The responsibility to carry out an assessment of fire risk, review such an assessment and to take fire safety measures rests with duty holders. Both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recommend that duty holders who wish to contract the services of external fire safety risk assessors verify that the assessor is competent in fire risk assessment. One way of verifying the competence of an individual assessor is to select the assessor from a list of competent fire risk assessors maintained by a professional body or an accredited third party certification body.
Further information is available on the Scottish Government website.
INAIL – Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority, the National governmental Institute for insurance against Accidents at Work has carried out extensive research on organisations who use the Health & Safety standard, OHSAS 18001.
Their research has lead them to promote the adoption of an occupational Occupational Health & Safety management system as one of the most relevant instruments for organisations to prevent accidents at work. For employers, the reduction in accidents where such a system has been implemented has produced benefits beyond the safety of its workers. These improvements have also now resulted in lower insurance premiums being charged. Firms are seeing reductions in insurance premiums of up to 28%.
These results were presented at the 2016 ISO event, Supporting the reduction of insurance losses – the role of standards. INAIL’s presentation can be viewed here.
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of Zimbabwe under which the Factories and Works Inspectorate falls requires all inspection bodies to be accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17020 in order to be registered as an independent inspection authority. The objective of this requirement is to have confidence of inspection bodies performing inspections in both the regulatory and voluntary domain in order to determine that products, machinery, equipment and processes comply with legislation and meet technical, regulatory and procurement requirements.
To implement this requirement, NSSA the delegated authority for occupational health and safety issues in Zimbabwe with the Ministry of Labour as the responsible authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Southern African Development Community Service (SADCAS). SADCAS is a multi – economy accreditation body and a subsidiarity organization of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) established to meet the accreditation needs of SADC member states without national accreditation body including Zimbabwe.
The MOU spells out the operational relationship between SADCAS as the accreditation body and NSSA the regulator. The main objective of the MOU is to provide for a structured cooperation between SADCAS and NSSA and outlines the Parties obligations. SADCAS main obligation is to provide NSSA with an accreditation system based on verifying competence whilst NSSA’s main obligation is to grant approval to inspection bodies based on their accreditation status.
The SADCAS IBAP was established in 2010 and up to date 4 inspection bodies from Zimbabwe have been accredited and subsequently registered as inspection authorities. A number of applications from inspection bodies from Zimbabwe are still under process.
Following the success of this accreditation body – regulator model, efforts are underway to promote the model in other SADC Member States that are serviced by SADCAS. Close cooperation between the regulator and the accreditation body is essential to ensure that the service delivered by SADCAS as the accreditation body and the accredited conformity assessment body community is meeting the needs and expectations of the regulators.
Some steel mesh marketed in New Zealand as Grade 500E ductile steel mesh was not achieving the required 10 per cent elongation when tested to the standard. As a result, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has published Amendment 14 to Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods for Building Code clause B1. The amendment clarifies how testing of Grade 500E ductile steel mesh must meet AS/NZS 4671:2001 Steel reinforcing materials.
Testing laboratories must be accredited by a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).
Further information is available 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.
Entities interested in carrying out inspections such as the technical service for automated driving vehicle needs to be accredited by ENAC. The process to be followed is the one for inspection bodies according to ISO/IEC 17020.
The Spanish Authorities (Dirección General de Tráfico) declare that an automated driving vehicle is “whatever has motor capacity equipped with technology that enables steering or driving without the driver’s specific active control or supervision, no matter whether such automated technology is temporarily or permanently enabled or disabled”. The Authorities have also published an instruction (15/V-113 of November 13th, 2015) that recognizes the requirements established for all parties to get authorization for these tests, and the same time to ensure the safety of other users.
This instruction also specifies the mandatory documents to be submitted, the areas of the vehicle to be inspected and the dynamic tests that need to be passed to get the authorization.
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.
All adventure tourism operators throughout New Zealand require safety certification under the New Zealand Adventure Activities Certification Scheme. Providers need to undergo and pass a safety audit that certifies safety processes meet the safety audit standards.
Further information is available on the government website.
In order to make the railway systems more inter-operable and secure in Sweden and Europe, Swedac accredits notified bodies, certification bodies, inspection bodies and laboratories in the field.
Accreditation takes place within all railway areas such as infrastructure, energy, signalling, rolling stock and trains intended for passenger services. The regulatory framework is developed by the European Railway Agency, ERA, jointly with Member States’ competent authorities. In Sweden’s case, this is the Swedish Transport Agency. If European law is missing, the national rules are applicable.
When building new, or making changes to the rail system, notified bodies check if the changes comply with the requirements stipulated in the technical specifications developed in Europe. They are determined by the European Commission and must be followed by all Member States.
When it comes to risk assessment of railway safety, also here applies a European regulation that says, if substantial changes are made in trains and railway infrastructure, an inspection body shall assess that the one that makes the change have a risk management processes to be able to ensure safety on Europe’s railways SWEDAC also accredits laboratories that perform testing of trains and railway infrastructure, including components, in order to determine the functionality and security required. The test is then used as the basis when, for example, a notified body shall determine whether the train or the infrastructure meets the safety and compatibility requirements, such as fire testing of textiles to be used in trains.
Further information is available on the Swedish Transport Agency website.
The Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore made use of accredited certification to Quality Management for Bunker Supply Chain (QMBS) to recognise good bunker suppliers and deter malpractice in the industry. Bunker suppliers shall have a quality management system based on the requirements as specified in the SS 524:2006. Bunker suppliers shall engage a certification body which is accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) for quality management system (QMS) to certify their compliance with SS 524:2006. An annual audit report has to be submitted to MPA before the expiry of their annual licences.
MPA also made use of accredited inspection scheme to enhance the accountability and professionalism of bunkering surveying companies. With effect from 1 Jan 2010, MPA require all bunker surveyors to be employed by bunker surveying companies that are accredited under the accreditation scheme for cargo inspection administered by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) as part of the bunker surveyor licensing requirements.
Further information is available from:
Singapore adopts a strategic and long term approach to achieve sustainable, continuous improvement in workplace safety and health (WSH) performance. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) places great emphasis on inculcating a culture of safety and health in all workplaces, and reinforcing the message that poor safety management could be costly. MOM has adopted the Singapore Accreditation Council’s accreditation programmes in the following areas:
- Training providers for Work at Heights courses (and others) are to get certified to ISO 29990: 2010 from accredited certification bodies to increase the confidence and competency of the training providers
- In a local certification scheme called bizSAFE, in order to achieve the highest level of certification (bizSAFE STAR), businesses must obtain SS506 certification issued by SAC accredited certification bodies or OHSAS 18001 or other equivalent certification
- As an approved Third-Party Inspection Agency for Lifting Equipment, Pressure Vessels or Steam Piping, the company has to obtain ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation. Furthermore, if the company is using a Non-Destructive Testing lab, the lab has to be accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council or Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) partners.
Further information is available from:
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) regulates fire safety products in Singapore through a Product Listing Scheme (PLS) which was implemented in 1998. The scheme ensures that fire safety products conform to safety, reliability and performance standards. Since 15 Apr 2008, Certification Bodies (CBs) based in Singapore have to be accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) or any SAC Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) partners for product certification of regulated fire safety products before they are accepted by SCDF.
Further information is available from the SCDF website.
The Clark County Department of Building and Fire Prevention in Nevada has gained accreditation to demonstrate competence to administer an effective system of code enforcement, fire prevention, life safety programs, to the community it serves.
Accreditation is awarded to the International Accreditation Service’s (IAS) Fire Prevention/Life Safety Department Accreditation program. To achieve accreditation, Clark County demonstrated compliance with the IAS Accreditation Criteria for Fire Prevention/Life Safety Departments (AC426).
Further information is available on the IAS website.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has amended its chronic beryllium disease prevention program regulation. The amendments improve and strengthen the current provisions and continue to be applicable to DOE Federal and contractor employees who are, were, or potentially were exposed to beryllium at DOE sites. Samples that are collected must be analysed by an accredited laboratory to ensure that the testing is carried out by a competent body.
Further information is available on the federal register.
According to Dutch Building Regulations, owners of indoor pools must demonstrate that steel installations and metal rigging are safe. Following a number of accidents, the Minister for Housing amended the legislation to ensure greater visitor safety by requiring accredited inspection bodies to survey the integrity of steel and metal structure.
This is stated in an amendment to the Building Decree 2012, published in the Official Gazette. (in Dutch)
The Public Health & Safety Department of Dubai Municipality uses the accredited certification of lifeguards as a measure to create a safer experience for tourists. The scheme uses ISO 17024 – Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons and covers the certification of pool lifeguards, shallow water lifeguards and beach lifeguards.
Dubai has a number of beaches, hotel pools, residential & sports complexes, and water parks that are under the supervision of thousands of lifeguards. The scheme assesses lifeguards for water rescue and basic first aid skills. After completing successful examinations and certification requirements the lifeguards receive an accredited certificate and card.
All lifeguards working in Dubai will be required to be certified under this scheme.
Further information is available on the Dubai Accreditation Centre website.
The Goa Government has issued a notification “The Goa Factories (Occupational Safety and Health Audit) Rules, 2014” in which it has has considered accredited OHSMS certifications to OHSAS 18001 equivalent to Occupational Safety and Health Audits carried out as prescribed by the Chief Inspector of Factories.
The Goa Factories (OSH Audit) Rules, 2014 is available on the link The Goa Factories (Occupational Safety and Health Audit) Rules, 2014
ERA, the European Railway Agency (an agency of the European Union) supports the use of accreditation by Member states to ensure interoperability on railways. Accredited conformity assessment will cover railway infrastructure and construction projects; energy; control, command and signalling; and rolling stock.
The use of accreditation is voluntary, however when a Member State decides not to use accreditation, it shall provide the European Commission and other EU Member States with all the documentary evidence necessary for the verification of the competence of the conformity assessment bodies it selects for the implementation of the Community harmonisation legislation in question.
The use of this harmonised accreditation scheme is expected to increase mutual trust amongst the relevant stakeholders.
Further information is available on the ERA website.
Part 6 – Labelling and marking, Marking of cylinders and fire extinguishers.
Clause 39 Markings for cylinders and fire extinguishers
- A refillable cylinder and a fire extinguisher (whether refillable or not) must be marked with the following information:
- the register number of the cylinder design to which the cylinder or fire extinguisher was manufactured:
- the manufacturer’s serial or batch number for the cylinder or fire extinguisher.
