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.
The UK water industry published a code of practice for assessing surface water treatment technologies. The document is supported by the Environment Agency and manufacturers of surface water treatment devices. The document is necessary to demonstrate how well proprietary devices used in sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) treat run-off and remove heavy metals from the water cycle. This code of practice defines the process necessary to measure the pollutant capture and retention capability of any device entering the UK market.
The voluntary code of practice allows professionals delivering SuDS to apply a risk-based approach to minimising the environmental impact of the diffuse pollution from runoff. Verifying the capture and retention capabilities of different devices for a range of pollutants gives regulators, designers, specifiers and local authorities the information they need to select the most appropriate technology in a given application.
Approval and certification under the Code of Practice: Assessment of Manufactured Devices Designed to Treat Surface Water Runoff will allow manufacturers to demonstrate that their published capture and retention capabilities have been tested. The document can be accessed here.
EU Ship Recycling Regulation states that Independent Verifiers should be accredited as Inspection Bodies to ISO/IEC 17020. The objective of the Regulation is to reduce the negative impacts linked to the recycling of ships flying the flag of Member States of the Union. The use of competent organisations to carry out the verification provides confidence to the regulator that the work is being carried out effectively. Further information on the Regulation is available from the EU Commission website.
The Commissioner General of Motor Traffic and the Director General of the Central Environmental Authority shall, for the purpose of environmental regulations, authorize any vehicle emission testing center to be an accredited vehicle emission testing center for the purpose of testing and certifying the vehicular exhaust emission levels of any motor vehicle.
Further information is available on the Central Environmental Authority 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.
Poor waste management practices in industrial facilities may have irreversible effects for soils and sustainable development. Certain Public Administrations therefore require accreditation by ENAC, the Spanish Accreditation Body, of these controlling entities to guarantee monitoring and control for a proper soils management.
Soils and groundwater are a resource we should protect to guarantee sustainable development, as they act like a drain for contaminants generated as a result of bad waste management.
The approval of Royal Decree 9/2005 required a change in the regulatory framework as it focused on a new environmental impact. The objective of this Royal Decree was to “establish a record of activities that might cause soil contamination, as well as adopt standards and criteria to declare contaminated soils”. The publication of Law 22/2011 enacted the regulation of a legal regime relating to contaminated soils. Both documents (Royal Decree 9/2005 and Law 22/2011) constitute the national action framework in terms of soils management.
Regional Public Administration plays an essential role in the development and implementation of this regulation, as they are responsible for initiating and applying it. Many regions have determined that soil quality inspection entities need to be accredited by ENAC, in accordance with UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17020:2012. This requirement is set out in specific legislative developments, such as the decrees ruling in País Vasco, Galicia, Andalucía and Extremadura or the legal requirements to operate as Public Administration partners in terms of environmental quality, among others. Currently, 50 entities have been accredited by ENAC for contaminated soils and groundwater inspection.
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.
European Accreditation (EA) has worked closed with the Directorate-General Climate Action (DG CLIMA) of the European Commission (EC) to implement accreditation according to EN ISO 14065 and Commission Regulation (EU) N° 600/2012 for the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), namely greenhouse gas verification.
The main activities of the EA-EC cooperation consisted of:
– Peer-evaluating policies and procedures established by EA NABs for accreditation of verifiers against EN ISO 14065, the Regulation, the related guidelines provided by DG CLIMA and EA-6/03 M : 2013 EA Document for recognition of Verifiers under the EU ETS Directive and any additional criteria being defined (in advance of subsequent revision of EA-6/03);
– Training EA peer-evaluators for NAB accreditation of EU ETS verifiers;
– Establishing an EA-EU ETS Network of experts on EN ISO 14065 and the Regulation;
– Setting up national databases for publication of accredited verifiers: EA NABs providing accreditation of EU ETS verifiers set up a national database of accredited verifiers to allow public access to information (data and scope) on verifiers accredited by each EA NAB. According to the Regulation, EA should also facilitate and harmonise access to these national databases in order to enable efficient and cost-effective communication between EA NABs, national authorities, verifiers, operators, aircraft operators and competent authorities. The databases of EA NABs for their EU ETS accredited verifiers is available on the EA website.
EA has worked with DG CLIMA to develop the most relevant delegated acts that further specify the rules for verification and accreditation in Regulation (EU) N° 757/2015 on monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport.
This voluntary French certification, the “Energy and Ecological Transition for Climate” Label (Transition Energétique et Ecologique pour le Climat, TEEC), was initiated by the Commissioner-General for Sustainable Development, supervised by the Ministry of Environment, by means of a specific decree published in March 2016.
