Accreditation in achieving SDGs

Dhaka,  Fri,  23 June 2017
Published : 17 May 2017, 20:06:12
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Accreditation in achieving SDGs

Md Abu Abdullah
Accreditation is an attestation of the competence and impartiality of conformity assessment bodies to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. These bodies include but are not limited to calibration laboratories, medical laboratories, testing laboratories, inspection bodies, providers of proficiency testing, producers of reference materials, and bodies that certify management systems, products and persons, or undertake verification and validation.

It is an impartial and objective process carried-out by third-parties that offers the most transparent, the most widely accepted, and the least discriminatory route for the formal recognition world-wide of credible and trustworthy conformity assessment results.

Accreditation can support in achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets that constitute the core of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. These provide a new development framework that seeks to transform the world and guide all global, regional and national development endeavours for the next 15 years.

Industrialisation is one of the main drivers of sustained economic growth and sustainable development. Industry is also the most dynamic driver of prosperity and collective wellbeing. Industrial development is, therefore, a key objective intrinsically woven into the architecture of the SDG's 2030 Agenda. Manufacturers need to ensure that products are of consistent high quality, that they comply with regulations and standards, and meet specifications. Accreditation enables consumers, suppliers, purchasers and regulators to have confidence that products placed on the market are safe and meet the manufacturers claims made about them.

Certification in a range of areas that provide supply-chain confidence for those operating in the manufacturing sector is required in respect of a host of products. These involve:

-Testing of food products, plastics, fuels and oils, detergents, paints and coatings, toys and consumer goods, textiles, glass, cosmetics, construction products, and electronic goods.

- Safety testing of products including children's cots and components, toys and their packaging, prams, bicycles, sport equipment. textiles, leather goods, ceramic and glass wear, and articles intended for use with food. 

-Chemical analysis and determination of physical parameters to ensure safe use of chemicals. Inspection is conducted throughout the manufacturing supply chain including design and manufacturing inspection of items of equipment, production capability assessment, the construction of pressure systems, storage vessels and tanks, process plant and systems, and the carriage of dangerous goods by rail or road. 

Accreditation supports governments and organisations in the process of enhancing energy efficiency and improving economic performance, while reducing consumption of resource and emissions and preventing unsafe, unhealthy or environmentally harmful products from entering the market place.

The application of energy-efficient production processes and technologies, along with enhanced utilisation of renewable energy sources which will provide an opportunity for countries to follow a low-carbon and low-emission growth path, powered by innovative, smart and locally relevant energy solutions, is a challenging aspiration for the future.

The provision of energy involves complex supply chains and processes, often involving cross-border trade and the transportation of volatile substances. The commercial development of alternative renewable sources of energy needs to be environmentally-friendly, and demonstrate value in terms of cost, reliability, durability and performance. 

Testing of gas, fuels and oils is meant to ensure that they meet their intended purpose, including testing for sulphur content, correct additives in the right concentrations or the presence of bacterial contaminants or fuel degradation levels.

Testing new technologies such as tidal and wind energy, wind turbines and solar panels is intended to measure performance, durability, safety, and environmentally-friendly considerations. Safety inspections of energy-related installations include petro-chemical, solar energy, marine and wind farms, energy efficient lighting, smart infrastructures, nuclear installations and coal-fired power stations. Certification of energy management systems is required to help businesses improve energy-related performance and identify energy     opportunities.

Health and safety are well recognised factors as having an impact on sustainable development -- from eradicating poverty through job creation, sustainable livelihoods, technology and skills development, food security and equitable growth to ensuring sustainable consumption and production through dealing with environmental concerns related to health and safety in the workplace.

Businesses face increasing social, commercial and regulatory pressures to assess and control hazards and risks from their operations. Accreditation ensures that employees, purchasers and regulators have confidence in the provision of services that have an impact on health and safety.

A sustainable environment for communities in the future needs cleaner energy, reduced pollution, and more effective chemical and waste management solutions to benefit from increased industrialisation while safeguarding people and the environment. Accredited testing, certification and inspection provides assurance that waste management and recycling are being managed effectively.

Proficiency testing provides for testing of a range of environmentally related activities including drinking water, industrial waste water, effluents, agricultural soils and sediments. Inspection of activities that have an environmental impact include manufacture of paper, wood containers. glass, bricks, ceramic tiles, coke and refined petroleum, and re-cycling. Quality Management System certification provides a foundation for consistency of procedures across business in accordance with specific national or regional waste management regulations.

Third party certification of management systems is a frequently specified requirement to operate in the global market place. It can demonstrate compliance to a standard, a code of practice or regulatory requirements, and is frequently used in most areas covered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accreditation of certification bodies against the international standard ISO/IEC 17021 provides an independent evaluation of their impartiality, competence and consistency.

There are specific ISO certification standards, such as -- Quality Management System certifications (ISO 9001), Information Security Management (ISO/IEC 27001), Environmental Management (lS0 14001), IT Service Management (ISO 20000), Food Safety Management (ISO 22000), Supply Chain Security Management (ISO 28000), Business Continuity Management (ISO 22301), Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 18001), Information Technology Service Management (ISO/IEC 20000-1), Supply Chain Security Management (ISO 28000), Energy Management (ISO 50001), Asset Management (ISO 55001).

Accreditation may also be applied to certification used to provide third party assurance that a particular product meets the specified requirements of products standard (ISO/IEC 17065) or that persons meet the requirements of a particular personnel certification scheme (ISO/IEC 17024). More recently, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies have also been accredited (ISO 14065).

Inspection, which is the examination of a product design, product, service, process or installation to determine conformity with general or specified requirements, is an essential part of ensuring the operational safety of many items that the public use in their daily lives. Examples of activities which benefit from accreditation include inspection of boilers and pressure equipment used in the workplace, cranes and passenger ropeways, offshore structures for oil and gas exploration and production, mechanical equipment, as well as non-destructive testing, inspection of meat, dairy products and other food production, bio-security and border control inspections. Accreditation bodies use the criteria of the internationally accepted standard ISO/IEC 17020 to assess factors relevant to an inspection body's ability to produce consistently reliable and impartial inspection results.

The writer is Director General, Bangladesh Accreditation Board. mdabuabdullah@gmail.com

 
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