
A full copy of the leaflet is available here. World Bank NQI Leaflet
Standards define how products, processes, and people interact with each other and their environments. They enhance competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to requirements of governments or the marketplace. When used effectively, they facilitate international trade and contribute to technology upgrading and absorption. This brief discusses the importance, the central elements, and constraints to success of national quality infrastructure.
A full copy of the policy document is available on the World Bank website.
The ISO 9001 – Impact and Relevance in Brazil is based on UNIDO Project 140107 “Impact assessment of ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification in Brazil”, co-funded by Inmetro and UNIDO. The overall objective of the project was to assess the effectiveness of the ISO 9001 certification process in Brazil from the perspective of certified organisations and their customers, as well as by conducting a number of “market surveillance” visits to a sample of certified organisations.
This study provides useful information about the take-up by and benefits for those who have decided to seek an accredited certification of their quality management system based on ISO 9001. The results of this study in Brazil are generally positive. They show that organisations do get value from accredited certification to ISO 9001; that users can rely on accredited certification to ISO 9001 as a reasonable basis for having confidence that the products or services provided by a certified organisation will fulfil their expectations; and that, despite commercial and competitive pressures that can undermine the impartiality and effectiveness of audits and certification, the audits and certifications are, in most instances, effective and valuable.
A full copy of the ISO 9001 – Impact and Relevance in Brazil report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.
UKAS, the UK accreditation body, carried out a survey to capture feedback on the value of accreditation for conformity assessment bodies that have stable scopes in established technical sectors. The survey aimed to gain insight into the reasons for maintaining accreditation, to identify the positive outcomes that are realised through accreditation, and to investigate the value of selected elements of the accreditation process.
Respondents identified that there are clear external factors for maintaining accreditation:
- 67% maintain accreditation as it is perceived as the right thing to do
- 82% maintain accreditation due to customer expectations
- 46% maintain accreditation due to government expectations or requirements
The survey also identified that these businesses derive both internal and external commercial benefit from their accredited status:
- 93% of respondents agree that accreditation provides confidence to their customers and stakeholders
- 76% agree that accreditation differentiates them from their competitors
- 85% agree that accreditation improves the quality and validity of their work
- 71% agree that accreditation helps them to win new or maintain existing business
A copy of the report can be downloaded from the UKAS website.
To have an in-depth understanding of the actual impact of ISO 9001 certification on organisations, Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and UNIDO jointly conducted a survey of the effectiveness of ISO 9001 quality management system certification in China from September 2012 to September 2013. China has overtaken the early implementers of ISO 9001 and now represents approximately 30% of the 1.1 million ISO 9001 certificates issued worldwide. The survey covers the whole of China (except Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). Over 9000 questionnaires were sent out to ISO 9001-certified organizations and institutional purchasers in China, and 6974 effective completed questionnaires were collected. Physical on-site visits were conducted by trained experts at 958 certified organizations.
According to the survey results:
- 93% of all the institutional purchasers surveyed expressed that they regarded ISO 9001 certification as an important criterion for evaluation of their suppliers.
- 75% said their perception of the credibility of ISO 9001 CBs operating in China is “good” or “very good”.
- Purchasers had a good level of satisfaction with their ISO 9001-certified suppliers.
- Of the various parameters studied, the highest level of satisfaction is with the product quality of ISO 9001-certified suppliers (98% purchasers stated that they were satisfied, including 7% of all purchasers who were very satisfied).
- Compared with non-certified suppliers (or comparing the same supplier before and after certification), most purchasers think that the performance of certified suppliers is notably better than that of non-certified suppliers (or the same supplier before certification).
Among all the certified organizations surveyed;
- 51% said the most important reason for them to implement a QMS was to obtain competitive advantages, for internal improvement or to achieve corporate or top management objectives
- 43 % said the most important reason was to gain market access or to respond to customer pressure or tender requirements
- 6% said it was for marketing and/or public relations.
- 98% of the organizations surveyed said that regardless of the overall cost, the implementation of ISO 9001 had been a good or a very good investment.
- Most of the certified organizations said they obtained substantial benefits from the implementation of an ISO 9001-based QMS. 9% of the certified organizations estimated that it brought a benefit of up to RMB 100,000, either in cost savings and/or increased profits. 39% believed it to be between RMB 100,000 to 1,000,000. (c.US$ 15,000 – US$ 150,000)
- 37% estimated that it could bring more than RMB 1,000,000 of benefits (either cost savings or increased profits).
A full copy of the report can be read on the UNIDO website.
Several studies highlight the economic benefits of standards, while the benefit of taking part in standardization remains a rather unexplored mystery to date. In theory, standard setters not only benefit from the possibility to monitor and shape the development of standards but also access a wide range of knowledge sources in the standards committee. Therefore, the authors investigate how the participation within formal standardization is related to the performance of 1561 German companies. A Cobb-Douglas production function is estimated in order to use the Solow-residuals as indicator for the firm performance. Participation within formal standardization is measured by the number of committee seats at the German Institute for Standardization (DIN). The results suggest that participation within formal standardization is positively related to firm performance in the manufacturing sector. In the service sector, no clear evidence for such a relationship is found.
A copy of the research paper can be downloaded from the Springer website.
Paul Wakke – Chair of Innovation Economics, Technische Universität Berlin
Knut Blind – Chair of Innovation Economics, Technische Universität Berlin
The authors base their paper on data from a global company survey of certified companies carried out by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) in 2010/11. They use multivariate Probit and ordered Probit models to analyze how company internal and external factors influence the perception of benefits from accredited certification. Benefits from accredited certification are divided into added value for the organization, increased sales and regulatory compliance. As for company external factors, they find that benefits from certification are higher for companies that went through a challenging certification process, had a competent certification body team, and are aware of the importance of accreditation. Internal factors are related to different motives for seeking certification. They find that the benefits from accredited certification are largest when companies become certified in order to improve their own business performance. Dividing the sample in high-income and middle income countries shows that the latter put more emphasis on company internal improvement through certification and are more likely to benefit from certification when they employ an external consultant. Finally, they can show that benefits are unequally distributed among companies. That is, smaller companies have a lower probability to benefit from certification compared to larger companies.
A copy of the report is available on the ResearchGate website.
Axel Mangelsdorf, Berlin Institute of Technology and Chair of Innovation Economics
Tilman Denkler, BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany
In this paper, the authors explore the relationship between firms’ external knowledge sourcing and their decision to participate in standardization alliances. Based on micro data they show that the importance of external knowledge is positively correlated with participation in standardization. This suggests that firms aim to access the knowledge of other companies and stakeholders in order to increase their own knowledge base. The analysis also shows that firms cooperating with different actors are more likely to join standardization. Due to the positive relationships with incoming knowledge spillovers and forms of cooperation, they conclude that standardization represents a specific form of collaborative knowledge-sharing and knowledge-creating strategy. In addition, we are able to show that absorptive capacity measured via companies’ research intensity promotes the involvement in standardization.
External knowledge sourcing and involvement in standardization-Evidence from the community innovation survey (PDF Download Available). Available from:
Knut Blind, Berlin Institute of Technology
Henk de Vries, Rotterdam School of Management
Axel Mangelsdorf, BAM Federal Institute of Material Research and Testing, Germany
The national quality infrastructure (NQI) is the institutional framework that establishes and implements standardization, including conformity assessment services, metrology, and accreditation. Governments play a crucial role in designing, developing, and implementing an effective NQI. Developing an NQI begins with an assessment of the current system and identification of areas where reforms are required. The legal framework should establish transparent, independent institutions within a national structure that can work with international organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). The World Bank and other donor agencies are assisting a number of countries in the development of NQIs in order to encourage industrial development, reduce barriers to trade and entrepreneurship, and facilitate global technical cooperation.
Download the report from the World Bank website.
Research carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business (Cebr) concludes that standards boost UK productivity and improve performance, kick-start innovation, and support UK domestic and international trade.
The report analyses the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of BSI’s consensus based voluntary standards across the UK economy. It concludes that they are a vital part of the strength of UK industry and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth.
The main findings are that:
- £8.2 billion is the amount that standards contribute to the UK economy
- 37.4% of UK productivity growth can be attributed to standards
- 28.4% of annual UK GDP growth can be attributed to standards, equivalent to £8.2 billion
- £6.1 billion of additional UK exports per year can be attributed to standards
The full report can be downloaded from the BSI website.