The objective is to further mobilize the savings towards ecological and energy transition features, to highlight existing investment funds and to encourage the creation of such “green” funds. For investors, especially private investors, this label represents a guarantee of quality and transparency.
According to NF EN ISO/IEC 17065 standard (service certification), the certification bodies are going to control the completeness of documents accompanying the labeled fund, and to verify the « green part » calculation.
More generally, this certification is part of the 2015 public policies relating to energy transition for green growth. This development is linked to the recent Socially Responsible Investment Label opened in January 2016, aiming to promote socially responsible funds.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore regulates that site investigation reports must be certified by a qualified person and all soil tests shall be carried out by a laboratory accredited laboratory by Singapore Accreditation Council. Under Building Control Act (Chapter 29) Section 39, any construction material testing shall be carried out in a laboratory accredited by Singapore Accreditation Council.
Further information is available from: https://www.bca.gov.sg/structuralplan/asp_duties08.html
In line with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) implementation of the Regulatory Evidence Strategy (RES), which provides a framework for SEPA’s approach to collecting information about the activities they regulate, the Agency has introduced the Measurement Assurance and Certification Scotland scheme (MACS). The Scheme, which forms part of the Agency’s better environmental regulation programme, relates to operator self-monitoring.
In order to establish a robust quality assurance framework, and to have confidence in its regulatory decision making, the MACS scheme is based on accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025. SEPA requires laboratories to be UKAS accredited to perform environmental analysis. The scheme covers the entire monitoring process: from planning and scheduling to sampling, analysis and data reporting.
The scheme is a further example of how accreditation can be used to support policy objectives. Further information about the scheme can be found on the SEPA website.
In the context of CO2 emissions reduction, The French Accreditation Body, Cofrac, has delivered accreditation to 8 verifiers to the standard ISO 14065 and Regulation (EU) no 600/2012 (European program), for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reports for fixed installations and tonne-kilometre reports for the aviation sector.
As the international maritime shipping was remaining the only mode of transportation not yet included in the European Union’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions, new European legislation (Regulation (EU) 2015/757) came into force on 1st July 2015. This regulation requires the establishment of a system of monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions from maritime transport. This system is based on the fuel consumption of ships whose voyages are within the European Union, to or from a port located in the European Union.
The monitoring plans must be developed by shipping companies by the end of August 2017 and verified by a verifier accredited by a European accreditation body. From the 1st January 2018, the CO2 emissions reports established according to the monitoring plans will be verified by an accredited verifier.
From 1st October 2016, Cofrac will offer a specific accreditation for monitoring plans and CO2 emissions reports verifications in the maritime shipping sector according to the standard ISO 14065 and Regulation (EU) 2015/757.
Further information is available on the European Commission website.
Processors of animal by-products, such as animal carcasses or kitchen waste, need to test samples of their products to check they are safe to use. Processors include organisations such as composting facilities, petfood factoiries, fertiliser factories, biodiesel plants, blood processors, and milk processors. In order to ensure their safety, testing of samples must be carried out by an accredited testing laboratory.
Further information is available on the UK Government website.
If a business uses or manufactures machinery designed for use outdoors, such as lawnmowers or generators, the UK the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) relies on accredited testing to support its enforcement of the noise emission regulations. Equipment must be tested and passed by a notified body which is accredited by the national accreditation body.
Further information is available on the UK Government website.
Ecuador’s legal framework stipulates “the right of people to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment …,”. One of the functions of the municipal government is to “regulate, prevent and control environmental pollution “. To comply with these guidelines, the Metropolitan District of Quito developed the Metropolitan Ordinance No. 0404.
This ordinance establishes mechanisms of control to verify compliance with the environmental regulations and provides that for the monitoring of the compliance with permissible limits of discharges, emissions of air contaminants and waste generated by industries, sampling and analysis of liquid effluents, air emissions, solid wastes and noise shall be performed in laboratories accredited by the Ecuadorian Accreditation Service.
Further information is available on the Ministry website:
The State government regulator, the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board, relies on accredited inspection bodies to audit environmental regulatory compliance. The regulator recognises reports, issued by an accredited inspection bodies, as a means to demonstrate compliance with the provisions of the relevant Environmental Laws. Businesses with a low pollution risk are therefore not subjected to further inspection from the Regulator.
Download the Regulator’s office order. RSPCB_Office Order – Requirement of Prior Inspection (1)
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.
The UK’s Environment Agency has established a Monitoring Certification Scheme (MCERTS) to deliver high quality environmental measurements involving the chemical testing of soil. The scheme involves the accredited product certification of instruments, the competency certification of personnel and the accreditation of laboratories based on international standards.
