The number of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification bodies around the world has risen by more than 260 over the last four years.
The newly published ISO Directory of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 accreditation and certification bodies lists 573 certification bodies, compared to 309 when the previous edition was published in 1995 - an increase of 264.
The number of countries in which there are certification bodies operating has also increased: from 73 to 93. Germany appears to have experienced one of the highest growths: the number of certification bodies active there has increased from 21 to 76. The Netherlands too has seen a sharp rise, from 17 to 53. In the United Kingdom, the already high 1995 total of 49 has nevertheless increased to 62. The United States registers an increase of 43 to 52. In the Far East, the number of certification bodies has more than doubled in China (from 14 to 32) and in Japan (from 16 to 33), and more than trebled in the Republic of Korea (from 5 to 16).
In addition, the directory throws light on a related development of recent years: this is the establishment of national accreditation bodies to provide some measure of control over the activities of quality system or environmental management system certification bodies. An accreditation body will accredit - or, in simpler language, approve - a certification body as competent to carry out ISO 9000 certification of quality management systems, or ISO 14000 certification of environmental management systems, in specified business sectors.
In 1995, the directory listed 33 accreditation bodies, while the new edition shows that 40 countries now have a national accreditation body.
The directory lists accreditation (where one exists), then certification bodies by country (in alphabetical order). Address, telephone and fax details are provided, along with the name of a contact person. Where a certification body has been accredited, this is indicated, and by whom. If certification bodies with a multinational presence have offices or affiliates in that country, their names are indicated, with full contact details given in an annex. A second annex lists groupings of accreditation and certification bodies promoting the mutual recognition of certificates.
"ISO itself does not carry out certification to its management system standards and we do not issue ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 certificates, nor do we have a right of control or approval over such certificates issued by the bodies listed in this directory," explained ISO Director of General Services and Marketing, Mr. Jacques-Olivier Chabot.
"However, we have regularly received requests from users of our standards who are shopping for a certification body and who want to know what the market has to offer. This led to our decision to compile the new directory. Despite the demand for such a publication, it is to our knowledge the only one available which provides the complete international picture."
The ISO Directory of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 accreditation and certification bodies (ISBN 92-67-10302-4) is available from ISO national member institutes (see list on ISO's Web site: www.iso.org) and ISO Central Secretariat (email@example.com). The price is 95,50 Swiss francs (20 % discount for subscribers to the ISO 9000 + ISO 14000 News Service).
ISO itself does not carry out certification activities and does not issue ISO 9000 or ISO 14000 certificates. Since these certificates are issued independently of ISO by the certification bodies active in different countries, there is no central data base of certified organizations worldwide. However, ISO does carry out The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Certificates, which gives totals per country of certificates issued. The lastest edition of the survey, for 1997, can be accessed on ISO's Web site.