W.M. To (School of Business, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, People’s Republic of China); Peter K.C. Lee (Department of Logistics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China); Billy T.W. Yu (School of Business, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, People’s Republic of China)
This article investigates the impact of ISO 14001 certification on the compliance with environmental regulations by Korean companies. The impact of ISO 14001 certification on the industry was studied through a questionnaire survey and the compliance of environmental regulations were investigated using government-released data. The motivation for an environment management system was a result of the current international situation and the need to maintain fair competition. ISO 14001 certification has been recognized as an essential strategy for industrial competition and to improve company/product recognition.
The certified and non-certified companies’ environmental regulation violation (ERV) rates were 3·5% and 11·6%, respectively, in 1997. In 1998, the ERV rate had an eight-time difference with 1·0% and 8·5% for certified and non-certified companies, respectively. Annual regulation violation rates were reduced from 3·5% in 1997 to 1·0% in 1998 with certified companies and from 11·6% in 1997 to 8·5% in 1998 with their non-certified counterparts, respectively. ISO 14001 certified companies showed more improvment than non-certified companies in regards to environmental performance.
Dong-Myung Kwon, Min-Seok Seo, Yong-Chil Seo – Korean Standards Association Consulting, Department of Environmental Engineering YIEST, Yonsei University, Maegi-ri Heungup-myun Wonju-si, Kangwon-do, South Korea
Voluntary environmental programs are codes of progressive environmental conduct that firms pledge to adopt. This paper investigates whether ISO 14001, a voluntary program with a weak sword—a weak monitoring and sanctioning mechanism—can mitigate shirking and improve participants’ environmental performance. Sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 14001 is the most widely adopted voluntary environmental program in the world. The analysis of over 3,000 facilities regulated as major sources under the U.S. Clean Air Act suggests that ISO 14001-certified facilities reduce their pollution emissions more than non-certified facilities. This result persists even after controlling for facilities’ emission and regulatory compliance histories as well as addressing potential endogeneity issues between facilities’ environmental performance and their decisions to join ISO 14001.
Matthew Potoski, Iowa State University; Aseem Prakash, (Potoski), University of Washington (2005), ‘Covenants with weak swords: ISO 14001 and facilities’ environmental performance’, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 745- 769.
‘Covenants with weak swords: ISO 14001 and facilities’ environmental performance‘, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 745–769, Autumn (Fall) 2005
The research published in ‘Green clubs and voluntary governance: ISO 14001 and firms’ regulatory compliance’ (Potoski, M., Prakash, A., 2005), looks at the role of certification as a type of voluntary program, increasingly used as policy tools. Referred to as a ‘club’, these clubs ‘promulgate standards of conduct targeted to produce public benefits by changing members’ behaviors’. In particular, the research sought to understand if certification to ISO 14001 reduces time spent complying with government regulation, in this case the Clean Air Act in the US. To do this, an empirical analysis of 3700 US facilities compared the regulatory records of certified and non-certified facilities.
The conclusion of the research ‘indicates that joining ISO 14001, an important nongovernmental voluntary program, improves facilities’ compliance with government regulations. We conjecture that ISO 14001 is effective because its broad positive standing with external audiences provides a reputational benefit that helps induce facilities to take costly progressive environmental action they would not take unilaterally’.
The report goes on to say , ‘The results imply that as a group ISO 14001 certified facilities have better compliance records than if they had not joined the program’. At the heart of this is the behaviour that membership of the ‘club’, in this case being certified, promotes. For example the report states, ‘We conjecture that ISO 14001’s mandated third-party auditing mitigates wilful noncompliance by compelling members to measure up to club standards while ISO 14001’s EMS standards address noncompliance stemming from ignorance by directing members’ attention to root causes of regulatory noncompliance’.
Matthew Potoski, Iowa State University; Aseem Prakash, University of Washington
Potoski, M., Prakash, A. (2005), ‘Green clubs and voluntary governance: ISO 14001 and firms’ regulatory compliance’, American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 49; Issue 2; pp 235-248.
The EMAS Regulation (Reg 761/01 EC) is EU scheme implemented by the European Commission since 1993 and it is for the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) by any organization. The EMS was originally proposed by the European Commission and by the ISO as the frontrunner of a series of policy tools that enable companies to simultaneously pursue environmental objectives and competitive targets in a synergetic way.
