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  • Recent Case Study

    Accreditation supports organic production in Guatemala

    Summary

    Through the Ministry of Agriculture, the Republic of Guatemala regulates the correct application of organic agriculture legislation, controls the certification bodies for certified organic operators and registers them, and provides third-party recognition that the Guatemalan organic exportable officer has met the required quality standards for each country and territory the products are marketed to. The main export markets for Guatemalan products are: the United States, Europe, and Japan, among others.

    Mandatory compliance to a conformity assessment scheme, confirmed through accredited conformity assessment, ensures the traceability and differentiated value of the product and provides confidence for consumers, in the sense that the production system complies with the international requirements for organic classification.

    In Guatemala, organic agriculture is an important industry, because it represents a more favorable price for the national producer, promotes connections among those involved and provides healthy food for people to consume. It is friendly to the environment by promoting conservation, appropriate use of natural resources and protection of biodiversity, helping to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

     

    Background

    In the late ‘90s the Ministry of Agriculture adopted the European regulations regarding organic production, meeting with the interested and involved parties in order to identify the mechanisms required, in order for Guatemalan products to be accessed by larger markets.

    In December 2002, the ministerial agreement no. 1317-2002 Provisions on Organic Agriculture was published. The principal objective was to regulate the implementation of the production systems and everything related to processing, packaging, labeling, storage, transportation, and commercialization of vegetables, animals, their products and sub-products.

    With the implementation of the national agreement and beginning of compliance to the European Union requirements and other international regulations, one of the main principles was that every product or sub-product, whether animal or vegetable, in transition or organic, must be certified by a certifying agency. This agency must be accredited or recognized according to ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services, and include in its scope of accreditation the regulations of the country where it is developing its services.

    In 2007 the Central American Integration System developed and adopted a Technical Central American Regulation: Requirements for the Production, Processing, Marketing, Certification and Labeling of Organic Agricultural Products, being a partial adoption of the Codex Alimentarius Standard GL 32- 1999. With the technical regulation, all the applicable regulations that the Central American countries had were harmonized, replacing their national regulations.

     

    Strategy

    In the case of Guatemala, the Ministry of Agriculture is the authority responsible for the registration, official authorization and supervision of operators, and accredited certifying agencies. However, the control system focuses on ensuring that, through accredited conformity assessment, quality is confirmed and the specific requirements of international standards are met.

    The certifying agencies may be accredited in another country that is a signatory of the mutual recognition agreements, they may facilitate their operations in Guatemala. The commercial parties, in this case the producer, buyer and certifying agency, agree to exchange and accept the certificate published by the certifying agency that guarantees compliance with the standard throughout the food supply chain. The key elements of the system are focused on:

    1. Accreditation or recognition of certifying agencies according to ISO/IEC 17065, including national regulations in its scope of accreditation.
    2. Sampling, testing and analysis by accredited laboratories according to ISO/IEC 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
    3. Quality audit of production processes.
    4. Documentary review of conformity with regulations.


    Results and impact

    Organic agriculture in Guatemala is an organized production process advancing through obtaining better access to international markets. Currently there are 164 organic operators that include associations, federations, cooperatives and individual producers.

    According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, the growth is maintained at an average of 7% per year in production volume, already exceeding 200,000 hectares of arable land. Initially only coffee was offered as an organic product, however, market demand has diversified the Guatemalan organic exportable offer to the following products: cardamom, cacao, macadamia nuts, honey, lettuce, green beans, black tea, papaya, and broccoli, among others.

    The mode of cultivation promotes connections between small producers, besides currently allows grouping more than 60,000 farmers throughout the national territory, generating approximately 20,000 permanent jobs and more than 80,000 temporary or indirect jobs. The most important markets for the exports are the United States with 80%, the European Union with 15%, and Japan, Canada and Arab countries with 5%.