- A refillable cylinder must be marked with the following information…
- A fire extinguisher must be marked with a fire extinguisher registration number issued by a product certification body.
Clause 23B Fire extinguisher registration number
- A low-pressure fire extinguisher must have a fire extinguisher registration number issued under sub-clause (2).
- A product certification body may issue a fire extinguisher registration number for a low-pressure fire extinguisher if it is satisfied that the fire extinguisher—
- has been manufactured in accordance with this Part; and
- meets the quality assurance requirements specified in the fire extinguisher’s design.
Clause 3 Interpretations:
‘product certification body’ means a body accredited to ISO/IEC 17065 by an accreditation body operating to ISO/IEC 17011.
Further information is available on the New Zealand’s legislation website. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2004/0043/latest/DLM244063.html
In Brazil the authority for technical regulations is represented at federal level by several agencies, depending of the area of competence. The regulations can be developed ex officio or upon request of a third party. These regulations are generally based on International Standards, among which ISO standards. Even if the regulation is identical to the international regulation, potential impact of regulations needs to be notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) is responsible for this. INMETRO is also responsible for conformity assessment bodies’ accreditation. More information can be found in the Guide to Brazil´s Toy Compliance Requirements.
The choice of conformity assessment activity is based on specific characteristics of the product and can range from certification, inspection to declaration of conformity by the supplier. It is usually voluntary-based, but if the object of conformity affects consumers’ health, safety or environment, conformity assessment should be performed by an accredited third party. A good example of this process is the certification of toys’ safety. All toys placed on the Brazilian market must be certified by an accredited certification body.
The toy safety certification process can use different certification systems that comprise specific technical regulations:
- MERCOSUR Standard on Toy Safety NM 300:2002, Parts 1-6;
- NM 300 – 1:2002, Safety of Toys, Part 1: General, mechanical and physical properties, which are based on ISO 8124-1:2000;
- NM 300 – 2:2002, Safety of toys, Part 2: Flammability, with normative references to ISO 2431:1993;
- NM 300-4:2002, Safety of toys Part 4: Experimental sets for chemistry and related activities, with normative references to ISO 8317:1989- Child – resistant packaging;
- Additional requirements or methodologies such as the one to approve the Procedure for Certification of Toys and toxicological testing.
More information can be found on the ABNT website: www.abnt.org.br
The toy safety certification also requests accredited certification bodies and laboratories, where the common elements of the systems request the compliance based at least on:
- ISO/IEC 17025:2005, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, including sampling. It covers testing and calibration performed using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods.
- As an IAF/ILAC MLA signatory, INMETRO also shall request confident testing, where a mandatory rule for laboratories is the proficiency testing participation based on ISO 17043:2010, Conformity assessment – General requirements for proficiency testing. The standard specifies general requirements for the competence of providers of proficiency testing schemes and for the development and operation of proficiency testing schemes.
- Guide ISO/IEC 65:1996, General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems. This Guide has been replaced by: ISO/IEC 17065Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services. This new version has been fully revised with more and better terms and definitions, resources, and guidance. Christian Priller, Convenor of the ISO/CASCO working group that developed ISO/IEC 17065 standard says:
“…..Product certification is perhaps the most visible type of certification because it is usually accompanied by a mark that is recognized and appreciated by regulators, consumers and other stakeholders. It is therefore crucial that we ensure the reliability of these claims. I am confident that the new ISO/IEC 17065 will increase trust and comparability of product certification around world.” (ISO News, 3 October 2012).
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE or ECE) has published a Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used in Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere 2011 requiring the use of accredited conformity assessment bodies.
Part 4 – Common Regulatory Objectives, Recognition of conformity assessment bodies
The accreditation of conformity assessment bodies and test laboratories has to follow the applicable ISO/IEC International Standards. The accreditation body has to be member of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation/International Accreditation Forum (ILAC/IAF). One member of the assessor team needs competence in the field of explosion protection.
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide
Further information is available on the UNECE website.
Action 2 (a) of the Buildsafe-NI Action Plan has a requirement that all contractors seeking to tender for public sector works contracts shall have a health and safety management system certified by a third party.
Government Construction Clients recognises third party accredited certification of a health and safety management system, such as OHSAS 18001.
Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service was recommended for registration to BS OHSAS 18001:2007, and have subsequently been awarded certificate No. OHS 571434.
Notable outcomes of achieving this certification are:
- A safer and competent workforce
- Increased regulatory compliance
- A reduction in workplace accidents and injuries which directly impact on Sickness Absence
- Organisational cost savings
- Increased employee awareness and involvement with health, safety and wellbeing
- Greater positive image and improved reputation with customers and stakeholders
As part of a €209.5 million funding package to improve roads in FYR Macedonia, part of the project involves the EBRD stipulating the implementation of a Road Safety Management System in accordance with ISO 39001 to improve safety standards. The project also requires ISO 9001 certification for quality management for Improving standards of corporate governance and business conduct.
Additionally as part of a loan package in Serbia, ‘to finance the rehabilitation and safety improvement works on the primary and secondary road networks in Serbia’, the EBRD, ‘will also support the implementation of the new ISO 39001 standard for road traffic safety management in Serbia and a road safety awareness campaign will be organised during the implementation phase of the Project’.