Based on the unique dataset of the EVER project, this paper investigates whether or not an EMS implemented within the EMAS Regulation has any effect on firm performance both from an environmental and a competitive point of view. Our econometric analysis shows the positive impact of a well-designed environmental management system on environmental performance and, as a consequence, on technical and organizational innovations. Effects on other competitive variables such as market performance, resource productivity and intangible assets are not strongly supported.
Fabio Iraldoa, b, Francesco Testaa , Marco Freya, b – a The Sant Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy; b IEFE – Institute for Environmental and Energy Policy and Economics, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
‘Is an environmental management system able to influence environmental and competitive performance? The case of the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) in the European union‘, Fabio Iraldo, Francesco Testa, Marco Frey, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 17, Issue 16, November 2009, Pages 1444–1452
‘Resolving information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs‘ (Toffel, 2006) examines if ‘a voluntary management program’ (in this study’s case ISO 14001) that features an independent verification mechanism (certification) is achieving its ultimate aims’.
The research involves data from thousands of companies in the USA to evaluate their environmental performance. The research reports, ‘evidence that the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard has attracted companies with superior environmental performance’.
Two key elements of the conclusion state that ‘third party certification may be a critical element to ensure that voluntary management programs legitimately distinguish adopters from non-adopters’. This is greatly assisted by the view that, ‘As an alternative to more prescriptive industry-specific management practices, voluntary management programs can also ensure performance improvement among its participants by requiring such improvements as a condition for ongoing participation’.
The second key element of the conclusion is a clear message for the concept of certification as a means of delivering public policy objectives, namely that, ‘regulators should seriously consider using ISO 14001 adoption as an indicator of superior (environmental) performance’.
Toffel, M.W., Harvard Business School, Harvard University
‘Resolving Information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs’, Toffel, M.W., (2006)
The idea of tools such as certification as a means of managing key issues, often addressed by policy-makers with regulation and legislation, is examined in ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature‘ (King, Toffel, 2007) In particular, the use of ISO 14001 certification as a ‘self-regulatory institution’ is examined.
The report suggests that the creation of a robust ‘self-regulatory institution’, such as consensus-based standards (such as ISO), certified by third-party certification who themselves are accredited by accreditation bodies, can deliver significant environmental benefits. The report’s conclusion presents a very optimistic view of systems such as ISO 14001, ‘For readers interested in practical solutions to environmental problems, the research presented in this chapter suggests that self-regulation should be taken seriously.
Many firms have voted with their feet and joined prominent examples of self-regulatory institutions. Managers in these firms appear to believe that participating in these institutions will help them solve real problems. Initial empirical research suggests that some of these institutions might, indeed, help firms reduce market inefficiencies. Some appear to reduce asymmetries in information, others to facilitate coordinated investment in solutions to common problems. In the aggregate, the research reviewed reveals a world not of inevitable tragedy but of possibility’. Backed up by a range of empirical research, the report presents a compelling case for considering systems such as ISO 14001 certification as a tool to make a real impact on environmental performance.
King, A., Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College; Toffel, M., Harvard Business School
King, A., Toffel, M., (2007), ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature‘
Standards are a vital component in the conformity assessment arsenal to address public policy issues. International standards developed by consensus used in conformity assessment are in two key categories:
- The standards on which assessment is based, whether for products & services or process (management system standards)
- The standards which guide many of the key processes, such as certification, accreditation, inspection, etc. More of details of these standards, referred to as the ISO CASCO Toolkit can be found here.
A number of major research reports have been produced in a number of economies which help quantify and explain the contribution standards makes to these economies. These reports are:
- The Economic Benefits of Standardisation (2012) Standards Australia
- The Economic Benefits of Standards to New Zealand (2011), Report to The Standards Council of New Zealand and The Building Research Association of New Zealand
- The Economics of Standardization: An Update (2010) to The Economics of Standardization (2000) UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
- The Economic Impact of Standardization: Technological Change, Standards Growth in France (2009) AFNOR
- Economic Value of Standardization (2007) Standards Council of Canada
- June 2015: The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy, UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
- Economic benefits of standardization Part A: Benefits for business; Part B: Benefits for the economy as a whole (2000) DIN German Institute for Standardization
A survey covering quality management system development, certification, accreditation and economic benefits, using a variety of research tools to judge the awareness and use of accredited certification to ISO 9001 by purchasing organizations. Research included a survey of purchasing organizations (the present and potential customers of ISO 9001 certified suppliers); interviews with some of these; survey of ISO 9001-certified organizations and visits to some of these.