    Contact

    Nombre: Carlos Alejandro Archila Azurdia
    Organización: Oficina Guatemalteca de Acreditación
    Contacto: carchila@oga.org.gt


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  • Recent Case Study

    The establishment of an National Accreditation Body in Ghana to reduce the cost of internationally accredited laboratories in the country: Making laboratory accreditation more accessible in Ghana

    Summary

    In order to make laboratory accreditation more accessible and less expensive, a National Accreditation Body is being established.

    This will allow more laboratories to access accreditation; it will also make available less expensive accreditation when full recognition from ILAC is achieved.

    The government is working together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to establish an ILAC-recognized accreditation body in Ghana.

    Background 

    The Ghanaian economy is heavily dependent on the export of agricultural commodities such as cocoa and other non-traditional exports (NTE) such as pineapple, mango, wood and wood products. Export of such commodities has greatly increased in the past few years. In 2019 the country bagged about 2.9 billion dollars from NTE and recorded 2.85 billion dollars despite issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    One of the key factors that has increased Ghanaian competitiveness is the availability of ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories to perform key tests that facilitate the competitiveness of the Ghanaian commodities.

    Laboratories performing key tests in Ghana are accredited to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025. These accredited laboratories were assessed and accredited by ILAC-recognized accreditation bodies predominantly from Europe and the USA. This has greatly increased the cost of accreditation. The ripple effect is that it increases the cost of production, making Ghanaian commodities less competitive.

    The government is working to reduce the cost of accreditation by establishing a national accreditation body, thereby increasing the competitiveness of Ghanaian commodities on the international market. This will reduce the cost of accreditation as well as include more laboratories in the accreditation bracket.

    Consequentially, more farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will have access to accredited laboratories to facilitate the competitiveness of the commodities both on the domestic and international markets.

    Strategy  

    The need for accredited laboratories to support the export of Ghanaian NTE was identified.

    The Ghana National Accreditation Body being established is now an associate member of ILAC. Using the parallel accreditation method, the National Accreditation method will be guided to upgrade their status with ILAC.

    The process, which is ongoing, will increase the availability of accredited laboratories across the country. Farmers and SMEs needing accredited laboratories for tests such as soil analysis, water analysis, product quality evaluation etc. will now have such laboratories closer to them and they will be more affordable.

    It will also reduce the burden of work and over-reliance on the bigger laboratories.

    Results and impact

    It is expected that this will increase the number of accredited laboratories, making ILAC recognized services available to more users and reducing inequalities in the accreditation space.

    It is expected that the availability of less expensive accreditation services will eventually increase the competitiveness of Ghanaian commodities on the international market, thus increasing the overall national income in the coming years.

    Contact

    Mr. Juan Pablo Davila, Project Manager, GQSP Ghana j.davila@unido.org
    Ms. Abena Safoa Osei, Chief Technical Advisor, GQSP Ghana a.osei@unido.org


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  • Recent Case Study

    Strengthening the Quality of Essential and Vegetable Oils Exports from South Africa through Accreditation of Testing Laboratories

    Summary

    The Global Quality and Standards Programme South Africa (GQSP-SA) project, a SECO-funded, UNIDO-implemented project, has the objective of strengthening quality and standards compliance capacity in order to facilitate market access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the essential and vegetable oils value chain destined for the food, health and cosmetic markets. One of the project’s activities is to support test laboratories providing services for the essential oils produced in South Africa, to receive accreditation against the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, following a technical support programme. This programme includes training on the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, technical assistance for the preparation of quality manuals, and expert assistance for method validation of the physical and chemical test methods required to demonstrate the quality of the oil produced.

    The importance of an SME being able to supply a certificate of analysis (CoA) from an accredited test laboratory for the essential oils produced cannot be over-emphasized. In gaining access to national, regional and international markets, having an accredited CoA for the oils helps gain customer confidence in the quality of the oil supplied, minimizes the risk of batch rejection by the customer, avoids the expense of retesting and improves acceptance of the quality of the oils produced in South Africa.