PRAISE is a project co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) on Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE). The project aims to advance work-related Road Safety Management and provide the know-how to employers who have to take on that challenge. It also aims to present the work-related road safety standards of EU Member States and carry out advocacy work at the EU level: work-related road safety is an area of road safety policy that clearly needs renewed political commitment.
Their 2012 report ‘Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees: Work Related Road Safety Management Programmes’ stated that, ‘ISO 39001… will provide a useful framework for the continual improvement of road safety work.’
As part of Pillar 1 on Road Safety management, the UN’s Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 Activity 3 is to, ‘Develop a national strategy (at cabinet or ministerial level) coordinated by the lead agency ‘promoting road safety management initiatives such as the new ISO traffic safety management standard ISO 39001’.
This global plan was set up by the UN General Assembly under resolution A/RES58/289 on “Improving global road safety”, a task taken forward by the World Health Organisation.
Accredited certification is used by the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic to assess the professional competence of those that use electronic tools or carry out operations using with electronic equipment. Accredited certification is required through the public tender procurement process according to rules and requirements stated in the Regulation No. 9/2011 Coll.
The accreditation according to the requirements ČSN EN ISO/IEC 17065 (certification bodies providing product certification) is being used for assessment of professional competence in this area.
The electronic tools certification for the purpose of public tender procurement is set by the Law No. 137/2006 Coll., on public tender as amended.
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.
The Swedish authority Boverket – the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning use accredited inspection bodies according ISO/IEC 17020 for inspection of elevators, according Swedish regulation BFS 2011:12.
For further information visit the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning or Swedac.
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
Dutch ministries are increasingly relying on accreditation for designating notified body activity. For example, CAB’s examining and inspecting lifts require an ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation to be designated a notified body (Directive 95/16/EC) by the Ministry of Social Affairs. For the ministry, accreditation is adequate proof of the CAB’s competence.
Further information is available here. (in Dutch)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the use of laboratories accredited by ILAC MRA signatories to determine airworthiness. Precision tools and test equipment must be calibrated in accredited laboratories which repair station personnel use to make airworthiness determinations.
Testing of crash mitigation equipment and devices need to be tested in accordance with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) specifications by a laboratory accredited by an ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body.
The FHWA determined that using accredited laboratories will improve the agency’s ability to trust that crash test laboratories are qualified to conduct and evaluate tests intended to determine the crashworthiness of roadside safety features. FHWA also determined that laboratory accreditation is widely recognised as a reliable indicator of technical competence.
This policy decision cited scheduling delays and increased expenses as a reason for using laboratories accredited by an ILAC Signatory rather than the use of Coast Guard-employed inspectors. Additionally, the USCG called out the modern trading system where many manufacturers produce lifesaving equipment for multiple-flag vessels, and must have their equipment approved by each nation. Using third-party accredited testing laboratories would allow manufacturers to satisfy requirements from multiple nations, which avoids the need for duplicative tests.
The CPSC issued regulations to recognise test data associated with children’s products coming from laboratories accredited by an ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body. CPSC registers laboratories that can perform compliance testing based on a simple application process identifying the relevant scope of accreditation from an ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body.
This move enabled CPSC to leverage its limited resources, yet provide for the acceptance of test data originating from the countries of export and reducing the need for redundant testing upon import.
Many children’s products continue to be added within the scope of this requirement for accreditation.
The New Zealand Government requires that Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of high risk (Level 3) items such as industrial, scientific or medical products must be tested in a lab accredited by an ILAC MRA (Mutual Recognition Arrangement) signatory. (New Zealand)
Following the 2009 Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as Amended (Resolution, MSC.282(86)), the IMO Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009; SR/CONF/45) and subsequent IMO circulars, the installation of asbestos products into new vessels has been banned since 1 January 2011. Asbestos (and other hazardous products) detected on board the existing ship must now be listed within an ‘Inventory of Hazardous Materials’ to enable a safe environment for crew, passengers and visitors. Accreditation based on ISO/IEC 17020 for asbestos surveying on marine vessels demonstrates compliance with the International Marine Organisation (IMO). (UK)
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive strongly recommend the use of an accredited surveyor to safely manage asbestos. The regulator recognises that accreditation provides clients with an assurance of a surveyor’s competence. (UK)
A review of the effectiveness of the Regulations was carried out in March 2017. It concluded that:
- The Regulation minimised the risks from exposure to asbestos to keep workers and others safe. The review stated that the fall in exposures to asbestos between 1980 and 2015 will lead to 25,700 fewer deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer in the 100 years between 2001 and 2100.
- Costs to business and government/taxpayers, as well as costs to the individuals affected, both in terms of financial costs and the impact of quality of life and loss of life, when applied to those estimates to the yearly profile of prevented cancer deaths between 2001 and 2100, the present value of the benefits to society of preventing those cases of cancer is estimated at £20.9 bn.
A copy of the review is available here.
In Eastern England, the emergency services at the Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service‘s use of OHSAS 18001 certification has helped deliver a safer environment for the employees, with the management system being especially beneficial given a mobile workforce often located in different places. (UK)
High hazard toys (and some other consumer items) must be tested in an accredited lab. (New Zealand)
The South African Department of Labour (DOL) uses accreditation to determine the competence of Approved Inspection Authorities in the occupational hygiene field. The DoL’s Inspectorate was experiencing a market failure in the performance of some of the AIAs it had approved, brought about by the inconsistent and non-standard performance of practitioners.
