On June 9, 2021, ANAB joined accreditation bodies around the world to celebrate World Accreditation Day. The theme of this year’s installment of the annual celebration was “Supporting the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.” These goals, otherwise known as SDGs, include combating climate change and promoting sustainable agriculture, water, energy, ecosystems, and marine resources. These targets support a vision of a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous world.
Greenhouse Gas Validation/Verification Body Accreditation
Since 2008, ANAB’s Accreditation Program for Greenhouse Gas Validation/Verification Bodies (VVB) has supported voluntary and regulatory frameworks focused on battling climate change. These GHG programs have trusted ANAB’s accreditation to ensure organizations validating and verifying emissions under their systems do so ethically and accurately. ANAB built its accreditation program around the requirements of ISO 14065:2013, Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation and other forms of recognition.
With this increased focus on SDGs, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed various standards addressing different pathways to achieving these goals and expanded the scope of current standards. For example, ISO 14065 has expanded to address more than just assurance on greenhouse gas emissions. The revised standard, ISO 14065:2020, General principles and requirements for bodies validating and verifying environmental information, focuses on assurance of a variety of environmental information, including water footprint, carbon footprint of product, sustainability reports, and financial mechanisms supporting environmental projects.
ISO also has developed process standards for assuring environmental information such as claims related to environmental labels and declarations (ISO 14020), carbon footprint of product (ISO 14067), environmental and sustainability reporting (ISO 14016), water information (ISO 14064), and green finance (ISO 14030). These standards will provide requirements for carrying out the processes addressed by the accreditation standard, ISO 14065:2020.
Conformance to ISO 17029:2019 for Validation/Verification Bodies
As ANAB’s accreditation program transitions to accrediting to the new ISO 14065, the program also will require accredited bodies conform to ISO 17029:2019, General principles and requirements for validation and verification bodies. This standard outlines non-sector-specific requirements for performing validations and verifications. Users can apply ISO 17029 to a variety of sectors from medical devices to information technology to energy management. ISO 14065 takes these general requirements and provides further detail related to validating and verifying environmental information specifically. As the new ISO 14065 directly references ISO 17029 for many of its provision, ISO 17029 has become indispensable for its application.
ANAB Expanding Accreditation Offerings to Serve New Types of Environmental Information
ISO developed these new process standards and expanded the scope of ISO 14065 in response to market need for statements on these new types of environmental information. A 2020 survey suggested 64% of consumers would think more positively about a brand that could demonstrate lowered carbon footprints of products. Another study suggests over 60% of consumers value brands that are transparent about their operations. And consumers in Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, and Korea are leading the charge in demanding transparency by applying pressure on companies to provide reports on their carbon and water footprints.
One voluntary framework, CDP, under which VVBs perform assurance on environmental statements, considers verification of sustainability reporting and water footprint information in how it rates companies. These companies choose to undergo verification to improve market position and to use the verified information to better manage their processes.
As this expansion unfolds, ANAB is working to expand its accreditation offerings to accredit validation and verification of these new types of environmental information. ANAB seeks feedback from scheme owners and assurance providers on how ANAB can meet demands for accreditation, boosting the legitimacy of environmental claims. ANAB already has embarked on building widespread competence around these new standards, offering a self-paced, online training on ISO 17029:2019 and a soon-to-arrive online training on the new ISO 14065:2020.