Firms urged to take care over accredited certification

10th November 2011


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  • Management ,
  • Auditing ,
  • Certification ,
  • Procurement ,
  • Business & Industry

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IEMA

Organisations looking for ISO 14001 certification are being warned that some bodies offering so-called accredited certification services in the UK have not been assessed by the national accreditation body, UKAS.

Under European legislation each member state must appoint a single, nationally recognised body to assess and assure the competence of organisations providing accredited certification in its territory. This means that certification bodies operating in the UK must apply to UKAS to become accredited in accordance with the EU Regulation.

However, the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB) is warning that a number of 14001 assessment bodies in the UK have been accredited by other organisations, potentially leading to companies unwittingly applying for a certificate that their customers may not recognise.

“We have identified that smaller companies in particular might not understand the difference between UKAS-accredited certification and other accredited certification,” Trevor Nash, chief executive of the ABCB, told the environmentalist.

“For some, particularly those operating in the public sector, it could mean the difference between having their certification recognised for a tender or not.”

Toby Robins, sustainable development director at green office supplies company Wiles Greenworld, agrees with Nash.

“There is a question when bodies aren’t UKAS-accredited as to whether the quality of audits meets the level you, as a customer, require,” he said. “How can you have confidence that 14001 is being applied correctly?”

The ABCB also argues that while certification bodies accredited by UKAS are evaluated against recognised international standards, it is not always clear how the independent accreditation bodies are assessing organisations.

It does, however, acknowledge that for some firms UKAS-accredited certification might not be necessary, but it warns that all firms should consider their options carefully before choosing a certification body.

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