Using accreditation to underpin technical decisions in Sri Lanka
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.
Supporting the development of renewable fuels in Europe
Producers of paraffinic fuel recognized the need for a new specification in the context of increasing market demand for cleaner fuels. The new European Standard EN 15940:2016 demonstrates the effective cooperation between fuel producers, automotive vehicle manufacturers and other European stakeholders in reaching a consensus on a specification for a new generation of cleaner transport diesel fuel. Paraffinic diesel fuel can lead to improvements in local air quality without having to introduce changes in the existing fuel infrastructure. It can be used as a blend component in conventional diesel or as a 100% finished fuel, which is already the case in several European markets.
Paraffinic diesel fuels are liquid fuels that can be synthetically created from feedstocks such as natural gas (GTL), biomass (BTL) or coal (CTL); or through hydro-treatment of vegetable oils or animal fats (HVO). These high-quality fuels burn cleaner than conventional crude-oil based diesel fuels and are thus able to reduce local harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (i.e. less visible black smoke).
The new European Standard on ‘Automotive fuels – Paraffinic diesel fuel from synthesis or hydrotreatment – Requirements and test methods’ (EN 15940:2016) was developed by CEN’s Technical Committee on ‘Gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin’ (CEN/TC 19).
The support for increased use of renewable fuels is a long term trend in Europe. A significant change was introduced in the European Standard EN 228:2012 on ‘ Automotive fuels – Unleaded petrol – Requirements and test methods’ to allow increased blending limits of 10 vol-% and 22 vol-% for ethanol and esters in petrol, respectively.
Further information is available on the CEN website.
Accreditation ensures the reliability of the results of inspection, testing and calibration Ecuador required in the hydrocarbon sector
Ecuador, according to the Constitution of the Republic, has established that non-renewable natural resources are considered strategic sectors so that the State regulates, controls and manages. To comply with these guidelines, the Agency for Regulation and Hydrocarbon Control – ARCH in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Accreditation Service – SAE has developed an accreditation scheme with Conformity Assessment Bodies to ensure the reliability of the results of inspection, testing and calibration through accredited inspection bodies and laboratories.
The Agency for Regulation and Hydrocarbon Control – ARCH required by Resolution No. 3 issued on August 23, 2013, that all inspection work, execution of laboratory testing and calibration of instruments in the hydrocarbon field is made only by means of Inspection Bodies and Laboratories accredited by the Ecuadorian Accreditation Service or another accreditation body which has signed Mutual Recognition Arrangement of ILAC (International laboratory accreditation Cooperation).
Further information can be found on the Agency for Regulation and Hydrocarbon Control website.
Supporting the development of renewable energy in Japan
The Japanese Government rely on accredited testing and certification of renewable energy products to provide confidence in the market.
Products such as wind turbines or PPV Solar panels are tested in an accredited laboratory to measure performance, durability, safety and environmentally friendly considerations. Installation companies gain accredited certification to demonstrate compliance.
The state benefits by reducing pollution, energy costs, increased competition, as well as informed supplier selection by setting accreditation requirements for tenders.
Further information is available on the METI website.
Accreditation allows Mexico to open up energy market
Mexico has introduced reforms to open up the energy sector and has developed several technical regulations that apply to products and operators in the sector. As a result, the Mexican Government has declared that the testing of oil products to technical regulation NOM-EM-005-CRE-2015 can be carried out in a laboratory accredited by an ILAC Signatory.
Laboratories based outside of Mexico can therefore carry out the testing, however they must be registered with the Directorate General of Standards of the Ministry of Economy. Laboratories must apply to the Ministry and be issued with a ‘ Convocatoria‘ for its results to be accepted.
Certification supports energy efficiency of products in Mexico
Energy-Efficiency (EE) standards are procedures and regulations that prescribe the energy performance of manufactured products e.g. electronic equipment, refrigerators, air conditioners and water heaters.
Mexico implemented a policy to establish a fund to facilitate the reduction of emissions in energy consumption by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs and the project of energy-efficient refrigeration to reduce energy consumptions. This policy was supported by standards. Mexico mandates for EE standards to come from the Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization (LFMN – Ley Federal sobre Metrología y Normalización), which established a list of specific and generic public and private organizations for implementing the Standards’ Programme. The LFMN lists in Article 3 the responsible parties for developing voluntary (NMXs) and mandatory standards (NOMs).
The National Commission for Energy Efficiency (CONUEE) is responsible for developing EE standards. It is a decentralized, administrative agency of the Secretary of Energy, with technical and operative autonomy to promote energy efficiency.