    Background

    South Africa is the third most biologically diverse country in the world with over 21,000 plant species.  The conservation of biodiversity is high on the government’s agenda and there are opportunities to create linkages with green growth and employment creation through enhanced market access for sustainable value chains with high growth potential and sectors that can accelerate the pace of industrialization.  South African essential oils are demanded in major economies such as the United States, Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.  In order to confirm the quality of the essential oil produced, a test certificate from an accredited test laboratory facilitates trading of the oil.

    Strategy  

    In 2019, a study was commissioned by the GQSP-SA project to conduct a survey of test facilities in SA and other SADC Member States available to support the essential and vegetable oils value chains in establishing the composition and physical/chemical properties of the project focus essential oils (buchu, cape chamomile, helichrysum, lippia and rose geranium) and vegetable oils (baobab, kalahari melon, manketti/mongongo, marula and sour plum). The study showed a lack of commercial laboratories in South Africa and the region receiving and analysing essential oil samples on a regular basis and that the test laboratories capable of testing essential oils are at tertiary institutions, in local government departments or in-house at commercial enterprises.  Following a situational analysis on other types of test laboratories available in South Africa to support the essential oils industry, a questionnaire was drafted and distributed to university departments, government institutions and agencies. The questionnaire was structured so as to obtain an insight as to whether there is: i) alignment of interests between the institution and the project; ii) existing technical capability (technical expertise and availability of equipment); recognition of competency of the test laboratory; and potential of attaining accreditation status. Responses were analyzed and three (3) test laboratories were identified for technical support from the GQSP-SA project in order to assist the laboratories to prepare for, and obtain, accreditation testing of essential oils using a range of physical and chemical test methods to demonstrate the quality of the oils.

    Results and impact 

    The expected results and impacts are that at least three accredited testing facilities to test essential oils will be available in South Africa, and could potentially be used by producers from the SADC Member States as well.  Each of the test laboratories will be capable of providing a single point of service, which means only one sample to be prepared by the SME, one courier cost for transportation of the sample to the test laboratory, and one CoA covering the testing requirements to demonstrate the physical and chemical product quality of the produced oil.

    Contact

    Mr. Juan Pablo DAVILA (Project Manager, GQSP South Africa): j.davila@unido.org
    Dr. Elsie MEINTJIES (Chief Technical Advisor, GQSP South Africa): e.meintjies@unido.org


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  • Recent Case Study

    Improving the quality and safety of cassava derivatives in West Africa through accreditation of product certification bodies and testing laboratories under the ILAC MRA/IAF MLA

    Summary

    The cassava value chain is one of the priority value chains of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region. Cassava producers and processors rely greatly on accredited conformity assessment services to demonstrate the compliance of their products with regional and international standards. However, a study conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) showed that most conformity assessment bodies, when they exist, are not accredited yet against international standards. Only a few ECOWAS Members states have established national certification bodies (NCBs) and most of them are not accredited. Moreover, the level of compliance to international standards of testing laboratories supporting the cassava value chain is low. To reduce the gap, tailored capacity building programmes have been developed based on the ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17025 standards in order to support conformity assessment bodies in achieving international accreditation. 12 national certification bodies and six testing laboratories are being prepared for accreditation with a view to ensuring the quality and safety of cassava derivatives for the sustainable economic growth of West Africa.