The benefits of MCERTS for the chemical testing of soil are that the scheme:
- provides formal accreditation of laboratories in accordance with European and international standards
- provides assurance to all stakeholders (including industrial process operators, laboratories, regulators and the public) of the reliability of data from tests
- establishes a level playing field in this competitive market, based on the Environment Agency’s requirements
- indicates that the chemical testing of soil is a critical component in producing defensible data for regulatory purposes
- promotes and raises the professional standing of laboratories by establishing “quality standards” to which all should aspire and be judged.
Further information is available on EA website.
In order to improve confidence in environmental data submitted to the Ministry of the Environment in Jordan, the Government issued a decision in 2015 that requires all environmental consultation offices to be accredited for all testing and measurement services. Environmental audits and impact assessments will not be accepted by the Ministry unless they are covered by accreditation.
Further information is available on the Ministry of the Environment website.
Microbiological surveillance of ambient air is currently a major concern. The assessment and monitoring of public places such as as workplaces to detect the presence of pathological germs or viruses that could hazardous to human health, will help to support public health.
As of 1st January 2016, aero-biocontamination evaluation testing services can benefit from accreditation to assess and recognise the technical competency as well as the impartiality of evaluation testing laboratories in:
- Indoor air (facilities open to the public, housing units),
- Workplaces air (buildings presenting specific pollution),
- Controlled environment (health facilities, laboratories…).
The measurements performed under accreditation will ensure that the ventilation systems meet the needs of the general public as well as workers, and that the maintenance is compliant with current technical regulations.
Accreditation underpins the safety of drinking water fittings according to Singapore regulations. The requirements for water fittings state that
- Every water fitting shall be —
- of an appropriate quality and standard;
- suitable for the circumstances in which it is used;
- fit for the conveyance of potable water;
- A water fitting is of an appropriate quality and standard only if it conforms to —
- such standard as the Board may stipulate from time to time for compliance, being —
- an appropriate Singapore or British Standard or:
- some other standard which provides an equivalent or higher level of protection and performance; and
- such other requirements as the Board may stipulate from time to time for compliance.
- A water fitting shall be treated as conforming with a standard stipulated by the Board if it is certified or tested as complying with such standard by —
- a product certification body or a testing laboratory accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council or any of its Mutual Recognition Arrangement partners; or
- such other product certification body or testing laboratory as the Board may allow.
Further information is available from the Singapore Government.
ISO describes their Sustainable Events management system standard by stating that ‘ISO 20121 offers guidance and best practice to help you manage your event and control its social, economic and environmental impact. Every action counts, from relying on tap water instead of plastic bottles to encouraging use of public transport. You might find that it also helps you cut unnecessary costs.’
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.
The EPA has recently revised the requirements for testing and certification of new residential wood heaters and other products listed in 40 CFR Part 60. These new requirements call for accreditation of third party certification bodies to the ISO/IEC 17065:2012, ISO/IEC 17020:2012, and ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standards by an ILAC MRA and IAF MLA signatory accreditation body in order to gain recognition from the EPA to certify the products covered in this part of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Further information is available here.
Accreditation of conformity assessment bodies in the field of environmental testing supports the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic. For example a list of accredited testing laboratories providing analysis for the purpose of the PCB register is placed on the ministry website.
For further details, click here.
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
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
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.
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.
The DoD Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program uses only accreditation bodies that are ILAC MRA signatories. A Cooperative agreement must be agreed, and the DoD requires additional quality control requirements supplementing ISO/IEC 17025.
In Norway, the Ministry of Health & Care Services has introduced a range of measures to strengthen the public health system. One of these requirements is for the establishment of environmental management systems and subsequent certification of the management system according to ISO 14001 standard by the end of 2014 for all hospitals. (Norway)
The Swedish Minister of Trade highlighted how standards and certification can be used in tackling even the most complex issues. As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Minister spoke of how specific standards can deal with definable issues such as measuring greenhouse gas emissions (ISO 14064 and ISO 14065), through to generic standards such as ISO 14001 helping to embed the right culture in organisations to help tackle key issues. (Sweden)
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)
In south Wales, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council have used certification to both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 to prove its commitment to a responsible approach to the environment and quality, with certification to both delivering these and matching the expectations of its local residents who expect a proactive, transparent approach to council management. (UK)
An agreement, signed by ACCREDIA and ITACA – the institute for innovation and transparency of tenders and environmental compatibility – promotes the inspection activities provided by accredited bodies in support of regional policies for the environmental sustainability of buildings. The aim is to guarantee the independence, impartiality and competence of conformity assessment against the reference standards. (Italy)
In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Department of Environment and Conservation has stipulated that any laboratories that provide proficiency testing and environmental data to their department must be have a ‘Recognized Form of Laboratory Accreditation’. This means Accreditation obtained from an accreditation body that is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Agreement and based on ISO/IEC 17025.
