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Frequently Asked Questions

General


What is conformity assessment?

Conformity assessment is defined as any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled. (As defined in ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996)

A standard is a technical expression of how to make a product safe, efficient, and compatible with others. But standards are just good ideas unless products, processes, systems and personnel conform to them. Conformity assessment provides assurance to consumers by increasing consumer confidence when personnel, products, systems, processes or services are evaluated against the requirements of a voluntary standard.


What is accreditation?

Accreditation denotes both a status and process. As a status it denotes conformity to a specific standard as set forth by an accrediting agency and as a process it shows a commitment to continuous improvement. Accreditation means that the certification body meets the requirements of a national or an international standard as assessed by an accrediting agency.


What is the difference between the terms "accreditation" and "certification"?

Certification of products, personnel, or management systems like ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 demonstrates conformity to the requirements of a standard. Accreditation is the procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks. Both accreditation and certification use criteria and procedures to implement such activities.

Definition of these terms is given in ISO Guide 2 may provide more clarification

Para 12.11 Accreditation: Procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks.

Para 15.1.2 Certification: Procedure by which a third party gives written assurance that a product, process or service conforms to specified requirements


What does accreditation cover?

The scope of the accreditation is determined by the standard to which the certification body is accredited. In general, the accreditation standard covers aspects of governance, disclosure, fairness to candidates, non-discrimination, and disclosure.


Is accreditation mandatory?

Accreditation by ANSI is completely voluntary; certification bodies are not required to participate. Yet, accreditation by ANSI under its consensus and due process-based system provides certification bodies with an exemplary level of credibility, integrity and trust.


Does recognition of ANSI’s conformity assessment programs extend beyond the United States?

Yes. The Institute’s conformity assessment policy activities are widely recognized and promote the global acceptance of U.S. products, services and personnel by helping to reduce duplicative marking requirements and certification costs and by helping to ensure a level playing field. These accredited certification programs help to open international markets and reduce trade barriers for certified products. They attest to a supplier’s credibility and commitment to quality. ANSI accreditation also helps government agencies fulfill their mandate to ensure public safety and health, thus easing the need for the government’s monitoring of product certifiers.


Does a CB need to be an ANSI member to apply for ANSI accreditation?

No, a CB does not need to be an ANSI member to apply for ANSI accreditation. More specifically, the ISO/IEC 17011 requirements for accreditation bodies preclude accreditation being conditional upon membership in any organization or group. The boundary of this impartiality between ANSI Accreditation Services and the membership of the Institute is manifested in policy BoD 412 confirmed by the ANSI Board of Directors.

What is the general timeframe to complete the ANSI accreditation process?

The time that is required to complete the ANSI accreditation process depends on the accreditation sought and other factors. On an average, a certification body can meet the requirements of ANSI accreditation in 12 to 24 months.

Greenhouse Gas Validation/Verification Body (V/VB)


What is the purpose of becoming a Greenhouse Gas Validation/Verification Body (V/VB)?

The purpose of becoming an ANSI Accredited V/VB is to demonstrate conformance with ISO 14065:2007, Greenhouse gases - Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition.

The purpose of GHG validation or verification accreditation is to give confidence to parties that rely upon a GHG assertion or claim (for example, regulators or investors) that the V/VBs providing the declarations are competent to do so, and have systems in place to manage impartiality and to provide the required level of assurance on a consistent basis.

ISO 14065 provides requirements for bodies that undertake GHG validation or verification using ISO 14064 or other relevant standards or specifications. The objectives of the ISO 14064 and ISO 14065 standards are to:

  • develop flexible, regime-neutral tools for use in voluntary or regulatory GHG schemes;
  • promote and harmonize best practice;
  • support the environmental integrity of GHG assertions;
  • assist organizations to manage GHG-related opportunities and risks, and
  • support the development of GHG programs and markets.

Currently ANSI provides accreditation to V/VBs that seek to provide verification for reporters and projects for the following GHG programs:


How do I learn more about how to become a V/VB?

Organizations interested in developing validation/verification programs can find more information through the following sources in addition to the GHG program links provided above (this is not intended to provide a complete list of references nor does it imply ANSI endorsement of the services provided by the organizations listed below):


What is the cost to become an ANSI Accredited GHG V/VB

Please see GHG-PR-722: Fees – GHG Program.


What steps does the accreditation process follow and how long does it take to achieve accreditation?

 The detailed steps of accreditation are listed HERE.

The amount of time that it takes for a V/VB to complete the accreditation process is dependent on a number of factors such as:

  • Scope of validation/verification services for which the applicant body seeks accreditation.
  • The V/VB's understanding and implementation of the requirements of ISO 14065:2007, ISO 14064-3:2006, as well as the requirements of the relevant GHG protocols or registries for which the applicant seeks accreditation.

On average, the process will take approximately one year to complete. However, many organizations achieve accreditation in less than six months time.

 The accreditation process consists of the following steps.


Is a witness assessment required for accreditation and is a V/VB applying for ANSI Accreditation required to complete a witness assessment for each scope that it has applied for?

A witness assessment (ANSI observation of V/VB carrying out third-party validation/verification of GHG assertion) is required as a component of the accreditation process. The purpose of the witness assessment is to determine that the V/VB understands and is implementing its verification procedures as defined by ISO 14065:2007, ISO 14064-3:2006, the relevant GHG program or registry requirements, as well as the applicant's own internal procedures and processes for conducting GHG validation/verification.