    Background

    Regional value chains can support West Africa’s integration into global value chains and facilitate productive transformation. West Africa’s competitiveness depends on the development of priority agricultural value chains, trade facilitation and promotion of quality standards (AUC/OECD – Dynamics of Development in Africa 2022). This is more accurate in the context of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). One of the priority regional value chains identified under the West Africa Competitiveness Programme is cassava and derivatives. Cassava is a value chain with high potential for the entire West African subregion. Cassava roots can be processed into multiple products, including gari, flour, bread and starch. In many West African countries, it is estimated that 70% of cassava produced is processed. This processing rate is due to the perishability of tubers that degrade three to four days after harvest. In 2010, cassava production in West Africa reached 60.8 million tonnes (Source: Faostat). Most of the production is still provided by the artisanal sector in most of the countries concerned where different technological variants have been used for this purpose. One of the major challenges faced by producers and processing companies of cassava and derivatives relates to quality and safety. In this regard, a Regional Quality Mark called “ECOQMARK” has been created by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers by June 2021. This collective Mark aims to help consumers to identify quality and safe products on the markets as well as promoting trade and protecting the environment. Accreditation plays an important role in the issuance of the Regional Quality Mark through demonstration of competences and impartiality of certification bodies and testing laboratories involved.

    Strategy 

    In the framework of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), UNIDO helped the ECOWAS region to improve the quality and safety of priority products including gari, a cassava derivative. The intervention of UNIDO started with a need identification study conducted with a view to identifying priority needs for strengthening national and regional quality infrastructures in support of four regional value chains, including the cassava value chain, in the ECOWAS region. The study revealed, among other points, how conformity assessment bodies underpin the development of the cassava value chain and improve the quality and safety of cassava products. The study also identified priority support to be provided to testing laboratories and product certification bodies, bearing in mind that most of these bodies are not accredited yet. A regional certification scheme for gari was developed based on the existing ECOWAS regional harmonized gari standard. This was followed by the development of tailored capacity building programmes for NCBs and testing laboratories based on ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17025 respectively. These programmes have been extended to cover pilot companies processing gari for the implementation of their food safety management systems based on HACCP principles.

    Results and impact

    To date, eighteen conformity assessment bodies in ECOWAS Member States including twelve NCBs and six testing laboratories supporting the cassava value chain are being prepared for international accreditation with a view to providing recognized certification services and testing services to cassava producers and processing companies. These accredited services are needed for the issuance by mandated NCBs of the ECOWAS regional Quality Mark. The “accredited once, accepted everywhere” approach embodied in the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) helps internationally-facing users of accredited services avoid repeated assessments, reducing barriers to trade either in the ECOWAS regional market or international markets.

    Contact

    Mr. Bernard Bau, Project Manager, WACOMP b.bau@unido.org

     


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  • Recent Case Study

    Sustaining accreditation in West Africa through multi-economy accreditation bodies: The Example of SOAC WAAS

    Summary

    To avoid conflicts of interest, guarantee independence and impartiality, accreditation bodies are non-competitive and non-profit; their activities are limited to inter-company training and accreditation of conformity assessment bodies. This very limited intervention framework is essential to maintain the credibility of accreditation throughout the world. However, such an approach can be costly for economies where conformity assessment is poorly developed. The establishment of multi-economy accreditation bodies becomes an advantageous alternative to offer sustainable accreditation services in developing countries. It is in this spirit that the West African Accreditation System (SOAC WAAS) was launched, which covers 8 West African economies. This approach is in line with sustainable development goal No. 16, which advocates in particular “the establishment of strong and effective institutions with transparent governance systems”.

    Background

    SOAC was created in 2005 by a Regulation of the Council of Ministers of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The Regulations were revised in 2010, in particular to better meet international accreditation requirements. The concept of setting up multi-economy accreditation bodies was quite new and complex at that time. Conscious of the need to fill the absence of accreditation bodies in West Africa, UEMOA has opted for regional integration. Indeed, the operating costs proved to be heavy in the event of the establishment of national accreditation bodies in its Member States. In fact, the number of conformity assessment bodies in this region that would be ready to pass accreditation assessments was still low in the 2000s. The growth and then the consolidation of SOAC was possible thanks to the partnership between UEMOA, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); it is indeed within the framework of a series of projects for the establishment of the quality infrastructure of UEMOA and ECOWAS, executed by UNIDO and financed by the European Union, from 2001 to 2019, that SOAC was gradually launched.