When a Ministry in Mexico issues technical regulations, these are mandatory, so all products, processes, methods, facilities, services or activities must comply with the Mexican Official Standards that are published in the Official Gazette (DOF). There is a detailed list of current EE standards in Mexico.
To demonstrate compliance with mandatory standards, products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, laundry machines or water heaters shall be certified. The certification and related testing shall be performed by accredited third parties. Private organizations that participate in this EE conformity assessment system in Mexico are:
- Testing laboratories: independent or operated by manufacturers. When accredited to ISO/IEC 17025: General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, the laboratory does the tests under NOMs requirements and issues the results’ report.
- Calibration laboratories: accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 give traceability to the measurement instruments of testing laboratories.
- Certification bodies: accredited to ISO/IEC 17065 and approved by corresponding ministries to certify compliance with EE standards (NOMs). The certification bodies only recognize test reports of accredited laboratories.
- Accreditation bodies: ensures technical competence of certification bodies, testing laboratories and calibration bodies. A competent accreditation body complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17011 Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation bodies assessing and accrediting conformity assessment bodies (CABs).
There are other systems that exist on the Mexican market, such as the Electric Power Saving Trust Fund (FIDE) label, a voluntary label that identifies energy-efficient products. It certifies that products meet specified standards and identifies them as FIDE certified energy-efficient products. FIDE also requires conformity assessment bodies to be accredited to issue its certificates.
FIDE label covers the products listed below and its targets to increase coverage to 7700 products across 85 companies:
- Electric three phase induction motors
- Lamps, ballasts and luminaries
- Water pumps
- Commercial refrigerators
- TV sets and monitors
- Air conditioners
Regarding EE voluntary standards, Mexico also promotes the use of ISO 50001 – Energy management systems, that supports organizations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently and improve environmental performance, through the development of an energy management system (EnMS).The Certification Bodies seeking accreditation on Energy Management Systems program shall comply with ISO/IEC 17021: Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems.
US DoE recognises testing from ILAC MRA signatories
LED Lighting Facts is a U.S. Department of Energy programme that involves LED products for general illumination from manufacturers who commit to testing products and reporting performance results according to industry standards. The programme requires the use of accredited testing laboratories and will accept results from laboratories accredited by ILAC MRA signatories.
Further information is available from the official programme website.
US DoE uses accreditation to support energy conservation programme
The US Energy Department, to support its energy conservation programme, has clarified its Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts.
It is adopting the requirement that testing “must be conducted by test laboratories accredited by an Accreditation Body that is a signatory member to the ILAC MRA.
Further details of can be found on the DoE website.
Energy Management System standard supports energy efficiency policy
The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ draws attention to the relatively new management system standard, ISO 50001:2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.
There are a variety of examples of where has been used. One of the leading examples is in Germany where, ‘the new German voluntary agreement with energy intensive industry entered into force in 2013. Industries that comply with the terms of the agreement are eligible for a tax rebate on energy tax. Under the new agreement companies need to introduce energy management systems or audits until the end of 2015 with certification according to EMAS or DIN EN ISO 50001’.
Other examples are also shared from a range of countries, from Chile to Kazkhstan, Ireland to Canada.
Further information from the ISO website
Leading ISO standards support environmental management
The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver environmental policy.
Leading standards include ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard and ISO 50001 Energy Management System standard, as well as standards used to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere (ISO 14064 series & ISO 14065).
These standards have been used in a variety of mandatory and voluntary schemes from carbon trading to sustainable development policy.
Further information from the ISO website
US Department of Energy program uses energy management standard
In describing the benefits of the standard, the Department states, ‘In the business world, a popular adage states that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. This principle applies to the world of energy management—an area of growing interest and concern to enterprises around the world due to its potential to help control costs, boost energy efficiency, improve environmental quality and enhance competitiveness’.
The Department of Energy has worked with a number of key bodies to develop the Superior Energy Performance® program, where ‘SEP fosters a results-oriented approach to using the ISO 50001 global energy management system standard, emphasizing measurable savings through a transparent, independent, and highly regarded verification process.’
Further details can be seen here
ILAC MRA provides US Nuclear Regulator with confidence in the components used in power plants and fuel reprocessing plants.
The US Nuclear Regulator (the US NRC) recognises the ILAC MRA for licensees and suppliers of basic components for use on power plants and fuel reprocessing plants by using laboratory accreditation by Accreditation Bodies (ABs) that are signatories to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).
This replaces the need to perform commercial-grade surveys for the procurement of calibration and testing services performed by domestic and international laboratories accredited by signatories to the ILAC MRA.