The DoL and SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) set about determining criteria for accreditation in this field, with the help of technically knowledgeable stakeholders who were invited to form the SANAS Specialist Technical Committee (STC). Once the criteria and scope had been determined, SANAS and the DoL conducted workshops to inform stakeholders about the accreditation process, including information on the standard ISO/IEC 17020. (South Africa)
The New Approach was established in the European Union to ‘recast technical harmonisation within the European Union (EU) on a new basis by only harmonising the essential requirements of products and by applying the “general reference to standards” formula and the principle of mutual recognition in order to eliminate technical obstacles to the free movement of goods.’
The New Approach has a number of objectives, all seeking to use standardisation, to achieve aims such as supporting the single European market – especially for products, reducing barriers to trade, increasing product safety, delivering an efficient system based on consensus standards.
Product areas covered by the New Approach vary from toys to pressure equipment, from boilers to boats, from medical devices to explosives. The full range of products can be seen under the New Legislative Framework.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement, released on November 5th 2015, between twelve Pacific Rim countries. The agreement’s goal is to promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labour and environmental protections.
Accreditation, recognised by existing regional and international mutual recognition Arrangements (the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA) is referenced as being as a key measure to support trade through the removal of technical barriers.
The twelve Pacific-rim countries include Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the USA.
The 2017 Good Governance Report, published by the Institute of Director’s (IOD) flagship corporate governance publication which ranks the UK’s largest listed companies based on their corporate governance performance, now uses accredited certification to ISO 9001 as one of the data sources.
The IOD supports, represents and set standards for business leaders in the UK.
The report, which is compiled for the IoD by Cass Business School and in its third year, has expanded the number of indicators to give a more comprehensive view of how well the company performs for its shareholders, employees and customers. These indicators are grouped into five broad categories of corporate governance: Board Effectiveness; Audit and Risk/External Accountability; Remuneration and Reward; Shareholder Relations; and Stakeholder Relations. Specific indicators are chosen in order to reflect a broad conception of corporate governance which not only takes into account the interests of shareholders but also considers how governance is working for other key stakeholders. The implementation of an accredited management system has been included to demonstrate strong corporate governance.
A full copy of the report is available from the IoD website.
In November 2015, the UK’s Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) commissioned Professor Christopher Hodges to produce a brief introduction to examine the theories and practice of how to control corporate behaviour through regulatory techniques, drawing on the principal theories of deterrence, economic rational acting, responsive regulation, and the findings of behavioural psychology.
The paper provides regulators and others with an interest in developments in regulatory delivery with an overview of the research theories and empirical evidence, and of the author’s proposition of a new theory of ‘ethical regulation’.
The basic idea is one of a collaborative approach between businesses, their stakeholders and public officials, based on a shared ethical approach. It recognises that compliant behaviour cannot be guaranteed by regulation alone, and that ethical culture in business is an essential component that should be promoted and not undermined. It also notes that regulatory and other systems need to be designed to provide evidence of business commitment to ethical behaviour, on which trust can be based, and that regulation will be most effective where it is based on the collaborative involvement of all parties.
The paper cites the use of accreditation as an example of collaboration between regulators and businesses in the management of risk and compliance.
A copy of the report is available on the Government’s Better Regulation website.
Economic research carried out by NZIER, a specialist consulting firm, reveals that accreditation facilitates $27.6 billion of New Zealand’s exports – over 56% of total goods exports.
Exporters need to be known and recognised overseas as delivering high-quality, safe goods and services to market. IANZ, the New Zealand accreditation body, provides precisely this ‘seal of approval’, which reduces exporters’ transaction costs and risks, and supports ongoing government and business efforts to lift the value-added from exports.
An illustrative economic modelling exercise provides an indication of the additional value that accreditation delivers to New Zealand exporters. If an 8% ‘accreditation price premium’ that an overseas survey suggests exporters receive from accreditation were to be removed, it would cost accredited exporters around $4.5 billion, and cause New Zealand’s GDP to drop by 0.63% or $1.65 billion.
IANZ also plays an important role in the domestic economy. Its accreditation services support industries that account for $35.8 billion of New Zealand’s GDP, and which employ almost 358,000 workers (17% of total employment).
A publication titled “Good practices: Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 quality management systems” has been released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The report presents the lessons learnt and good practices in applying Market Surveillance methodology to monitor the effectiveness of ISO 9001 certification in manufacturing enterprises and to evaluate the performance of respective accredited certification bodies.
The report concludes that the proper use of ISO 9001–based quality management systems assists developing countries in promoting sustainable trade, thereby helping them achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the 2030 development agenda.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.
Reducing unnecessary trade costs is an important aspect of International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC). But trade costs are only one of the many considerations that countries take into account when engaging in bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral efforts to address non-tariff measures that are related to differences in regulations. They are also concerned about pursuing domestic regulatory objectives. This report develops an analytical framework to help understand the trade-offs between trade costs and domestic regulatory objectives that will determine outcomes of IRC. It shows the possible scope and landing zones of IRC initiatives, ranging from simple information exchange to negotiations to harmonize regulations between countries. The analytical approach is based on economic game theory and provides a basis for regulators and trade negotiators to determine which specific IRC approach would be promising to pursue.