    Strategy 

    In order to have an efficient institution open to all stakeholders, it was decided that SOAC WAAS should be a non-profit organization. UEMOA Member States were put in competition with specifications to be completed. These specifications included, among other requirements, the provision of premises and the signing of a headquarters agreement. From a financial point of view, partners such as the European Union and ECOWAS made it possible to prepare the launch of SOAC WAAS activities in the first years. UEMOA took over by signing a financing agreement for the benefit of SOAC WAAS thereafter. The selected host country, Côte d’Ivoire, has taken significant regulatory and financial steps to strengthen SOAC. A head of state decree granted SOAC public utility status in 2019; it was followed by the signing of a headquarters agreement in 2021. This agreement gives SOAC the status of a diplomatic mission. Financially, the status of diplomatic mission exempts SOAC’s activities from taxes, in particular value added tax; this contributes to the development of accreditation in SOAC member states.

    Results and impact

    • The accreditation needs of 8 West African States covered simultaneously;
    • A solid legal status making SOAC the only organization authorized to accredit in its member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo);
    • An institution that brings together, in a balanced way, various stakeholders from the 8 Member States interested in accreditation within three colleges (private sector college, public sector college, conformity assessment bodies’ college);
    • A regional regulation (ECOWAS) which encourages Member States to opt for multi-economy organizations for better cost control;
    • A diplomatic mission status authorizing in particular:
      –  18% reduction in costs on charges to be borne by local conformity assessment bodies;
      –   international accreditation meetings organized under the aegis of SOAC facilitated by the exemption of visa fees
    • An institution that improves its efficiency with the support of its technical and financial partners.

    Contact

    info@soacwaas.org
    www.soacwaas.org
    https://web.facebook.com/WAASOAC
    https://twitter.com/soacwaas


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  • Recent Case Study

    New accreditation services for economic growth and environmental assessment

    Summary

    Accreditation is one of the pillars of the Quality Infrastructure (QI). This attestation facilitates international trade, improves the quality and security of products, and fosters environmental protection.

    One of the most common barriers Colombian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face is the lack of metrological, accreditation, and other QI institutions’ services. This barrier generates extra costs for producers and consumers when hiring the services abroad, thus affecting Colombia´s competitiveness and economic growth.

    With the support of Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP) Colombia, the National Accreditation Body Organismo Nacional de Acreditación de Colombia (ONAC) is developing a new accreditation service for reference material producers. This will make it easier for chemical measurements such as those related to environmental parameters, health and food safety, to have accepted references that ensure the reliability of those measurements, impacting both private sector companies and public institutions.

    Background 

    One of Colombia´s main competitiveness problems is a misalignment between the QI’s services and industry needs. The root cause of this problem can be poor communication between institutions and SMEs and guilds or typical constraints in public institutions.

    Several years ago, ONAC identified the need for accreditation of reference materials producers to ensure that the country has appropriate measurements in chemical, environmental or health variables. Since 2021, GQSP Colombia has been supporting ONAC in developing this new accreditation service. Moreover, the program supports the national reference material producers, strengthening their technical capacities to access this accreditation in the future.

    This initiative complements ONAC’s efforts to offer accreditation services with a sustainable approach. Since 2017, ONAC has offered specific services with a sustainable approach, such as accreditation for energy management systems certification, GLOBALG.A.P., the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) and greenhouse gas validation/verification. In the long term, ONAC’s new technical capacities could be used to determine environmental parameters and improve the assessment of cities´ environmental performance.

    Strategy 

    The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) has vast experience in certified reference materials. This institution is guiding ONAC on technical training of its staff, observation, documentary review, and internal audit, thanks to GQSP support.

    GQSP experts and the Colombian National Metrology Institute are also guiding 4 laboratories in implementing ISO 17034:2016 General requirements for the competence of reference material producers so they can access the new accreditation service once available.

    ONAC is expecting to have its first accredited laboratory by the end of this year and obtain international recognition by 2023.

