Delivering Sustainability Assurance with accredited conformity assessment

July 28, 2023

Delivering sustainability assurance through effective standards and accredited conformity assessment will be key to the wide range of vital sustainability and ESG targets.

IAF, ISEAL, UNDP and the Conformity Assessment Body Associations IIOC, IQNET and TIC Council, have come together in this Joint Statement to explain the role accredited conformity assessment plays in this vital work. Regardless of whether improved sustainability performance and reporting is a regulatory or legislative requirement or voluntary, accredited conformity assessment has a wide range of tools to help.

Whilst the range of schemes, standards and requirements are growing at a vastly accelerated rate today, it should be noted that such tools have been delivered for many years, decades in fact. The Environmental Management System standard ISO 14001 was first published in 1993 and today there are over 420,000 accredited certificates across over 600,000 sites; the energy management standard ISO 50001 – a newer standard first published in 2001 – has over 20,000 accredited certificates covering almost 55,000 sites. (Source: ISO Survey of management system standard certifications).

These two examples, demonstrate the longevity and volume of work carried out to support businesses, government and other organisations as they strive for improving sustainability performance. All of this is delivered by a system carefully constructed and managed to deliver confidence in the outcomes. For example, the competency of the auditors, assessors, validators and verifiers carrying out the crucial work, is carefully managed, monitored and evaluated, with tools such as evaluations and testing used to ensure the core element of competence helps deliver trust. This is turn leads to trust in the results of the auditing, as stated in the Joint Statement, ‘supporting trust in the sustainability promoting confidence in sustainable products, practices, organizations and services.’

This Joint Statement builds on two other recent documents.


On 14 July 2023, IAF published ‘Corporate Sustainability Information‘. This position paper explores how accredited conformity assessment plays a vital role in organisation’s sustainability/ESG reporting


In April 2023, IIOC published Assuring ESG Efforts Improve Sustainability and Business Performancehighlighting how IIOC members can help businesses on their journey to improved sustainability.

Vitally, the paper discusses how improved sustainability is a key contributor to overall business performance. This addresses one of the key issues raised from IIOC research amongst 2000 sustainability professionals in businesses, that businesses have so many priorities, sustainability is battling for a place at the top of the corporate agenda.