The report states that the ILAC and IAF global arrangements provide the platform for trade cost reductions. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.
National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) reforms are an important part of broader efforts aimed at enhancing trade and investment opportunities, opening markets for new innovative products, and improving the business environment. As demand to access new markets and compete with higher quality products rises, the World Bank Group is committed to supporting government’s efforts to build a more harmonized and integrated NQI. This leaflet sets out how the World Bank can support the development of standards, accreditation and metrology systems to boost economic performance and cross-border investment decisions.
A full copy of the leaflet is available here. World Bank NQI Leaflet
Standards define how products, processes, and people interact with each other and their environments. They enhance competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to requirements of governments or the marketplace. When used effectively, they facilitate international trade and contribute to technology upgrading and absorption. This brief discusses the importance, the central elements, and constraints to success of national quality infrastructure.
A full copy of the policy document is available on the World Bank website.
The ISO 9001 – Impact and Relevance in Brazil is based on UNIDO Project 140107 “Impact assessment of ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification in Brazil”, co-funded by Inmetro and UNIDO. The overall objective of the project was to assess the effectiveness of the ISO 9001 certification process in Brazil from the perspective of certified organisations and their customers, as well as by conducting a number of “market surveillance” visits to a sample of certified organisations.
This study provides useful information about the take-up by and benefits for those who have decided to seek an accredited certification of their quality management system based on ISO 9001. The results of this study in Brazil are generally positive. They show that organisations do get value from accredited certification to ISO 9001; that users can rely on accredited certification to ISO 9001 as a reasonable basis for having confidence that the products or services provided by a certified organisation will fulfil their expectations; and that, despite commercial and competitive pressures that can undermine the impartiality and effectiveness of audits and certification, the audits and certifications are, in most instances, effective and valuable.
A full copy of the ISO 9001 – Impact and Relevance in Brazil report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.
UKAS, the UK accreditation body, carried out a survey to capture feedback on the value of accreditation for conformity assessment bodies that have stable scopes in established technical sectors. The survey aimed to gain insight into the reasons for maintaining accreditation, to identify the positive outcomes that are realised through accreditation, and to investigate the value of selected elements of the accreditation process.
Respondents identified that there are clear external factors for maintaining accreditation:
- 67% maintain accreditation as it is perceived as the right thing to do
- 82% maintain accreditation due to customer expectations
- 46% maintain accreditation due to government expectations or requirements
The survey also identified that these businesses derive both internal and external commercial benefit from their accredited status:
- 93% of respondents agree that accreditation provides confidence to their customers and stakeholders
- 76% agree that accreditation differentiates them from their competitors
- 85% agree that accreditation improves the quality and validity of their work
- 71% agree that accreditation helps them to win new or maintain existing business
A copy of the report can be downloaded from the UKAS website.
To have an in-depth understanding of the actual impact of ISO 9001 certification on organisations, Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and UNIDO jointly conducted a survey of the effectiveness of ISO 9001 quality management system certification in China from September 2012 to September 2013. China has overtaken the early implementers of ISO 9001 and now represents approximately 30% of the 1.1 million ISO 9001 certificates issued worldwide. The survey covers the whole of China (except Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). Over 9000 questionnaires were sent out to ISO 9001-certified organizations and institutional purchasers in China, and 6974 effective completed questionnaires were collected. Physical on-site visits were conducted by trained experts at 958 certified organizations.
According to the survey results:
- 93% of all the institutional purchasers surveyed expressed that they regarded ISO 9001 certification as an important criterion for evaluation of their suppliers.
- 75% said their perception of the credibility of ISO 9001 CBs operating in China is “good” or “very good”.
- Purchasers had a good level of satisfaction with their ISO 9001-certified suppliers.
- Of the various parameters studied, the highest level of satisfaction is with the product quality of ISO 9001-certified suppliers (98% purchasers stated that they were satisfied, including 7% of all purchasers who were very satisfied).
- Compared with non-certified suppliers (or comparing the same supplier before and after certification), most purchasers think that the performance of certified suppliers is notably better than that of non-certified suppliers (or the same supplier before certification).
Among all the certified organizations surveyed;
- 51% said the most important reason for them to implement a QMS was to obtain competitive advantages, for internal improvement or to achieve corporate or top management objectives
- 43 % said the most important reason was to gain market access or to respond to customer pressure or tender requirements
- 6% said it was for marketing and/or public relations.
- 98% of the organizations surveyed said that regardless of the overall cost, the implementation of ISO 9001 had been a good or a very good investment.
- Most of the certified organizations said they obtained substantial benefits from the implementation of an ISO 9001-based QMS. 9% of the certified organizations estimated that it brought a benefit of up to RMB 100,000, either in cost savings and/or increased profits. 39% believed it to be between RMB 100,000 to 1,000,000. (c.US$ 15,000 – US$ 150,000)
- 37% estimated that it could bring more than RMB 1,000,000 of benefits (either cost savings or increased profits).
A full copy of the report can be read on the UNIDO website.
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.