    Results and impact

    In the short term, this new service will facilitate the accreditation of testing laboratories in food and environmental variables, reduce producers’ costs, improve measurements’ quality in production processes, facilitate compliance with technical requirements, increase SMEs’ competitiveness and foster international trade.

    Moreover, this new service will motivate laboratories to produce reference materials rather than import them, increasing the national offer. Colombia could also export this service and certified reference materials to neighbouring countries.

    In the long term, ONAC could take advantage of this capacity to establish a regional accreditation offer for this type of conformity assessment body and be a benchmark in the Americas for the transfer of experiences and knowledge in this area. Additionally, the production of certified reference materials will allow the country to generate reliable and high-quality information facilitating the decision-making and public policy design for environmental, economic, and social problems.

    Contact

    Mr. Javier Fernandez – J.FERNANDEZRODRIGUEZ@unido.org and Ms. Maria Paula Godoy
    Organisation: UNIDO – Colombia Field office


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  • Recent Case Study

    Title Utilization of “JCSS” standard gas for monitoring exhaust gases in the atmospheric environment

    Summary

    To protect the environment, emission rates of exhaust gas in the atmospheric environment must be accurately measured and monitored. In Japan, standard gases, provided by accredited reference material producers (RMPs) under the “Japan Calibration Service System”, (JCSS) are used for the calibration of gas analyzers. Since these gases are traceable to the national measurement standard, highly reliable measurement results can be obtained and the environmental atmosphere can be controlled properly.

    Background

    Regarding the measurement of exhaust gas from a garbage incinerator, carbon monoxide and oxygen concentrations are strictly monitored by a gas analyzer. The Measurement Act and the manual of the Ministry of the Environment require the gas analyzer to be calibrated periodically by the standard gases, which ensures the metrological traceability. The discharge of air pollutants into the environment must be monitored continuously for a long period of time. By controlling the accuracy of measuring equipment using JCSS standard gas-ensured metrological traceability, it is possible to obtain measurement results with reliability.

    Strategy 

    JCSS is one of the accreditation programs operated by IAJapan. JCSS Calibration laboratories shall ensure that metrological traceability fulfils national standards and meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 under the Measurement Act. In addition, JCSS calibration laboratories which produce JCSS standard gas shall also meet the requirements of ISO 17034 as RMPs under the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).

    Therefore, JCSS standard gases are highly reliable standard gases and enable reliable measurements.

    Here is the outline of JCSS: https://www.nite.go.jp/en/iajapan/jcss/outline/index.html

    Results and impact

    In FY 2020, 33,392 JCSS standard gas certificates (13 types supplied) were issued in Japan. JCSS standard gas, supplied by accredited laboratories and RMPs, contributes to obtaining reliable measurement results and controlling the atmospheric environment properly for climate change (SDGs 13).

    Contact

    International Accreditation Japan (IAJapan), National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)


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  • Recent Case Study

    Strengthening environmental validation & verification schemes through accreditation

    Summary

    Accreditation provides assurance that conformity assessment services are provided competently, including validation and verification services such as greenhouse gas validation/verification and verification of the carbon footprint of products.

    Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB) is a IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) signatory for Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification (ISO 14065). SLAB has expanded its scheme requirements to cover emerging validation/verification schemes such as verification of the carbon footprint of products, the Verra Verified Carbon Standard (VERRA VCS) and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) under the organisation/project level of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

    Currently SLAB has accredited three validation/verification bodies (VVBs) for ISO 14065 and two VVBs for ISO 14067 (organizational level verification ISO 14064-1).

    Background

    Sri Lanka Accreditation Board has established an accreditation scheme for Greenhouse Gas Validation/Verification (ISO 14065) considering the global and national requirement to strengthen the VVBs involved in environmental assessments. SLAB became an IAF MLA signatory for Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification (ISO 14065) in 2018. SLAB is the first accreditation body in the South Asian region to obtain international recognition under the IAF MLA for ISO 14065.

