On June 9, the international IAF and ILAC networks took an initiative to highlight accreditation and the strategic role it plays in reducing business costs and building trust in the product and service supply chain.
On June 9 each year, accreditation bodies around the world celebrate World Accreditation Day, organized by the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) and ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) to raise the profile of conformity assessment activities globally.
The 2019 event was dedicated to the value of accreditation as a tool to ensure a quality supply chain, due to the fact that accredited testing, inspection and certification enables the selection of reliable and verified suppliers in the global market. The quality and traceability of raw materials require reliable information, but accreditation also plays a strategic role in reducing the cost of doing business and reinforcing confidence in the supply chain. Without assurance, free trade risks being hampered by technical barriers and poor-quality products.
Globally recognized Accreditation Bodies sign the EA, IAF and ILAC International Agreements that facilitate the movement of goods and services through the mutual recognition of testing and certification. The Agreements cover countries, including Italy, that account for 96% of the world’s GDP, creating a global infrastructure that supports trade, economic policies and confidence in the supply chain.
In Italy, accredited certification, applied in particular in the context of GPP (Green Public Procurement), is a recognized policy tool to select products, services and suppliers in line with the standards provided for, so as to make Public Administration purchases effective, and also to protect the health of citizens. In Italy, GPP has taken on the role of a strategic lever capable of improving public procurement with the entry into force of the Procurement Code (Legislative Decree 50/2016). With this text, MEC (Minimum Environmental Criteria) have been introduced in all purchasing procedures for services, products and works and, within the MEC, the use of accredited conformity assessments, understood both as certifications and laboratory tests, has been provided for.
But the market is also showing, all over Europe, that it is relying on accreditation as a criterion for selecting quality suppliers, for assurance and for business.
For example, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in the UK has found that £6.1 billion from exports each year can be attributed to accredited conformity assessments. Accreditation is also widely used in France, where retail chains have implemented a platform that registers more than 4,200 suppliers in 41 countries, including their environmental quality certificates, for the identification, analysis and monitoring of procurement.
An international overview of the role of accreditation in support of the Public Administration is offered by the PublicSectorAssurance website, while BusinessBenefits presents private sector case studies, research and applicable experience on the use of conformity assessments by companies. The websites are a collaboration between the IAF and ILAC, together with the global standardization bodies ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), with the support of the International Association of Certification Bodies IIOC (Independent International Organization for Certification).