Accredia / Certifications / Diffusion and effects of accredited certification among exporting companies

Diffusion and effects of accredited certification among exporting companies

Facts and Figures
23 December 2021

The data analysis of certified exporting companies in Italy, carried out by Istat in collaboration with Accredia, confirms the link between competitiveness in international markets and the certification issued by accredited bodies.

The enhancement of the Accredia databases, subject of the Agreement with Istat, has led to the creation of detailed analyzes on the diffusion, among exporting companies, of the management systems certified by accredited bodies accredited. The collaboration gave birth to the new Report “Diffusion of accredited certification of management systems among export companies” which updates and enriches the previous analyzes on the subject.

For a company, the accredited certification of a management system can represent a tool for monitoring the correctness of all stages of production, helping to ensure constant quality of products and services. Through the management systems, the participation of companies, as suppliers, in production chains spread over several countries is nurtured.

In the last three years of analysis (2017-2019) the share of certified companies out of the total of exporting companies has slightly increased, reaching 16% in 2019, for a total of about 20 thousand certified exporting companies.

Overall, in 2019, the value of goods exported by certified companies was around 240 billion euros, equal to 54% of the total exported value.

The sectors of economic activity in which management systems are most widespread, with percentages ranging from 42% to 54%, are all characterized by a high level of standardization. In particular, pharmaceutical chemistry and vehicle manufacturing are among the sectors that make the most of the accredited certification of management systems.

Certified companies are typically more structured and proportionally more present in the European market. This evidence, which has already emerged in the analysis of the diffusion of certification among exporting companies, linked to the company size, is also confirmed by analyzing the propensity to export by class of employees. The degree of international openness of companies, measured by the propensity to export, highlights a positive differential for those in possession of a certified management system, especially if large.

One of the possible explanations of the link between internationalization and certification is the involvement of certified exporting companies in global value chains. Accredited certification, as evidence of compliance with international production standards, qualifies companies as reliable suppliers. This is even more true in advanced markets such as, for example, the German one, where accredited certification is a qualification normally required of suppliers, be they domestic or international.

Certified companies are therefore more internationalized, but also more productive. In the last three years of analysis (2017 – 2019) a positive productivity differential (ratio between added value and employees of the exporting company) has always been verified between certified exporting companies and other exporters.

We verify on the 2019 data, as in the previous two years, that the higher productivity of the certificates grows as the company size decreases, reaching 22 thousand euros in micro enterprises. On the other hand, it is quite intuitive to imagine that large companies are already structured and tend to be more efficient than SMEs and micro enterprises, benefiting proportionally less from the benefits of a certified management system.

The productivity of exporting companies, listed by geographical macro-area, highlights the aforementioned differential regardless of the origin of the company.

Companies that deal with international markets on a daily basis must, more than others, equip themselves with differentiation tools that improve their positioning along the production chains. At the same time, with the accredited certification of management systems, they are able to optimize organizational processes and increase efficiency. Particularly SMEs, compared to large companies, benefit more from these instruments which facilitate penetration into international markets.