    Sustainable Future Group Pvt Ltd, Sri Lanka Climate Fund and National Cleaner Production Centre of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka NCPC) are among the leading VVBs in the environmental sector operating in Sri Lanka and have been accredited by SLAB for the above. Accreditation has strengthened the validation and verification process operated by them, building trust among the customers.

    With the current demand, SLAB has expanded its scheme requirements to cover emerging validation/verification schemes such as verification of the carbon footprint of products, VERRA VCS and CORSIA under the organisation/project level of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

    The scheme for the carbon footprint of products (ISO 14067) has expanded with the accreditation of Sustainable Future Group Pvt Ltd and Sri Lanka NCPC.

    Strategy 

    The strategy of SLAB for strengthening applicable VVBs is as follows:

    1. Development of the accreditation scheme and capacity building activities for staff
    2. Stakeholder engagement activities and building awareness
    3. Engagement with clients and assessing competency
    4. Providing accreditation for competent conformity assessment bodies
    5. Obtaining international recognition through the IAF MLA
    6. Identification of expansion requirements, customer engagement and continual improvement of the validation/verification scheme

    Results and impact

    The value of accreditation in validation and verification services such as carbon crediting, the carbon footprint of a product, etc. is difficult to quantify directly. However, the assurance and confidence provided by accreditation to the aforesaid is immeasurable.

    The impact and benefits from the accreditation of VVBs include:

    • The end user: The end user of the validation/verification process benefits by the accurate verification/quantification results from the validator or verifier.
    • The validator or verifier: The validator/verifier benefits through the recognition for the verification process and competitive advantage gained.
    • The environment: The ultimate benefit of the process is the reduction of emissions, supporting environmental sustainability.

    Contact

    Ms. Chandrika Thilakarathne, Director (CEO), Sri Lanka Accreditation Board for Conformity assessment
    E-mail: director@slab.lk, chandrikahdn@yahoo.com


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  • Recent Case Study

    Implementing a reliable certification system in food production chains.

    Summary

    On the way to PlanetProof strives for an agriculture in balance with the carrying capacity of our planet, emphasizing closed cycles of raw materials, and valued by society and the market. To achieve this, an integrated approach is needed, which involves working on sustainability in several themes in all links of the production chain. This is challenging because improvements on one asset can sometimes cause lesser achievements on other assets. It asks for craftsmanship to excel in all areas.

    Participation is voluntary. Goals are set in dialogue with stakeholders. Inspections are carried out by third-party certification bodies. Requirements, certificate holders and interpretations are transparent and published on the On the way to PlanetProof website. Accreditation contributes to the reliability of this independent quality label for more sustainable products.

    Background

    The quality label On the way to PlanetProof was previously called Milieukeur and was founded by SMK in the early 1990s on the initiative of the Dutch government. In 2018, Milieukeur was given a new and international name for food products and floriculture: On the way to PlanetProof.

    On the way to PlanetProof is a fast-growing sustainability label. At the time of writing, the label is available for 6 sectors (plant products, floriculture, dairy, eggs, processed products, and trade & retail) and is active both nationally and internationally. In 2017 some 300 farmers, horticulturalists and other businesses had a certificate, while by 2021 there were already over 2,800 participating businesses.

    Strategy 

    The independent label On the way to PlanetProof proves that you are buying or selling a product that is produced more sustainably and is better for nature, climate and animals. Based on criteria, On the way to PlanetProof farmers and growers contribute to cleaner air, fertile soil, water quality, and animal welfare. They pay attention to nature on the farm, separating waste and recycling. As an entrepreneur with the On the way to PlanetProof certificate, you assure suppliers and customers that your company is working on sustainability, which can provide various benefits.

    Making sustainable choices has become more important to companies and consumers. Therefore, interest in the sustainability of products is increasing and is more often considered in purchasing decisions, for example in Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), by buyers from supermarkets or the consumer.  Products with the On the way to PlanetProof quality label meet that demand by being proven to be more sustainable; the quality label is the ‘proof’.