A witness assessment for project verification will not serve as satisfactory completion of a witness assessment for the purposes of attaining verification as a inventory verifier and vice versa. In addition, for project validation and verification, multiple witness assessments may be required depending on the scope of the application. Witnesses for project validation will count toward accreditation for project verification.

 For more information, please see GHG-PR-706: ANSI GHG Validation and Verification Body Accreditation Scoping Policy.

Questions can be addressed to:

Ann Howard
Director, Environmental Accreditation Programs
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
1899 L Street NW, 11th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202.331.3620
ahoward@ansi.org

Personnel Credentialing

What is the difference between Certification and Certificate?

Certification and certificate are distinct terms, yet they are often used synonymously. Certification is a more comprehensive and necessarily includes an assessment of an individual's knowledge, skills, and abilities based on a body of knowledge pertaining to a profession or occupation. In comparison, certificate programs emphasize learning events and coursework completion. Certification is valid for a specific time period and involves recertification at the expiry of the stated period. Certificates are generally issued for life!


Can a certification body offer training/educational programs?

A certification body can offer training/educational programs, however, it needs to demonstrate that there are clear firewalls between training and certification.


Can a new certification program apply for ANSI accreditation?

There is no ANSI policy that prevents a new certification program from applying for ANSI accreditation. However, in order to demonstrate that the examinations are fair, valid, and reliable, the certification body needs to have adequate data collected from test takers to conduct statistical analyses.


If a non-conformity is received, then what is the time frame to close them?

All accredited CBs must post a corrective action plan within 30 days and close the non-conformity within 90 days.


What happens if a CB has applied for accreditation for five certification programs (schemes) and two of them have non-conformities?

The certification body shall be accredited only when all the non-conformities relating are closed. In the above case, if two certification schemes have non-conformities, then the certification body will not be accredited. One way to address this issue is through scope reduction/expansion.


Whom do I contact for more information?

Vijay Krishna, Director, Credentialing Programs
Phone: 202.331.3614
vkrishna@ansi.org

Product Certification


What is product certification?

Certification attests that a product meets specified standards—especially for quality or safety and health issues.

A certification mark provides unique credibility when granted by an independent third party that is accredited under a globally-recognized process. A certification mark is designed to resemble the ANSI logo, but carries a distinct message that a product or personnel certification program has been accredited by ANSI.


How is ANSI involved in assessing the conformity of products to standards?

The Institute does not itself conduct tests or technical evaluations of products, systems or services, rather, ANSI provides accreditation services.

ANSI accreditation recognizes the competence of bodies to carry out product or personnel certification in accordance with requirements defined in International Standards. ANSI administers more than 30 distinct product accreditation program scopes — ranging from appliances and bottled water to plumbing products and fresh produce.


What are the advantages for product certification programs that are accredited by ANSI?

Ultimately, the marketplace and customers of this service measure the beneficial value of accreditation.

However, ANSI provides accreditation for product certification programs in accordance with international guidelines (ISO/IEC Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems). ANSI is also involved in several international and regional arrangements for mutual recognition of equivalency across boundaries. As a result, many of the ANSI-accredited certification programs are recognized as equivalent to commensurate programs around the world.

Businesses whose products earn a certification mark from a product certification program that has been accredited by ANSI will discover that they have more freedom to compete in many markets around the world—often without the requirement for a duplicative test or mark. Doors open to new markets, products compete on a level playing field, and regulatory costs can be minimized.


Who recognizes ANSI’s accreditation program?

Domestically, ANSI is recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an accreditor of Telecommunication Certification Bodies by the National Voluntary Conformity Assessment System Education Program (NVCASE) in compliance with requirements of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Internationally, in accordance with phase II of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Telecommunication Equipment, ANSI has been recognized by Industry Canada as the accreditor of U.S. “certification bodies” for approving telecommunications equipment for compliance with Canadian requirements. Additionally, the U.S. has implemented the first phase of the agreement, which allows test results from approved U.S. labs to be considered as evidence of compliance, with three other APEC economies: Australia, Singapore and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).
 More information

ANSI is also recognized as an accreditor of bodies certifying fresh fruits and vegetables by the Euro-Retailer Produce Good Agricultural Practices.

As a member of the International Organization for Standaridization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and groups such as the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) and the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), ANSI pursues and actively promotes multilateral arrangements for such recognition.

How does my organization apply for accreditation?

The first step in the ANSI application procedure is submission of a letter of application by the certification body. The purpose is to enable ANSI to judge the eligibility of the certification program for accreditation. A comprehensive description of the application process can be found in the How to Apply section of this website.


How much will it cost my organization to get our certification program(s) accredited by ANSI?

The current application fee and daily rates can be found in PRO-PR-122: PRO Fee Schedule. All assessment fees are effort related and are dependent on the complexity of scope of accreditation being sought. Direct expenses, such as travel expenses, are charged at cost.


Whom do I contact for more information?

To submit the letter of application or for more information, please contact:

Mr. Reinaldo Figueiredo
Senior Director, Product/Process/Service Certification Accreditation
Phone: 202.331.3611
Email: rfigueir@ansi.org

Ms. Nikki Jackson
Director, Product Certification Accreditation
Phone: 202.331.3623
Email: njackson@ansi.org


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