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Slideshow Items

  • Recent Case Study

    Digital accredited certification verification service builds confidence in global trade

    Summary

    UKAS CertCheck digitally verifies the authenticity of United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited management systems certification.  This free to use service enhances the supply chain management process and helps lower technical barriers to trade, both nationally and internationally.

    CertCheck offers those holding accredited certification a more convenient way to prove their credentials to a potentially wider marketplace, whilst simultaneously providing third-party assurance to those specifying accredited certification from their suppliers.  In addition to speeding up the tendering process, this reduces the opportunity for fraud, helping businesses work together with greater confidence.

     

    Background

    It’s perhaps easy to think of each conformity assessment as being carried out for a singular purpose and for an individual client. However, accredited conformity assessment is part of a much wider eco-system, one that supports frictionless trade across international borders and is concerned with health, safety, fitness for purpose and quality regardless of industry or country.

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is well underway and the conformity assessment sector is already behind other industries on the digital adoption curve.  Collating and digitising conformity assessment information in a secure, recognised source allows the relevant parties to check credentials anywhere and at any time.  It speeds up the verification process, creates a chain of traceability and helps identify potential areas for concern.  In addition to allowing information and status to be easily updated, digitisation also puts control over certificates back in the hands of issuing bodies, helping to prevent fraud and allowing status and information to be easily updated.

    Having a robust supply chain is an essential element of modern business, particularly for those trading across international borders.  Verifying that potential suppliers hold essential accredited certification is a key part of building a reliable network.  Many organisations in both the public and private sectors specify that prospective suppliers must hold accredited certification.

    According to the most recent ISO Survey of Management System Standards, there are nearly 2 million valid management systems certificates in use across the world.  Over 90% of these certificates are from one of the three most popular management system standards, namely ISO 9001 Quality management systems — Requirements, ISO 14001 Environmental management systems — Requirements with guidance for use and ISO 45001 Occupational health and safety management systems — Requirements with guidance for use.

    Organisations are responsible for their own due diligence in ensuring the claims made by their suppliers are current and valid.  Independently checking the authenticity of each applicant’s certification is an integral part of procurement best practice, but it can be a time-consuming and fragmented activity.  Historically this was done through a two-stage process that firstly confirmed that the certificate issued by the certification body was authentic and valid, and secondly checked that the certification body was currently accredited for this particular activity.

     

    Strategy 

    Digitalisation is very much part of UKAS’s strategic development and both its own eCerts system (for accreditation certificates) and CertCheck (for accredited certification) are a key part of supporting the digitalisation of conformity assessment.

    Launched in June 2022, UKAS CertCheck provides a quick, easy and free way to verify the authenticity and validity of accredited certifications.  By automating and combining the certification and accreditation verification stages into one comprehensive yet straightforward online service, CertCheck brings speed, clarity and confidence to the accredited certification vetting process.

    The accredited certifications within CertCheck cover a vast array of widely recognised and commonly used management systems; ranging from the long-established quality (ISO 9001), environmental (ISO 14001) and occupational health and safety (ISO 45001) standards; to newer information security (ISO 27001), energy management (ISO 50001) and supply chain security (ISO 28000) standards; to more sector-specific standards such as food safety (ISO 22000) and medical devices (ISO 13485).

    Entirely self-funded by UKAS, CertCheck is free to use and open to everyone, regardless of industry sector or country.  Searching on CertCheck provides a simple confirmation whether a certification is both genuine and current.  Users are able to search by either company name or certificate number, with the results showing all the UKAS accredited certifications held by that company.  There is also the option of creating a free account, which provides an increased number of daily searches and allows registered users to monitor certifications, set up notifications for changes in certification status and directly message certification bodies with relevant enquiries.

     

    Results and impact

    CertCheck is a growing database of over 400,000 management systems certifications issued worldwide by UKAS accredited certification bodies.  All of the common management systems certifications are represented; ISO 9001 accounts for over half of the certificates held within CertCheck, with ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 27001 and ISO 20000 together making up over a third.

    In the first six months since its launch in June 2022, the CertCheck website has been viewed tens of thousands of times and several thousand users have opted to register (free of charge) for an enhanced service.  Although CertCheck is a United Kingdom-based service only 20% of its users are from the United Kingdom, with China, India, Japan and USA being the next most popular locations.  This emphasises CertCheck’s wide global appeal and demonstrates its value in lowering technical barriers to trade, by helping businesses throughout the world work together with greater confidence across international borders.

    Despite being a relatively new service, CertCheck has received strong support from UK government, certification bodies and quality professionals.  Paul Scully MP, then Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets described CertCheck as a service that “will make it easier for businesses to ensure their suppliers are walking the walk when they talk the talk about holding accredited certification.”  Wayne Terry, Chief Executive of the Association of British Certification Bodies said: “Defrauding the procurement process undermines the hard work that many organisations go through to achieve valid accredited certification.  UKAS CertCheck will give confidence to organisations that rely upon accredited certification helping them ensue those claims are valid.”  Similarly Vince Desmond, CEO of the Chartered Quality Institute views CertCheck as a “game changer”, adding: “Quality professionals and their organisations often have to deal with unaccredited and even counterfeit certification.  Making this tool available to relevant people in their businesses will help hugely.”

     

    Contact

    Jeff Ruddle, Strategic Development Director.  e: jeff.ruddle@ukas.com


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme (WEPLS) by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN)

    Summary

    The main purpose of the Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme (WEPLS) is to encourage suppliers to develop and market water efficient products as part of water conservation measures, as well as to raise public awareness on the availability of water efficient products. Participation in WEPLS by the suppliers is on a voluntary basis at this juncture in order to allow a lead time for the market to transition towards more water efficient products. Water efficient labelling on the products under this programme requires that test data from third-party laboratories comes from laboratories accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM) or other Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) or International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatory accreditation bodies.

     

    Background

    The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) is a technical and economic regulatory body for the water supply and sewerage services in Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia and Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Labuan). The Commission regulates all entities in the water supply and sewerage services industry, including public and private water supply and sewerage services operators, water supply and sewerage contractors, permit holders and suppliers of water and sewerage products.  SPAN regulates the water services industry in accordance with the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) which came into force on 01 January 2008.  WEPLS is a voluntary Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme initiated by SPAN. WEPLS was launched in January 2013 to register and label water efficient products according to the guidelines set by SPAN. The WEPLS label serves to inform consumers of the product’s water efficiency rating in order that consumers can take these factors into consideration when making their purchasing decision. Five (5) types of products are covered under WEPLS: Water taps, which include basin taps, sink taps, shower taps and ablution taps, water closets, urinal equipment, shower heads and clothes washing machines.

     

    Strategy 

    The water efficiency product is rated according to its water consumption based on the three (3) star rating system. One star indicates that the product is a water efficient product whereas two stars indicate that the product is highly water efficient and three stars indicate that the product holds the highest level of water efficiency among similar products on the market.

    The Commission provides recognition to a foreign and local conformity assessment body (CAB). The test of water consumption is to be carried out by an independent testing laboratory recognised by SPAN. The laboratory can be a local testing laboratory which has been accredited under the Department of Standards Malaysia for the test method stipulated, or a laboratory accredited by another APAC or ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body.

     

    Results and impact

    WEPLS creates no barrier to trade. Water efficient labelling on products helps consumers to distinguish more water efficient products from the less efficient ones at the time of purchase, therefore allowing them to make well-informed purchasing decisions. To date, more than 10 suppliers or manufacturers in the marketing or production of water efficient products as part of conservation efforts have registered with WEPLS since the launching of this scheme.

    It is also expected that the program will grow the number of local accredited laboratories and certification bodies with testing and product certification capabilities, required to support industry needs. Local manufacturers can benefit greatly from the availability and less expensive services of the local testing/certification, as opposed to sending the product to be tested overseas.

     

    Contact

    Name: IAF and ILAC Secretaries

    Organisation: Compiled by IAF and ILAC


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    Energy efficiency programme by the Energy Commission (Suruhanjaya Tenaga)

    Summary

    The Malaysian Electricity Regulations 1994 (Amendment 2013) enable the Energy Commission to regulate electrical appliances according to their energy performance. Such appliances must meet the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and the efficiency ratings as prescribed in the Regulations. Test data on included appliances must come from third-party laboratories accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia (DSM) or another accreditation body to the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).

     

    Background

    Suruhanjaya Tenaga (ST), the Energy Commission, is responsible for regulating the energy sector, specifically the electricity and piped gas supply industries, in Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah). The Energy Commission was formed under the Energy Commission Act 2001. The Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) label was introduced in 2013. Pursuant to Regulation 97(1), Electricity Regulations 1994, a Certificate of Approval (CoA) is mandatory for manufacturing, importing, displaying, selling or advertising electrical equipment.  CoAs are required to ensure that electrical equipment in the market complies with established safety standards in order to reduce the risk of electrical accidents.

     

    Strategy 

    The Commission provides recognition to a foreign and local conformity assessment body (CAB). The local conformity assessment body must be accredited by the accreditation authority, DSM. The foreign conformity assessment body must be recognised, registered or licensed by the relevant authority in the country in which the foreign conformity assessment body conducts business. All test reports, certificates, records or technical files are produced by a foreign and local conformity assessment body in accordance with the regulations set by the Commission.  The test report needs to be accompanied with a confirmation letter from the Department of Standards Malaysia.

    To encourage the purchase of energy efficient electrical appliances, e-rebates were granted to households that purchase energy efficient electrical appliances with high star ratings. This is in line with the government’s initiative to promote energy savings and efficiency that will indirectly support Malaysia in achieving its carbon reduction targets.

     

    Results and impact

    Under MEPS, domestic electrical appliances are given a star rating according to their energy efficiency category with five stars being the most efficient. This is especially useful for consumers as certain appliances, such as air-conditioners, have become must-haves in many middle-income homes. These, however, consume a lot of electricity which leads to higher bills. As such, using more energy efficient appliances will allow them to reduce the amount of energy consumed and their electricity bills.

     

    Contact

    Name: IAF and ILAC Secretaries

    Organisation: Compiled by IAF and ILAC

     


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    The ENAC accreditation mark enables SGS Tecnos’ clients to export products to Australia

    Summary

    Certification granted by an Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC)-accredited certification body has enabled a European manufacturer of photovoltaic inverters to export its products to Australia, since in accordance with mutual recognition agreements (MRAs/MLAs), a certificate issued by an ENAC-accredited organisation is considered valid in more than 100 countries around the world.

     

    Background

    A European manufacturer of photovoltaic inverters that wished to export its products to Australia was certified by the Spanish ENAC-accredited certification body SGS Tecnos. An Australian business required accredited certification granted by the Australian accreditation body Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ). In short, without JAS-ANZ’s acceptance, the manufacturer would not have been able to market its products in Australia.

     

    Strategy 

    Given this requirement, SGS Tecnos indicated to the Australian business that, in accordance with mutual recognition agreements, a certificate issued by an ENAC-accredited body has the same validity as one issued by an accredited local certifier and contacted the Australian accreditation body to outline the situation. A report was delivered by JAS-ANZ indicating that, under mutual recognition agreements, the certificates issued by SGS Tecnos under ENAC accreditation are recognised in Australia.

     

    Results and impact

    After this statement, the local business accepted the certificates issued by SGS Tecnos, so the manufacturer was able to export its products to Australia. Thus, accreditation allowed the manufacturer access to new business opportunities, contributing to cost reductions and decreasing the need for repeat tests in the importing country.

     

    Contact

    comunicacion@enac.es


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    ENAC-accredited certification facilitates products’ exportation in the Middle East

    Summary

    Certificates issued by Tecnalia Certificación and LGAI Technological Center (APPLUS), two certification bodies accredited by Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC), the Spanish accreditation body, allow their clients to access some Middle East markets. Specifically, the certificates cover two schemes developed to comply with the requirements of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar related to fire behaviour. Therefore, accreditation enables the clients of these two certifiers to be more easily accepted by foreign markets.

     

    Background

    Lately, interest in Spanish construction companies has increased in the Middle East market due to the growing number of projects with a significant economic dimension being promoted in some countries of this region. However, these companies may have to face different challenges to trade in that region, such as demands to demonstrate the fire performance, reaction and resistance of construction products.