As the commissioning organization UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) DIrector-General Kandeh K. Yumkella felt, ‘It is pleasing to see that the results have demonstrated (with some exceptions) that the implementation of ISO 9001 and the associated certification has been a good investment of resources, from both the perspective of the certified organizations and that of their customers (the major purchasing organizations in the regions).’
Some of the key findings were:
There are clear empirical economic benefits to the effective implementation and accredited certification of quality management systems in the manufacturing sectors of the Asian developing countries in which the project was conducted.
Credibility of ISO 9001
Overall, the perceptions of both the ISO 9001 standard and accredited certification to ISO 9001 in the region are good, though the role of accreditation is not well understood either by purchasers or by certified organizations
Purchasers’ perceptions of their ISO 9001-certified suppliers
The purchasers surveyed were mainly satisfied with the performance of their ISO 9001-certified suppliers (with some exceptions), and, in general, ISO 9001-certified suppliers performed ‘better’ or ‘much better’ than non-certified suppliers, based in a number of parameters.
The Chinese accreditation body (CNAS) have translated over 70 case studies from this website to support their engagement work with Government. They have published these case studies in a brochure which they distribute to Government officials to promote how accreditation is being used in other countries to solve policy problems.
Download a copy (In Mandarin) 认可采信国际实践（20160606定）
In order to improve trade prospects and the quality of products and services in West Africa, this directory provides a list of accredited testing laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies in the region (as of August 2017). The directory was sponsored by UNIDO to ensure that public and private organisations are aware and have access to a network of accredited suppliers. It also hopes to inspire other conformity assessment bodies to become part of the programme.
The directory is available from the UNIDO website.
A Strategic Roadmap for the Quality Infrastructure of the Americas was launched at the Joint General Assembly of ILAC and IAF which supports their common goal – ‘tested, inspected or certified once and accepted everywhere’.
The Roadmap, funded by the Spanish contribution to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Trade Trust Fund, provides a high-level overview of the key topics that need to be addressed in order to leverage the collaborations between regional standards, metrology and accreditation organizations and their constituent members. This will support inclusive and sustainable industrial development, specifically, intra and inter-regional trade.
This initiative to develop a high-level strategic roadmap for Quality Infrastructure (QI) development and improvement in the Americas was conceived during the UNIDO General Conference in 2013, under the leadership of three main regional entities, namely COPANT (Standards), SIM (Metrology) and IAAC (Accreditation). Subsequently, in 2014, the three entities created the Quality Infrastructure Council of the Americas (QICA), established to provide and promote effective deployment of QI in the Americas, as well as collaboration between national and regional initiatives.
The Roadmap proposes five steps to provide a systematic and efficient approach to QI development in line with national and regional needs. This Roadmap should be considered as an evolving planning tool that is to be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect changing priorities, environment, contexts and the emergence of new challenges and opportunities.
Further information is available on the UNIDO website.
Watch this short video on the Quality Infrastructure in Grenada, providing an introduction to standards, conformity assessment and metrology.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), has updated its trade recommendations to include references national accreditation systems and the global arrangements. UNECE Working Party 6 on Regulatory Cooperation & Standardization Policies which works to:
- Promote the use of standards by policy-makers and business as a tool for reducing technical barriers to trade, promote increased resilience to disasters, foster innovation and good governance
- Promote the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sendai framework for action
Sixteen UNECE recommendations have been adopted to address standardization and regulatory issues. They set out good practice regarding Regulatory cooperation, Metrology, Standards and Norms, Conformity assessment, and Market surveillance.
While these recommendations are not binding and do not aim at rigidly aligning technical regulations across countries, they are used to encourage policy makers to base their regulations on international standards to provide a common denominator to the norms that apply in different markets.
All sixteen recommendations can be downloaded from the UNECE website.
The recommendations that reference accreditation are:
Recommendation G: Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results
The UK Accreditation Body, UKAS, has prepared ‘the case for accreditation’ aimed at large consultancies and research organisations. The briefing note is intended to provide an introduction to support UKAS’ engagement with these organisations, so that they are in a position to understand that accreditation is a proven tool to solve the issue of delivering consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers with the assurance that services will be run efficiently, goods will conform, and working environments will be safe.