    SMK has developed and manages the On the way to PlanetProof quality label. SMK is responsible for the requirements and independent certification bodies carry out the inspections. This way, the development and testing are separated. SMK is a non-profit organization and cooperates with experts, boards of experts, committees and certification bodies. These independent certification bodies handle applications and check the certificate holders. The certification schemes of On the way to PlanetProof and the certification bodies that award the quality label are supervised by the Dutch Accreditation Council. The certification and inspections are accredited to ISO/IEC 17065.

    Results and impact

    The quality label name ‘On the way’ represents the steps towards more sustainable agricultural production. It makes it clear that sustainability is a continuous process of improvement with the aim: a production method that is in balance with the earth’s capacity. The requirements of the certification schemes are regularly revised and the ambition levels are increased where possible.

    With On the way to PlanetProof, certificate holders contribute to the sustainability goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is accomplished via requirements in multiple areas:

    • Energy use and climate
    • Crop protection
    • Biodiversity and landscape
    • Soil quality
    • Fertilization
    • Water
    • Material use and waste flows
    • Animal welfare and health

    On the way to PlanetProof is growing rapidly. For example, 5.6% of poultry farmers in the Netherlands are certified. Furthermore, 58% of the table potatoes and 53% of the herbs and vegetables (open cultivation) in the Netherlands are certified with On the way to PlanetProof. For fruit, this is 38%.

    Contact

    Name label: On the way to PlanetProof
    Organization: SMK
    More information on the website: https://www.planetproof.eu/en/


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  • Recent Case Study

    Waste management in Poland

    Summary

    The management of generated waste in Poland is subject to the provisions of the Act on Waste, according to which different types of waste should be tested in accredited laboratories. National legal regulations are closely related to the requirements of European Union law and are of a complementary and executive nature.

    Accreditation of laboratories performing sampling and chemical, biological, microbiological tests and tests of physical properties of waste is carried out by Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA) in accordance with the requirements of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard and specific sectoral requirements of the law, specified in the DAB-11 accreditation program. The rules for accreditation and supervision of laboratories set out in this program apply from 9 April 2018.

    Background

    Waste management is one of the most important tasks facing modern civilization. The waste management process is divided into stages, i.e. collection, transport, neutralization, recycling and monitoring of waste generated, e.g. as a result of human activities. Due to the necessity to implement projects minimizing the impact of waste on human health and the environment, as well as the wide variety of waste, it is essential to ensure that tests meet the appropriate criteria.

    Strategy  

    In Poland, the management of generated waste is subject to the provisions of the Act on Waste. A waste producer, wishing to send waste to landfills, must perform tests of its properties, carried out by accredited laboratories. For the purpose of testing, laboratories collect samples of the waste covered by the notification.

    The frequency of testing depends on the type of waste and whether it is waste produced on a regular basis or not. The Act allows for the processing of waste in installations or devices and the recovery of waste outside installations or devices. The recovery carried out in the R10 process requires that the waste holder has the results of tests carried out by an accredited laboratory confirming the quality of the waste and the quality of the soil on which the waste is to be used.

    Other recovery processes also require the fulfillment of certain conditions, which are assessed on the basis of tests performed by accredited laboratories. Waste, including waste treated in incineration plants, may also be used as fuel. Tests of individual types of fuel should be carried out by laboratories, in accordance with the standards specifying the requirements for the competence of testing laboratories. It makes it possible to use the waste in a safe way for the environment and human health.

    Results and impact 

    Granting accreditation for compliance with the requirements of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard and specific sectoral requirements of legal provisions, specified in the DAB-11 accreditation program, enables the identification of laboratories competent to carry out activities resulting from the applicable legal provisions in the field of waste management and ensures common trust in relation to activities in the field of waste management. This trust is based on the reliable results of sampling and waste testing, which is essential for the protection of health and overall safety and the environment.

    Contact 

    Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA)


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