The ISO Survey

A total of 611 209 management systems certified as conforming to ISO 9000 (quality management) standards or to ISO 14001 (environmental management) were being implemented by organizations worldwide at the end of 2002, compared to 547 381 a year earlier.

The continued growth of certification to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) management system standards is revealed in the newly published 12th cycle of The ISO Survey. The certificates are issued independently of ISO, which does not perform auditing and certification, by more than 750 specialized certification bodies around the world, but the organization carries out the annual survey as an information service to indicate the impact of its best-known standards. The 12th cycle reports the following highlights:

  • ISO 9000: Up to the end of December 2002, at least 561 747 certificates of conformity to ISO 9000 standards had been issued in 159 countries and economies, an increase of 51 131 (+ 10,02%) over the end of December 2001, when the total stood at 510 616 in 161 countries.
    The top ten countries for growth in the number of ISO 9000 certificates were: China (+ 17 972), Italy (13 103), Spain (10 941), Japan (6 579), Hungary (2 892), Czech Republic (2 862), India (2 556), USA (1 901), Singapore (1 866) and Switzerland (1 694).
  • ISO 9001:2000: Of the ISO 9000 total, 167 210 were certificates of conformity to ISO 9001:2000. The number of certificates issued to this revised standard, which replaces the 1994 versions of ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003, more than tripled in 2002 in comparison to the 2001 total of 44 388 and represented 29,77% of the overall total of 561 747 at the end of 2002.
    The top ten countries for ISO 9001:2000 certificates at the end of 2002 were: China (40 997), Japan (16 813), Italy (14 733), Germany (10 811), United Kingdom (9 301), Spain (8 872), Australia (7 024), France (6 529), Switzerland (5 060) and USA (4 587).
  • ISO 14001:1996: Up to the end of 2002, at least 49 462 ISO 14001 certificates had been issued in 118 countries, an increase of 12 697 certificates (+ 34,54%) over the end of 2001 when the total stood at 36 765 in 112 countries.
    The top ten countries for growth in ISO 14001 certification were: Japan (+ 2 497), China (1 718), Spain (1 164), USA (975), Italy (858), Sweden (660), Brazil (550), France (375), Germany (320) and Hungary (300).

Commenting on the survey, ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden said: "Publication of The ISO Survey has become a much-awaited event and it is certainly gratifying to note another growth year for certification to ISO's management system standards that underlines their increasing importance and use worldwide for the development and promotion of quality and environmental protection, not only in industry, but also in services and the public sector."

Alan Bryden added: "However, growth can fluctuate from one year to another and it would be superficial to understand the success of ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 solely in terms of the number of certificates. A full appreciation of the benefits they bring is situated at a more strategic level. At a time when the globalization of many issues opens world markets, ISO's management system standards provide a globally understood framework for business and thus contribute to creating an upgraded and level playing field and to improving the overall performance of the economic actors involved."

The ISO Survey includes data on the following aspects for both ISO 9000 and ISO 14001:

  • world, regional and country-by-country totals of certificates;
  • breakdown of the world total by industrial sector;
  • country highlights - in addition to the "top ten", significant certification "milestones" in terms of totals achieved and countries or economies showing certification activity
  • for the first time;
  • breakdown by country of withdrawn certificates;
  • in the case of ISO 9001:2000, an indication of whether the certifications represent new ISO 9000 users, or migrations from the 1994 versions of ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003, whether the certificates cover single or multiples sites, and whether the certificates are accredited or non-accredited

The 12th cycle of The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 Certificates (ISBN 92-67-10377-6) is available as a combined 42-page report and CD-ROM at a cost of 46 Swiss francs from ISO's national member institutes (see full list with contact details) and ISO Central Secretariat. In addition to the categories of data listed above, the CD-ROM includes a country-by-country breakdown of certificates by industrial sector.

An abridged version of the 12th cycle is available for free consultation on ISO's Web site. It consists of the tables giving world, regional and country totals of ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 certificates, plus graphics showing the worldwide totals and growth over the different cycles since the first in January 1993. The tables in the 12th cycle allow comparison of the totals from 1997 to 2002 (it became impossible within the A4 format of the survey report to accumulate the totals since 1993 without sacrificing legibility). However, for those who wish to compare figures right back to first cycle, a file of the 10th cycle (which includes the totals from January 1993 to the end of December 2000) is available free on the ISO Web site.

Background to The ISO Survey

The data for The ISO Survey is collected from a variety of sources including ISO national member institutes, accreditation and certification bodies and certification databases.

The survey has no pretensions to being either exhaustive or totally accurate. The responsiveness of certification bodies to requests for data varies. Not all submit data. Among those who do, the quantity and quality varies. In some cases, estimates have to be made. From time to time, mistakes come to light and the figures are adjusted accordingly in subsequent surveys. In addition, the responsibility for collecting figures within different countries and organizations may be transferred and with it, the methods for calculating totals. As a result, country totals given in previous surveys may be revised retrospectively and totals may not therefore always tally up from one survey to another.

With the 12th cycle, the title of the survey has been modified from The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Certificates to The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 Certificates. The generic term "ISO 9000 certificates" is more convenient to use when it covers both certificates of conformity to ISO 9001:2000 and to the 1994 versions of ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003. This is why it has been retained for the full title of this edition of The ISO Survey, which provides statistics on both the 1994 and 2000 versions.

However, when organizations publicize their certification, ISO asks them to be precise about which ISO 9000 standard they have been certified to - the 2000 or 1994 versions - in order to avoid confusion. In particular, they should not mislead the market into believing that they have been certified to the new, improved ISO 9001:2000 version if their certification is, in fact, to one of the older, 1994 versions. (Comprehensive guidelines for Publicizing your ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 certification are available free of charge on this site).

In line with this need for increased clarity in relation to the ISO 9000 family, the term "ISO 14000 certification" should now be replaced by "ISO 14001 certification", since ISO 14001 is the only certification standard in the ISO 14000 family. As result, the title of the survey has been modified to conform with ISO's guidance.

The ISO Survey is carried out once a year by ISO Central Secretariat which does not maintain a running total that would allow it to meet requests for updates between publications of the survey.

It should be noted too that the data supplied is of the numbers of certificates - the individual organizations which hold certificates are not identified. Therefore, ISO/CS cannot satisfy requests for lists of named certified organizations in a particular country or business sector.