Accredited certification helping the EU to reach the European energy efficiency 2020
Energy efficiency is at the core of the European Union energy strategy for 2020.
With Directive 2012/27/EU European Union has established a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s 2020 20% headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date.
Two routes are offered by the regulation under the energy efficiency improvement measures to be taken by Member States is that companies have an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 standard certified by an accredited conformity assessment body. This has been enforced in the French regulation since July 2013.
Accredited certification of persons supports French public authorities building energy performance policy
As an implementation of the Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, French public authorities have requested that persons performing energy performance diagnosis, be certified by an accredited CAB. The assurance that operators are competent to achieve expected controls is in keeping with the general pattern regarding energy efficiency and transition. This accredited certification of persons is mandatory in France since 1st November 2007 and has been updated since then in order to take into account the EU directive.
Accreditation contributes to a better transparency for end-users, making easier their awareness in transactions, e.g. on energy expenditure while renting or buying an accommodation and the consecutive carbon impact on the environment.
Hong Kong Housing Authority specifies the use of certified products and uses certified management systems
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.’
Swedish Authorities rely on accredited personnel certification to support the quality of the built environment
The Swedish authority Boverket – the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning use accredited certification bodies according to ISO/IEC 17024 to certify persons that have competence according to:
- Expert in Energy consumption in buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:9
- Expert in Quality assurance during construction of buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:14
- Expert in Ventilation system in buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:16
- Expert in Fire protection in buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:17
- Expert on Culture values for buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:16
- Expert in Accessibility in buildings according to regulation BFS 2011:18
Government supported energy efficiency programmes backed by ILAC MRA
The ENERGY STAR and WaterSense programs include requirements that test data from third-party laboratories come from labs accredited by signatories to the ILAC MRA. Both programs are administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but participation is voluntary rather than mandatory. EPA cites these international arrangements to provide greater assurance to consumers that products carrying the ENERGY STAR and WaterSense labels meet strict program requirements.
For more information on the ENERGY STAR programme, click here.
Further information on the WaterSense programme is available here.
In addition, there is a proposed rule to control formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products to require test results from a laboratory accredited by an ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body.
Accreditation underpins South Africa’s energy efficiency tax incentive scheme
The 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 Measurement & Verification Practitioners have the necessary competence, which includes qualifications, systems and (calibrated) equipment in place, to accurately perform the task. Accreditation confirms this competence. (South Africa)
Accredited inspection plays a key role in the safety of the UK nuclear new build programme
The HSE and the nuclear industry in the UK are working with Accreditation to develop new accreditation for inspection bodies and agencies that work in the nuclear industry. Their new service is intended to help organisations that verify items or services, in terms of technical specifications, tests, design and construction for nuclear plants. (UK)
Chilean use of accredited testing laboratories, product certification bodies and inspection bodies on products for fuels.
The Superintendence of Electricity and Fuels requires the use of accredited testing laboratories, product certification bodies and inspection bodies on products for fuels. (Chile)
Public Sector bodies implement ISO 50001 to reduce energy costs
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.
Taiwan supports ISO 50001 certification
In Taiwan the Minister of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy and Industrial Development Bureau are encouraging the use of ISO 50001 in their efforts to get businesses to conserve energy and reduce their carbon impact. Working with the Taiwan Green Productivity Foundation (TGPF) and funded by the Bureau of Energy, this encouragement includes publicity, workshops and the provision of funding from both agencies for businesses to obtain certification to ISO 50001. This is part of TGPF’s energy conservation work. The objective is to have 6oo organisations certified to the standard in a five year period, obtaining the benefits from the standard through its implementation and certification.
The Green Deal, an environmental initiative aims to revolutionize domestic energy efficiency
The Green Deal, an environmental initiative launched by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) aims to revolutionise the energy efficiency of domestic properties. To provide reassurance to those undertaking improvements on their homes, DECC has announced that it will require installers and assessors to be subject to accredited certification. Accreditation underpins the certification process for the Green Deal. It will provide end consumers with confidence that there is a complete chain of competence right through to the organisations or individuals undertaking the Green Deal projects. The programme is supported by a Certification Bodies register which displays companies which have been UKAS accredited for the certification of installation and advisory services under the Green Deal. (UK)
The New Approach in the European Union
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.
Global accreditation system core to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
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.
Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 QMS (UNIDO 2017)
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.
Trade-related International Regulatory Cooperation – A theoretical framework (OECD, 2016)
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: Vital Link to Global Trade and Investment Competitiveness (World Bank, 2016)
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
World Bank Policy National Quality Infrastructure Brief (World Bank, 2013)
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.
