Raising awareness of the benefits of certification and assurance services


Why Accredited Certification?

Why Accredited Certification?

Accredited certification indisputably demonstrates compliance to a management system standard. Leading international certification bodies – such as our members – provide rigorous auditing services to organizations seeking such rubber-stamping of their compliance.

To give customers and stakeholders greater assurance, the competence and impartiality of IIOC members has been assessed and confirmed by independent accreditation bodies. They are assessed against strict criteria that conform to internationally recognised standards. Once verified, the certification body becomes accredited.

This system of independent accreditation – itself based on standards produced separately by ISO and managed by the IAF – enables government, businesses, consumers and others to have confidence in certifications provided by an accredited certification body.

IAF have further explanation of why using an accredited certification body delivers benefits in one of their key publications Why use an accredited certification body.

The idea of tools such as certification as a means of managing key issues, often addressed by policy-makers with regulation and legislation, is addressed 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 (e.g. ISO), certified by third-party certification who themselves are accredited by accreditation bodies, can deliver significant environmental benefits.

Expected outcomes of accredited certification

As illustrations of what any organisation can expect from being certified by an accredited company, ISO and IAF have produced two explanatory documents. The first document explains what any company or organisation could expect to get out of being certified by an accredited certification body to ISO 9001 Quality management systems standard ISO 9001 expected outcomes. The second document explains the same for ISO 14001 Environmental management systems standard ISO 14001 expected outcomes. The IAF published report, The value of accredited certification, has feedback from over 4000 respondents in 41 economies on accredited certification. The majority of these organisations are certified and the report gives incite into their reasons for seeking certification, how they found the process and what the got out of it.

Business benefits of accredited certification

Accredited certification to a management system benefits businesses in numerous ways. Risk mitigation is one of the key attractions. Great assurance comes when a respected, independent, accredited organisation provides certification to a management system.

With an IIOC member providing independent certification to internationally recognized standards – themselves built by a carefully managed consensus process – and then accredited by an accreditation body, customers, clients and stakeholders are benefiting from a highly robust and tested system of assurance.

Greatly improved operational efficiency can be another welcome outcome. And greater efficiency means better performance, less waste, lower costs and greater profitability. Once certified, management systems can provide a welcome boost to a business’ bottom line.

Accredited certification assisting the public sector

Many of the aspirations of the public sector can be delivered with the use of accredited certification: reducing risk; driving costs down; supporting business growth and offering consumer protection are just a start. As a policy tool, the specification and use of accredited certification starts delivering levels of assurance, supporting policy goals, regulation and legislation.

Certification to management systems standards enhances the confidence stakeholders have in a policy or an organisation’s ability to deliver against key government policy key objectives.

These issues are explored further as ISO explains the relationship between standards and regulations and in the publication How does Accredited Certification benefit Regulators IAF looks at how accredited certification assists regulators.

The economic value of standards

The certification schemes offered by IIOC members are – in the majority of cases – based on international standards produced by consensus by ISO. The value of these standards has been measured in a whole range of ways. One common methodology has been to quantify the macroeconomic value of standards to an economy. Links to a number of these studies are below: