For those in the ISO Space, you may be very familiar with the term ‘Certification’ in relation to ISO Standards. However, for certain ISO Standards there is a different type of terminology you need to be aware of.
The demand for a more unified and structured approach to reduce carbon emissions has resulted in a few carbon related ISO Standards to be published over the last few years. Standards such as ISO 14064 (Carbon Verification) and ISO 14068 (Climate Change Management) use the term ‘Verification’ rather than ‘Certification’.
So, what’s the difference between the two?
Join Mel in this weeks’ episode as she explains the key differences between the terms ‘Certification’ and ‘Verification’ in relation to ISO Standards.
- What is Certification?
- What is Verification?
- What is the difference between certification and verification?
- What’s involved with Verification?
- Is there a demand for Verification in the UK and overseas?
In this episode, we talk about:
[00:25] Episode summary – Listeners familiar with the world of ISO will know of the term ‘Certification’, however the release of new Carbon related Standards such as ISO 14064 and ISO 14068 has brought in a new term: ‘Verification’
[02:00] What is Certification? – Quiet simply, Certification is for businesses who wish to certify an ISO Management system – so a company wishing to implement a Quality Management system to ISO 9001, would get the ISO System certified by an accredited Certification Body.
[02:25] What is Verification? – Verification is the confirmation of a claim, through the provision of objective evidence, that specified requirements have been fulfilled. Therefore ISO 14064 the carbon footprint verification standard is a standard that is verified not certified.
The ‘claim’ or ‘statement’ is typically the QES ‘Qualifying Explanatory Statement’. If you’d like to find out more about this, then checkout Episodes 91 to 97, where David Algar, Principal Carbonologist at Carbonology explains in more detail.
[03:35] Setting the record straight – Some organisations (and even Certification Bodies!) have been stating they have been certified to PAS 2060 or ISO 14064 – which is technically incorrect.
As a certificate is not issued and they’re not certified.
[04:30] Think of Verification as an MOT: A simple analogy for Verification is a car MOT. This is an annual check to verify that a claim is correct, much like an MOT, someone must inspect evidence and check that everything is as claimed – not unlike checking under a car bonnet and checking tires to see if everything is in working order.
[05:20] What is the difference between accreditation for certification and verification bodies? – For ISO Certification, certification bodies must adhere to ISO 17021:2015. This standard basically provides a requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems, and applies to CB’s like BSI or NQA.
There are many others here in the UK, simply visit the UKAS website to find a list of accredited CB’s. In other countries, simply go to your national accreditation body website to find a full list.
[06:40] Accreditation for Verification Bodies – Verification Bodies need to adhere to ISO 17029, which was a Standard first published in 2019. That standards title is: Conformity assessment, general principles and requirements for validation and verification bodies.
Both Standards provide structure and governance to basically ensure that standards are either certified or verified to a level playing field.
[07:20] Watch out for the cowboys – Unfortunately, there are some fake third party so-called certification and verification bodies that offer certification and verification.
They do not adhere to either ISO 17025 or ISO 17029, and instead play by their own rules. Which results in utterly worthless (and very expensive) ‘certificates’ that won’t hold up under scrutiny in tendering applications. So please ensure you use an Accredited Certification or Verification Body!
[07:48] What are the differences between Certification and Verification? Certification in more detail – Certification of an ISO Management System means of providing assurance that the organisation has implemented a system, so they’ve got the policies, procedures and controls in place against the relevant activities for their products and services to be delivered.
Certification for management system provides that independence, that impartiality that the company is actually doing what they say that they’re doing, and that it’s effectively implemented.
If you want to get certified, you need to undertake an Assessment. Typically this is done in two parts – A Stage 1 Assessment is a document review and Stage 2 Assessment is the evidence to prove that the companies following its policies and procedures.
[09:35] What are the differences between Certification and Verification? Verification in more detail – There are actually 2 definitions for Verification:
1: The process for evaluating a statement of historical data and information to determine the statement is materially correct and conforms to criteria in 3.6.10.
2: It’s a confirmation of a claim through a provision of objective evidence that specified requirements have been fulfilled. There are a couple of notes with this one, including:
- Verification is considered to be a process for evaluating a claim based on historical data and information to determine whether the claim is materially correct and conforms with specified requirements.
- Verification is applied to claims regarding events that have already occurred are results that have already been obtained, confirmation of truthfulness.
[11:30] Avoiding Greenwashing – Now more than ever is the time to actually have systems in place to be able to verify that claims are factually correct.
A key thing to note with both Verification definitions is that they state you can only make a claim for a certain period – again, much like an MOT.
[12:55] What’s involved with Verification? – There are a few ways to gather the historical data needed for verifiers, here’s a few:
- Analytical testing;
- Control testing;
- Estimate testing;
From those terms alone, you can tell that this is a much more analytical approach than compared with Certification.
[14:30] What’s the current status of Verification in the UK and overseas (as of 2024) – In addition to being the Managing Director of Blackmores, Mel is also CEO of Carbonology – a sister company dedicated to Carbon Standards.
Across both companies, we’re seeing a lot of interest in Sustainability Standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 50001.
At this current time, there is not so much of a demand for Verification and as such, there’s not a demand for third-party verification at this stage. There is however, a demand for an impartial second-party Verification to back up an organisations’ claims.
[16:15] Need any help with ISO 14064 or ISO 14068? – Get in contact with Carbonology and speak to our expert Carbonologists.
If you’d like assistance with other ISO Standards, get in contact with Blackmores and we’ll be happy to help 😊
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