     

    Strategy 

    To comply with these requirements, the products must be certified under a specific scheme guaranteeing that real production samples are being tested, that tests are being carried out by accredited laboratories recognised by local authorities, and that the manufacturer has implemented a production control to check if the obtained results in the tests are maintained over time.

     

    Results and impact

    Thanks to ENAC-accredited certification, controls or complementary tests that might be performed on products in the destination countries are significantly reduced. Tecnalia and APPLUS use accreditation as a tool to deliver confidence to their clients and the final market about the technical competence, rigour, impartiality and independence of their certification services. Therefore, accreditation allows Tecnalia and APPLUS’s clients access to new business opportunities and helps them reduce costs by decreasing or eliminating the need for repeat tests in the importing country.

     

    Contact

    comunicacion@enac.es


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    The CACES system: when accreditation helps to reduce the risk of accidents at work

    Summary

    In France, the responsibility for assessing operators to use work equipment lies with the company manager, who can consult the results obtained by the employee in the certificat d’aptitude à la conduite en sécurité (CACES) test – a certificate of ability to drive safely – for the appropriate category of equipment.

    Only a testing body certified to carry out tests for the category of equipment concerned can issue a CACES for that category. This testing body must be certified by an accredited certification body.

    This system has been in place since 2001. Having largely proven its worth in terms of reducing the risk of accidents at work, this system was renewed in 2017.

     

    Background

    In France, through numerous statistics and studies, the compulsory insurer of companies for the risk of accidents at work and occupational diseases found that significant risks of accidents were linked to the use of work equipment. It therefore recommended that the skills of employees responsible for using this equipment be verified, which led to the creation of the CACES.

    The CACES enables a certificate to be issued by name for successful completion of theoretical and practical tests. It consists of a theoretical and practical examination at the end of a training course which concerns 33 different categories of equipment.

     

    Strategy

    Cofrac delivers accreditation against ISO/IEC 17021-1 Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems to certification bodies that certify CACES testing bodies.

    Accredited certification provides confidence in the robustness of the examinations that work equipment operators take.

     

    Results and impact

    Since the first CACES recommendations were published 20 years ago, new machines have appeared and new needs have arisen in companies and among users.

    With a reduction in the number of accidents and cases despite the explosion in the amount of work equipment used in companies, the professional federations and associations have realised the benefits of this driver training assessment system based on accredited certification.

     

    Contact

    Cofrac – Communication department (communication@cofrac.fr)


    Read more...

  • Recent Case Study

    Costa Rica: First steps of the Quality Infrastructure for the Circular Economy in the Plastic Industry

    Summary

    Costa Rica has launched a project in accordance with the initiative Capacity Building in Technical and Scientific Organizations Using Regional Experiences and Knowledge (CABUREK) in Latin America and the Caribbean, for the Quality Infrastructure for Circular Economy (QI4CE) project promoted by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) of Germany, which seeks the integration between the circular economy (CE) and the quality infrastructure (QI) of economies.

    The Costa Rican national project is called “Creating bridges between the QI and the plastics industry that applies the CE in Costa Rica” and its objective is to generate a national base to support the CE through the QI for the plastic industry and governments, applying the “CALIDENA” methodology from PTB. The project started in October 2021 and ends in September 2023. It is being led by the Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (ECA) with participation from the Costa Rican Institute of Metrology (LACOMET) and Institute of Technical Standards of Costa Rica (INTECO).

    The Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) is currently developing a National Circular Economy Strategy and coordinates an inter-ministerial committee for the circular economy, in which other public institutions, private entities and university representatives also participate. One of the most important challenges is how the circular economy is measured and evaluated, for which QI institutions are seeking to support the search for international standards and accreditation schemes among other tools that can be developed or adopted to respond to this new national strategy.

    Costa Rica is also working with Ecuador under the QI4CE project but with a regional approach. The objective of this second project is to develop a tool for measuring and assessing the circular economy, including a set of cost models and indicators. As reference, it is using the ISO standards being developed by ISO/TC 323 with an emphasis on economic and cost evaluation that allows for evaluation of the progress of circularity in the different regions of the countries, taking into consideration the application to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the quality infrastructure, including accreditation. This project is expected to be completed in July 2023.