ISO 9001 – Relevance and impact in Brazil (September 2016)
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.
The Value of Accreditation (UK, 2016)
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.
UNIDO report: ISO 9001- Its Relevance and Impact In China
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.
Exploring Business Benefits of Internationally Recognized Certifications
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
External knowledge sourcing and involvement in standardization-Evidence from the community innovation survey
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 – A tool for competitiveness, trade and well-being (The World Bank, March 2013)
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.
The Economic Value of Standards in the UK (June 2015)
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.
Assessing the Impact of Environmental Management Systems on Corporate and Environmental Performance
There has been an increase in interest towards corporate activities aimed at reducing or eliminating the waste created during the production, use and/or disposal of the firm’s products. Prior research has focused on the need for such activities, while current research tries to identify those components that encourage or discourage such activities. As a result of the introduction of ISO 14001, attention has turned to corporate environmental management systems (EMS). The underlying assumption is that such a system is critical to a firm’s ability to reduce waste and pollution while simultaneously improving overall performance. This study evaluates this assumption. Drawing on data provided by a survey of North American managers, their attitudes toward EMS and ISO 14001, this study assesses the relative effects of having a formal but uncertified EMS compared to having a formal, certified system.
The results strongly demonstrate that firms in possession of a formal EMS perceive impacts well beyond pollution abatement and see a critical positive impact on many dimensions of operations performance. The results also show that firms having gone through EMS certification experience a greater impact on performance than do firms that have not certified their EMS. Additionally, experience with these systems over time has a greater impact on the selection and use of environmental options. These results demonstrate the need for further investigation into EMS, the environmental options a firm chooses, and the direct and indirect relationships between these systems and performance.
Steven A Melnyka, Robert P Sroufeb, Roger Calantonea, – a Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, USA; b Department of Operations and Strategic Management, Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College, USA
Melnyk, S.A., Sroufe, R.P., Calantone, R., (2003), ‘Assessing the Impact of Environmental Management Systems on Corporate and Environmental Performance’, Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 21, Issue 3, 329-351
Certification and Integration of Environment with Quality and Safety – A Path to Sustained Success
‘Certification and Integration of Environment with Quality and Safety – A Path to Sustained Success‘ (Santos, Rebelo, Barros, Pereira – 2012) looked at organisations in Portugal to examine the benefits of certification to Quality, Environmental and Health & Safety management system standards.
From the origianl 300 SMEs approached who had certification for ISO 9001 quality management system standard, with 46 giving valid responses from a variety of sectors. Of these 17 were also certified to ISO 14001 and 12 had OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety certification.
The chief benefits of certification to ISO 9001 were seen as:
|Major Impact||Impact||Little Impact||No Impact|
|Internal Organization of the company||72%||22%||6%||0%|
|Continuous assessment through internal audits||54%||44%||2%||0%|
|Ease of access to information||44%||39%||15%||2%|
Paper available to download
Gilberto Santos, Manuel Rebelo, Síria Barros and Martinha Pereira, College of Technology, Polytechnic Institute Cávado e Ave, Imasys Research Centre, Barcelos, Portugal, 2012, ‘Certification and Integration of Environment with Quality and Safety – A Path to Sustained Success‘
Covenants with weak swords: ISO 14001 and facilities’ environmental performance
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
Implementing ISO 14001: is it beneficial for firms in newly industrialized Malaysia
This paper aims to look mainly into perceived benefits derived from ISO 14001 registrations for firms with in a newly industrialized country like Malaysia. The results of a survey on Malaysian firms registered with ISO 14001 indicate that there were benefits to be gained from implementing ISO 14000 Standards. Generally, the benefits were rather similar to those documented for companies that adopted ISO 14000 in industrialized countries. ISO 14000 implementation was crucial in bringing about effective environmental management, and reduction of damage to the environment, as well as improvement of the company’s image and operations.
Lee Peng Tan, Faculty of Business and Accountancy, University of Malaya
‘Implementing ISO 14001: is it beneficial for firms in newly industrialized Malaysia?‘, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 13, Issue 4, March 2005, Pages 397–404
Is an environmental management system able to influence environmental and competitive advantage?
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
ISO 14001 in environmental supply chain practices
This paper focuses on the role of ISO 14001 in environmental supply management practices in Swedish companies. It discusses the existing and potential role of ISO 14001 for three key operational tasks of environmental supply chain management: to communicate the requirements to the supplier, to motivate and enable the supplier, and to verify that the supplier follows the requirements. The study used three different research methods: interviews with environmental managers, focus group discussions and a survey of two multinational companies and their operating units in several countries.