The policies state ‘The Department of Environment & Conservation shall contract only those commercial laboratories which have a recognized form of laboratory accreditation to perform the required’ and ‘The Department of Environment & Conservation shall contract only those commercial laboratories which have a recognized form of laboratory accreditation to perform the required analyses (except in limited instances). This has been done ‘to ensure that environmental information produced by and provided to the Province is comparable, of known quality, and adequate for its intended purpose’. (Canada)
Accredia, in support of the Ministry of the Environment, has set simpler regulations for the use of Fluorinated gases, thereby reducing costs for business and reducing CFC-gas emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. The Regulations (CE) 842:2006 have been simplified for certifying bodies, technical personnel and training organizations who deal with the installation, maintenance and repair of fridges, freezers, air-conditioners, heat pumps, anti-incendiary systems and fire extinguishers. Competent bodies are designated by the Ministry of the Environment which require a certificate of accreditation. (Italy)
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.
In Taiwan the Ministry 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. (Taiwan)
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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‘ (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‘
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
As a result of increasing global awareness about the importance of the environment, depletion of natural resources and legal pressures for companies to manage their processes in a sustainable manner, ISO 14001 systems have been gaining increasingly more importance in the organizational scenario. These elements are even more critical in emerging nations due to less awareness and fewer demands by governments and the population in relation to environmental issues. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to verify the benefits and difficulties of Environmental Management Systems based on ISO 14001 at industries in the state of São Paulo – Brazil (an emerging country) by conducting a survey to subsidize the proposal for actions in the public, academic and private sectors to promote the use of this standard of reference and strengthen its results in Brazil.
A questionnaire was sent to 194 companies from the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality database. 69 answered, representing a return rate of 35.36%. The main benefits identified are related to the development of preventive environmental actions, reduction in the consumption of power, water, gas and fuel oil, and a positive influence on other internal management processes. The main difficulties are related to cost increases from ISO 14001 management systems and the constant changes in environmental legislation in Brazil. Some actions are proposed at the end of the analyses to intensify the use and improve the results of this standard, such as changes in government legislation and its collective development and implementation in industries.
Otávio José de Oliveira, José Roberto Serra, Manoel Henrique Salgado, UNESP – São Paulo State University, São Paulo 17033-360, Brazil
‘Does ISO 14001 work in Brazil?‘, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 18, Issue 18, December 2010, Pages 1797–1806
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.
Formally adopted in 1996 by the International Organization of Standardization, ISO 14000 represents a new voluntary international environmental standard, which will likely be adopted by the vast majority of corporations. Its major focus is on the structure, implementation, and maintenance of a formal environmental management system. While the literature is clearly divided in its assessment of ISO 14000, an underlying common theme is that the decision to achieve ISO 14000 certification constitutes a major undertaking for most firms. Such an undertaking, it is argued, does not take place in a vacuum. Rather, it is a response to a number of factors or influences. However, no research to date has empirically identified these factors and explained how they can be leveraged into a competitive advantage. In this article, we use qualitative case studies to identify which factors affect the decision to attain ISO 14000 certification and we also explain how these factors can influence the level of success achieved during the certification process.
Sime Curkovica, Robert Sroufeb, Steve Melnykc – a Management Department, Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University, USA;b Operations and Strategic Management Department, The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College, USA; c Marketing and Supply Chain Management Department, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, USA
Curkovic, S., Sroufe, R., Melnyk, S.A. (2005), ‘Identifying the Factors Which Affect the Decision to Attain ISO 14000′, Journal of Energy, Vol. 30, No. 8, pp 1387-1407.
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
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
The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of ISO 14001 and other significant factors on solid waste generation rates of organizations. The research is based on a survey conducted on a random sample of industrial companies that operate in United States. The paper reveals that companies’ solid waste generation rates are significantly reduced by certification and identifies several factors of ISO 14001 that are most significant in terms of solid waste reduction. The paper also reveals that solid waste disposal costs are also significant and influence the solid waste generation of industrial companies.
Matthew Franchetti, The University of Toledo, College of Engineering, Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering Department, USA
Franchetti, M, (2011) ‘ISO 14001 and solid waste generation rates in US manufacturing organizations: an analysis of relationship’, Journal of Cleaner Production 19, (2011) pp 1104-1109.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.