For an accreditation body to be completely effective, it should be integrated into the global accreditation infrastructure. This worldwide infrastructure operates through two organisations: the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), which are in turn supported by regional organisations (America, Asia/Pacific, etc.). The regional organisation in Europe is the European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) which ENAC has belonged to since its foundation more than 20 years ago.
The decisions of these organisations determine the criteria to be applied by ENAC and its opposite numbers in other countries. For this reason it is essential for Spain to have a strong presence in each of these organisations. To this end ENAC plays an extraordinarily active role in these organisations, regularly participating on all of its committees. ENAC is currently chairing one of their committees and forms part of the Executive Committee of the EA.
Within these organisations, international agreements have been established based on the mutual recognition of certificates and reports issued by accredited bodies, facilitating trade and creating an environment that facilitates the achievement of the ultimate goal: “accredited once, accepted everywhere”.
ENAC is a signatory of all international agreements of the EA, ILAC and IAF. This means that a report or certificate issued under ENAC accreditation will be recognised by the other signatories across the world. In this way these agreements act as an international passport to trade.
If accreditation were to operate as a purely national system, it would reinforce the barriers to trade, but the existence of the international system in practice makes its an effective passport to imports and exports. The international accreditation system strengthens world trade by making the declarations of compliance with the technical requisites specified in Spain on Spanish exports accepted across the world in the same way that imports are accepted in Spain.
The infrastructure provided by accreditation thereby facilitates the international acceptance of the products marketed. So by making use of accredited activities, the various economic operators can show that their products meet market requirements and market operators, in turn, use these products with peace of mind. This system also allows governments to regulate products with the knowledge that the market will have the means to meet both non-regulatory and regulatory requirements in a transparent way.
Recognition of accreditation in the private setting
In addition, thanks to these international agreements, accreditation is required by organisations in different countries that have established industry-wide assessment schemes, providing major international recognition to Spanish companies and products which have the backing of accredited certificates or reports.
Additionally, some organisations with a major influence on purchasing decisions (industrial associations, non-government organisations, technical centres, consumer organisations, etc.), have established this type of scheme, which are therefore a de facto requirement to access certain markets.
These are some examples of this type of scheme in which ENAC is one of the recognised accreditation bodies.
- PTCRB certification for mobile devices administered by the International Wireless Association (CTIA).
- WIMAX certification for mobile devices administered by WiMAX Forum.
- IEC - IECEE, certification scheme for electronic equipment and components from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
- LOVAG (Low Voltage Agreement Group) certification, safety, functionality and quality scheme for low voltage products.
- Certification of the chain of custody and of sustainable forest management, for the authorisation of the PEFC system Spain.
- EMVCo scheme formed by the main payment methods (VISA, MasterCard, JCB, AMEX) for the security, functionality and interoperability of banking transactions carried out with smart cards.
- Common Criteria certification, a software and hardware security scheme in the IT industry.
- RADMAC (Radiators Mutual Acceptance of Certification) scheme, initiative between national certification bodies for domestic radiators.
- BRC (British Retail Consortium) certification for British distribution of a wide range of agrifood products, for consumption, packs and packaging, logistics, etc.
- IFS, GlobalGAP, QS certifications, schemes established by the main European distribution groups in the agrifood sector.
- IAQG (International Aerospace Quality Group) certification, scheme established in the aerospace industry.
- Energy Star scheme established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy on the energy efficiency of products.
- Certification of the new vehicle traffic service, scheme established by ANFAC and the Spanish Ports Authority to meet the needs of the port service, in which a high percentage of export is by sea.
- FIFA RECOMMENDED mark, scheme established by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association to guarantee the quality of artificial turf fields.
- WaterSense scheme, established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for water-saving products.
- NADCAP, independent certification programme for aerospace engineering, defence and related industries.