It concludes that cooperation between the purchasing and environmental functions within a company is frequently not sufficiently achieved in implementation of ISO 14001; this makes the communication of customer requirements to suppliers less efficient. Building close relationships with suppliers is important to overcome initial difficulties, but this often conflicts with having a large supplier base. For the supplier to have an ISO 14001 certificate is seldom an absolute requirement, however, preference is often given to such suppliers. The value of the ISO 14001 certificate, as a proof of environmental performance, is a combination of the supplier’s environmental ambitions, the advancement of supply chain practices of the customer and the ambitions of the certification bodies. Supplier audits are not commonly used as they are resource-consuming. Monitoring and verification approaches need further development.
Dagmara Nawrocka, Torbjörn Brorson, Thomas Lindhqvist – International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Resolving Information Asymmetrics in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs
‘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)
Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature
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‘
The role of environmental management in sustainable business development: A multi-country investigation
Further, building on the theory of performance frontiers, we investigate these relationships across plants located in different economic regions of the world (plants are classified into emerging, developing and industrialized regions). We suggest that recent emphasis on these environmental initiatives has been greatest among plants located in emerging economies, compared to their counterparts in industrialized and developing nations. In addition, we contend that the influence of these initiatives is greatest for plants located in emerging and developing economies when compared to plants in industrialized nations. These notions are tested with data collected from 1211 plants located in these three economic regions. Overall, this study contributes to the investigation of strategies for sustainable business development, highlighting important implications for both theory and practice.
Tobias Schoenherr, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, Department of Supply Chain Management, USA
‘The role of environmental management in sustainable business development: A multi-country investigation‘, International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 140, Issue 1, November 2012, Pages 116–128
The economic value of standards
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
How do we look for the best quality?
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.
A step by step guide to gaining accreditation
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.
COMPETENCY OR MANAGEMENT SYSTEM BASED STANDARDS?
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.
ISO Guidance for SMEs using ISO 9001 for quality management
ISO has published a guide for SME’s wishing to implement a quality management system (QMS), providing practical advice and concrete examples tailored specifically for small businesses. A copy of the guidance is available from the ISO website.
The benefits of a Quality Infrastructure (UNIDO, 2016)
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.
Accreditation supports UNIDO’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
UNIDO has published a new brochure which highlights the contribution of accredited conformity assessment services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013. On this basis, UNIDO pursues “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development” to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all.
17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets constitute the core of the UNIDO 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These provide a new development framework that seeks to transform the world and guide all global, regional and national development endeavours for the next 15 years. UNIDO’s programmatic approach is guided by three interrelated thematic priorities: creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness, and safeguarding the environment.
Maintaining strategic partnerships and technical cooperations, together with the use of standards and compliance related activities, also form an important part of UNIDO’s approach. The relationship between UNIDO, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and ILAC is one such partnership. This strategic partnership in the field of accreditation enables UNIDO, IAF and ILAC to coordinate activities in complementary and mutually supportive areas of operation, in order to enhance the impact of industrial development on economic growth.
A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.
New guide on how accreditation in developing economies can facilitate trade and support sustainable development
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.
Accreditation – an overview
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.
ISO 9001 – what does it mean in the Supply Chain (ISO, 2016)
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.
Quality assurance is like an onion – multi-layered
Accreditation: A tool to support Regulators
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 – Trade Facilitation – smoothing the path to global markets
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.
Standards, metrology and accreditation support Developing Countries
A short video to show how standards, metrology and accreditation can help sustainable development in Developing economies.
Click to view.
Standards and accreditation in the provision of energy
Accredited laboratories, inspection bodies, and certification bodies play a key role in both the provision of traditional energy sources and the development of renewables. Energy providers rely on accurate testing to monitor a range of areas from measuring flow and pressure to production output levels. Inspections are carried out to ensure that installations are safe. While certification demonstrates that providers have the appropriate processes and procedures in place to deliver the products and services.
How does Accredited Certification benefit Regulators
Regulators are increasingly relying on independent third party declarations of compliance to support their enforcement and monitoring activities.
Accreditation: Delivering Confidence in Everyday life
Accreditation: Facilitating global trade
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.
Specifying accreditation in regulation
The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA)
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.
Specifying accreditation in Regulation – the ILAC MRA
The ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)
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.
How does accredited inspection benefit government and regulators?
How does using an Accredited Laboratory benefit Government and Regulators?
Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards for technical regulations
The ISO 9001 family – Global management standards
Public sector solutions
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.