2019 was a year of considerations. An important one, which coincided with Accredia’s 10 years of activity. Years of intense work and shared commitment, in which accreditation has seen the recognition of its role in many different economic sectors grow significantly.
This is confirmed first of all by data presented at the annual meeting which was held on 25 June in live streaming due to coronavirus emergency. At the end of 2019, there were 1,862 accredited CABs, up by 5% compared to 2018 and by 55% in the last ten years. Of these, 1,250 are testing laboratories, 417 certification and inspection bodies, 195 the calibration laboratories.
An always positive growth trend in these 10 years, which will probably suffer serious consequences due to the Covid-19 outbreak and economic repercussions brought to all sectors.
However, the emergency has highlighted the importance of accreditation as a useful and effective tool for starting up again. It emerges clearly looking at accredited conformity assessments for international trade. Certified exporting companies are in fact more productive and have easier access to global production chains than non-certified exporting companies. This is what emerges in Istat’s 2020 Report on the competitiveness of productive sectors.
The confidence on the Quality Infrastructure
The continuous and constant growth has involved all three Departments of Accredia: Certification and Inspection, Testing Laboratories, Calibration Laboratories. Verification activities, carried out by its 579 assessors and experts, increased by 8% in the last year and 85% in the last ten, reaching 16,493. The highest number of accreditations concerns inspection bodies (+ 44%), medical laboratories and proficiency testing providers (respectively by 27% and 21%), followed by certification bodies of energy and information security management systems (+ 14% both).
Accredited certification and inspection bodies, now 417, recorded the strongest increase, + 14%. The sector most affected is the construction one – of which the main component is represented by the ISO 9001 quality management systems certifications (over 123 thousand), followed by the ISO 14001 environmental ones (over 24 thousand) and by the OHSAS 18001-ISO 45001 occupational health and safety (over 20 thousand).
Accredited testing laboratories represent the prevalent component (67%) of CABs accredited by Accredia, mainly belonging to the field of chemical and biological / microbiological analyzes. Calibration laboratories also confirm growth: at the end of 2019, they issued 166 thousand calibration certificates, with an increase of 11% on 2018 and 80% in 10 years: to support the constant process of technological innovation, reliable measures able to guarantee the market are increasingly necessary.
Relations with the PA and growing sectors
The recognition of Accredia’s competence also continues through the numerous agreements signed and renewed with the Public Administration. Proof of this is the close collaboration with the Istituto Superiore di Sanità for the definition of technical rules of accreditations to be issued in the context of an innovative sector, such as that of biobanks. Still in the field of new sectors, speaking in this case of cybersecurity, Accredia was the first in the world to start the accreditation of strategic vulnerability assessment tests to increase the resilience of IT structures.
Concerning “traditional” areas, Accredia continues to play an increasingly leading role in Public Procurement. From the consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport for the definition of a Single Regulation, to the e-learning training project addressed to contracting authorities and launched in collaboration with ITACA and UNI. Last but not least, the on-line Procurement Information Desk, the new section of Accredia’s website open to promote the reference to accredited conformity assessments and facilitate the correct drafting of calls for tender.