Trade policy is an important topic in global public policy. It is recognized that trade is hampered when buyers have incomplete information about the offered products, a problem accentuated in the international markets by the physical and cultural distances between buyers and sellers. Buyers look for proxies to assess product quality, and exporters that can provide assurance about quality gain a competitive advantage. Our paper focuses on voluntary or private regulatory programs that have emerged as important instruments to correct policy failures. We examine how trade competition motivates firms to signal quality by joining ISO 9000, the most widely adopted voluntary quality certification program in the world. Methodologically, our study is novel because we observe trade competition at the bilateral and the sectoral levels.
Structural equivalence, the measure of competition we introduce in this paper, captures competitive threats posed by actors that export similar products to the same overseas markets. We study ISO 9000 adoption levels from 1993 to 2002 for 134 countries, and separately for non-OECD countries and non-EU countries. Across a variety of specifications, we find that trade competition drives ISO adoption: The uptake of ISO 9000 is encouraged by ISO 9000 adoption by firms located in countries that are “structurally equivalent” trade competitors. Given that information problems about product quality are likely to be more salient for developing country exporters, we find that trade competition offers a stronger motivation for ISO 9000 adoption in non-OECD countries in relation to developed countries. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Xun Cao, University of Essex, UK; Aseem Prakash, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Xun Cao, Aseem Prakash, ‘Growing exports by signaling product quality: Trade competition and the cross-national diffusion of ISO 9000 quality standards‘, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 111–135, Winter 2011
‘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
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.
‘Resolving information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs‘ (Toffel, 2006) examines if ‘a voluntary management program’ (in this study’s case ISO 14001) that features an independent verification mechanism (certification) is achieving its ultimate aims’.
The research involves data from thousands of companies in the USA to evaluate their environmental performance. The research reports, ‘evidence that the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard has attracted companies with superior environmental performance’.
Two key elements of the conclusion state that ‘third party certification may be a critical element to ensure that voluntary management programs legitimately distinguish adopters from non-adopters’. This is greatly assisted by the view that, ‘As an alternative to more prescriptive industry-specific management practices, voluntary management programs can also ensure performance improvement among its participants by requiring such improvements as a condition for ongoing participation’.
The second key element of the conclusion is a clear message for the concept of certification as a means of delivering public policy objectives, namely that, ‘regulators should seriously consider using ISO 14001 adoption as an indicator of superior (environmental) performance’.
Toffel, M.W., Harvard Business School, Harvard University
‘Resolving Information Asymmetries in Markets: The Role of Certified Management Programs’, Toffel, M.W., (2006)
The idea of tools such as certification as a means of managing key issues, often addressed by policy-makers with regulation and legislation, is examined in ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature‘ (King, Toffel, 2007) In particular, the use of ISO 14001 certification as a ‘self-regulatory institution’ is examined.
The report suggests that the creation of a robust ‘self-regulatory institution’, such as consensus-based standards (such as ISO), certified by third-party certification who themselves are accredited by accreditation bodies, can deliver significant environmental benefits. The report’s conclusion presents a very optimistic view of systems such as ISO 14001, ‘For readers interested in practical solutions to environmental problems, the research presented in this chapter suggests that self-regulation should be taken seriously.
Many firms have voted with their feet and joined prominent examples of self-regulatory institutions. Managers in these firms appear to believe that participating in these institutions will help them solve real problems. Initial empirical research suggests that some of these institutions might, indeed, help firms reduce market inefficiencies. Some appear to reduce asymmetries in information, others to facilitate coordinated investment in solutions to common problems. In the aggregate, the research reviewed reveals a world not of inevitable tragedy but of possibility’. Backed up by a range of empirical research, the report presents a compelling case for considering systems such as ISO 14001 certification as a tool to make a real impact on environmental performance.
King, A., Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College; Toffel, M., Harvard Business School
King, A., Toffel, M., (2007), ‘Self-regulatory Institutions for Solving Environmental Problems: Perspectives and Contributions from the Management Literature‘
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Economic Research and Statistics Division produced the report ‘International Standards and the WTO TBT Agreement: Improving Governance for Regulatory Alignment‘ (Erik Wijkström and Devin McDaniels, WTO, 19 March 2013), with some key points on the value of key conformity assessment tools such as ISO standards and ILAC accreditation.
Of particular interest as regards conformity assessment is 3.1.1, the section on Specific Trade Concerns, ‘One of the core functions of the TBT Committee is acting as a forum to address trade issues – these are referred to as “Specific Trade Concerns” (STCs). These are concerns that one or several Members have with the design or implementation of another Member’s measure. An analysis of the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Committee’s records shows that about one third of all STCs raised in the TBT Committee are associated in one way or another with the subject of international standards. By “associated” we mean that international standards have been mentioned by a delegation in the discussion of a particular trade concern – either by reference to a specific body or organization, or through general reference to the existence (or non-existence) of some source of international guidance.’
‘While over forty different bodies or organizations are mentioned, a number of them recur frequently in discussion. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is mentioned in 30% of STCs associated with international standards; the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) in 10%.’
The report gives a number of examples of the kind of problem, including: ‘Lead in pottery. The European Union objected to a Mexican draft standard for glazed pottery, ceramics and porcelain, which mandated more stringent lead and cadmium limits than those laid down in the relevant international ISO standards (ISO 6486-1/2). Specifically, the European Union was concerned that Mexican authorities would no longer accept test results accompanying EU ceramic tableware conducted in compliance with these ISO standards. Mexico explained that while its draft standard was partially based on ISO standards, it deviated in certain aspects due to a greater level of health protection required by Mexico, and due to the circumstances of Mexico as a developing country.’