     

    Background

    Costa Rica has adopted a broad political framework in support of sustainability that includes global policies such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. At the national level, there is a series of regulatory instruments that highlight the importance of sustainable development, which includes economic, environmental and social spheres. These include the National Bioeconomy Strategy (in which a circular bioeconomy is proposed, highlighting the circular economy as a guiding concept for a new productive development), the National Sustainable Production and Consumption Policy, the National Decarbonization Plan, and the National Biodiversity Strategy, among others.

    Moreover, the Interinstitutional Bioeconomy Committee, coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), is working on implementing the National Bioeconomy Strategy, launched in August 2020. Additionally, MINAE is currently developing a National Circular Economy Strategy and coordinates an inter-ministerial committee for circular economy, in which other public institutions, private entities and university representatives also participate. The MICITT and the MINAE have developed these initiatives in response to suggestions made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as part of Costa Rica’s ascension process to that organization.

    It is important that within this political framework, the country’s accreditation and quality infrastructure be seen as tools to support issues relating to the circular economy, conformity assessment, and measurement. Quality infrastructure contributes to policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in markets, the environment and climate change, among others.

     

    Strategy 

    The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that supports economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection, thus supporting the fulfilment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It is important that accreditation, standardization and metrology are included in the process of transitioning to a circular economy, together with the government entities that draft relevant policies and strategies, to provide confidence and recognition in the national and international markets.

    The potential contributions of the quality infrastructure to the circular economy in Latin America and the Caribbean are:

    • Harmonized terminology and conceptual clarity of the circular economy
    • Responsible production and consumption culture
    • Public policies and enabling regulatory framework
    • Trust, traceability and interoperability of information
    • Competitive products and services
    • Scientific, technological and innovation base

    Complying with international standards and robust accreditation and conformity assessment schemes will allow the trade of products to be more transparent. Additionally the circular economy will generate new sources of employment and diversification of industries.

     

    Source: Canelas-Santiesteban, E., Harmes-Liedtke, U., Valqui, A., Flores-Campos, M., Lugo, G., Liewald, W., Rivadeneira, M. 2022. “Quality infrastructure for the circular economy in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Documents for the infrastructure of America’s Quality, Number 1, First Edition.

     

    Results and impact

    At the national level, the workshop “Construction of the Value Chain of the Plastic Industry in Costa Rica” was carried out in order to determine the current needs of the main actors in the plastic sector to strengthen the capacities of the institutions of the National System for Quality (accreditation, standardization and metrology) through the development of services that facilitate the application of circular economy principles in their processes. The workshop was held on 03, 04 and 08 November 2022 with more than 25 strategic allies.

    As a result, a proposal for an action plan was prepared based on the high-priority issues identified as well as the existing gaps between the plastics industry and the quality infrastructure, including the need for accredited national laboratories to carry out tests in compostable and biodegradable plastics, among others.

    In addition, a monitoring committee was formed for the implementation of the activities established in the circular CALIDENA action plan, in which the government sector and the plastics industry are participating until September 2023.

    Also, ECA, LACOMET and INTECO are participating in the working groups that are drafting the National Circular Economy Strategy and its policy, ensuring that quality issues in terms of accreditation, metrology and standardization are taken as the basis of the proposals.

    The objective of the regional project between Ecuador and Costa Rica is to develop a tool for measuring and assessing the circular economy, including a set of cost models and indicators. As reference, it is using the ISO standards being developed by ISO/TC 323 with an emphasis on economic and cost evaluation that allows for evaluation of the progress of circularity in the different regions of the countries, taking into consideration its application for SMEs, and the quality infrastructure, including accreditation.

     

    Contact

    Mariluz Quirós López, Ente Costarricense de Acreditación (ECA)

    Innovation Department

    m.quiros@eca.or.cr

     

    Fernando Vázquez Dovale, Ente Costarricense de Acreditación (ECA)

    Manager

    f.vazquez@eca.or.cr


    Read more...

  • 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


    Read more...

  • 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


    Read more...

  • 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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