It is hoped that standards and accreditation will be referenced in future sector research or position papers.
A copy of the briefing note is available from the UKAS website.
The Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) has produced a video to increase public awareness on and demonstrate the benefits of accreditation. It aims to further encourage wider acceptance and use of accreditation and build trust in conformity assessment — a tool that helps businesses not only to comply efficiently and effectively with regulations and standards around the globe but also to gain competitive advantage and to expand into new and wider markets.
This short presentation best responds to the question “How do we look for the best quality?” This is a tough question to answer with the vast number of products and services in the market. The video shows how accreditation can help consumers in whittling down their choices to safe, reliable and quality products and services which pass through accredited conformity assessments.
AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, the US accreditation body, has produced a shot video to guide applicants through the accreditation process. View the video on Youtube.
ISO/CASCO has published a new brochure describing how “ISO Technical Committees (ISO/TCs) are often required to choose between developing requirements for a management system for an organisation’s activities, or developing requirements for the competence of an organisation to carry out its activities”.
Not only does this document assist ISO/TCs in understanding the difference between the two standards, but it is also helpful for organisations in the process of deciding whether to implement a management system or a competency based system. In addition, the brochure indicates the benefits and values of meeting either set of requirements.
The ISO/CASCO document – Frequency Asked Questions: Competency or Management System Based Standards?” is available here.
UNIDO has published a briefing note to set out how setting up a Quality Infrastructure System can be one of the most positive and practical steps that a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing a thriving economy as a basis for prosperity, health and well-being. A Quality Infrastructure is a system contributing to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.
Download a copy of the briefing note from the UNIDO website.
The significance of an accreditation system for trade and the economy, as well as practical advice for the establishment of accreditation bodies, are the focus of a newly released publication titled, “Establishing accreditation in developing economies – A guide to opening the door for global trade”.
Prepared by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the publication was launched at the ILAC – IAF joint General Assembly. The guide aims to support the common goal of “tested, inspected or certified once and accepted everywhere”.
It is comprised of two parts. The first part focuses on the need for accreditation and the benefits that an accreditation system can bring to good governance. It provides policymakers with a framework for establishing an accreditation body or partnering with neighbouring economies to form a shared system, which can bring an economy closer to its trading partners through mutually recognized arrangements of accreditation.
The second part offers comprehensive practical advice and building blocks to those who are tasked with establishing an accreditation body. It presents information on the essential operational requirements for accreditation bodies, and outlines available resources, as well as potential challenges. Case studies then follow to offer an illustration of practical applications of the guidance provided in the publication.
A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.
With examples from everyday life, this video, produced by COFRAC in France, highlights the fact that accreditation impacts, even if we are not always aware of it, numerous activities benefiting from conformity assessment services.
As someone who is involved in the selection of suppliers and, possibly, responsible for making purchasing decisions, you may have seen or used products and services that are promoted using reference to ISO 9001:2015. This informative text provides some answers to these questions and will inform you about how you can get the most out of using ISO 9001 as a supply chain tool.
A full copy of the brochure is available from the ISO website.
A booklet created by European Accreditation sets out how the ISO CASCO toolbox can support the work of Regulators.
View the booklet on the EA website.
UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Branch has published a briefing paper to set out how it can support Developing Economies develop the effective building blocks of using accredited testing, inspection and certification, using hamonized standards, in order to boost trade.
Download a copy of the briefing from the UNIDO website.
A short video to show how standards, metrology and accreditation can help sustainable development in Developing economies.
Click to view.
Regulators are increasingly relying on independent third party declarations of compliance to support their enforcement and monitoring activities.
The ILAC MRA and the IAF MLA remove the need for products and services to undergo additional tests, inspections and certification in each country where they are sold. These Arrangements remove technical barriers and therefore support cross-border trade.
The IAF MLA ensures the mutual recognition of accredited certification between signatories to the IAF MLA, and subsequently acceptance of accredited certification in many markets based on one accreditation.
The ILAC MRA supports international trade by promoting international confidence and acceptance of accredited laboratory data and inspection body data. Technical barriers to trade, such as the retesting of products, each time they enter a new economy would be reduced.
SGS has created a portfolio of solutions to support compliance with regulatory requirements, enhance government revenue, facilitate trade, support efficiency and promote good governance along with sustainable development.