The conclusion of this kind of problem is that ‘The vast majority (around 90%) relate to some form of “challenge” on international standards (from one Member to another). The tone of the discussions may range from a polite request for clarification about the use or non-use of international standards in a measure, to a direct accusation that a Member is not following a specific (and in their view relevant) international standard and therefore violating a WTO discipline.’
The use of international standards and systems in world trade, such as ISO and ILAC which stick to the ‘Six Principles’ of Transparency, Openness, Impartiality and Consensus, Effectiveness and Relevance, Coherence and Development Dimension, would reduce the instances of the STCs.
‘The Economics of Accreditation’ commissioned by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has assessed the economic benefits derived from the accreditation of certification, measurement and inspection services. Researchers from Birkbeck, University of London, surveyed a selection of businesses and other independent analysis to create the report. Its aim was to provide a financial evaluation of accreditation’s contribution to the UK economy, which it valued at more than £600 million per annum.
A central element of the analysis is the multiplier effect of accreditation, indicating that UKAS and the other institutions in the quality infrastructure jointly amplify each other’s effects, so leading to an impact greater than the sum of the parts. This set of interdependencies and cross-amplifying effects combine to create a significant financial advantage for those using accreditation to distinguish their products and services.
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 Central America region is a small market. The region contains around 43 million inhabitants (0.6 percent of total world population) who generate around 0.25 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the region has successfully embarked on a regional integration agenda and has strong commercial links with the US, extra-regional trade-mainly with large fast-growing emerging economies-remains a challenge. Export performance is analyzed along three dimensions that, together, give a fairly comprehensive picture of competitiveness:
1) the composition, orientation and growth of the export basket;
2) the degree of export diversification across products and markets; and
3) the level of sophistication and quality of their main exports.
This analysis allows exports dynamics at the different margins of trade (intensive, extensive, and quality) to be evaluated and individual countries’ to be benchmarked with peers in the Central American region. The results of this report allow policy makers to identify key areas to explore in the overall discussion of export competitiveness in the Central American region. This paper relates to the literature on challenges and opportunities that trade liberalization can bring to the Central American region. Much of the recent literature focuses on the role of the free trade agreement negotiated by Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, with the US.
Given the importance quality infrastructure plays in advancing the trade agenda, greater priority should be given to developing accreditation, standards, and metrology and obtaining international recognition to unlock their export potential.
Watch this short video on the Quality Infrastructure in Grenada, providing an introduction to standards, conformity assessment and metrology.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), has updated its trade recommendations to include references national accreditation systems and the global arrangements. UNECE Working Party 6 on Regulatory Cooperation & Standardization Policies which works to:
- Promote the use of standards by policy-makers and business as a tool for reducing technical barriers to trade, promote increased resilience to disasters, foster innovation and good governance
- Promote the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sendai framework for action
Sixteen UNECE recommendations have been adopted to address standardization and regulatory issues. They set out good practice regarding Regulatory cooperation, Metrology, Standards and Norms, Conformity assessment, and Market surveillance.
While these recommendations are not binding and do not aim at rigidly aligning technical regulations across countries, they are used to encourage policy makers to base their regulations on international standards to provide a common denominator to the norms that apply in different markets.
All sixteen recommendations can be downloaded from the UNECE website.
The recommendations that reference accreditation are:
Recommendation G: Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results
The UK Accreditation Body, UKAS, has prepared ‘the case for accreditation’ aimed at large consultancies and research organisations. The briefing note is intended to provide an introduction to support UKAS’ engagement with these organisations, so that they are in a position to understand that accreditation is a proven tool to solve the issue of delivering consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers with the assurance that services will be run efficiently, goods will conform, and working environments will be safe.
It is hoped that standards and accreditation will be referenced in future sector research or position papers.
A copy of the briefing note is available from the UKAS website.
The Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) has produced a video to increase public awareness on and demonstrate the benefits of accreditation. It aims to further encourage wider acceptance and use of accreditation and build trust in conformity assessment — a tool that helps businesses not only to comply efficiently and effectively with regulations and standards around the globe but also to gain competitive advantage and to expand into new and wider markets.
This short presentation best responds to the question “How do we look for the best quality?” This is a tough question to answer with the vast number of products and services in the market. The video shows how accreditation can help consumers in whittling down their choices to safe, reliable and quality products and services which pass through accredited conformity assessments.
AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, the US accreditation body, has produced a shot video to guide applicants through the accreditation process. View the video on Youtube.
ISO/CASCO has published a new brochure describing how “ISO Technical Committees (ISO/TCs) are often required to choose between developing requirements for a management system for an organisation’s activities, or developing requirements for the competence of an organisation to carry out its activities”.
Not only does this document assist ISO/TCs in understanding the difference between the two standards, but it is also helpful for organisations in the process of deciding whether to implement a management system or a competency based system. In addition, the brochure indicates the benefits and values of meeting either set of requirements.
The ISO/CASCO document – Frequency Asked Questions: Competency or Management System Based Standards?” is available here.
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.