Integrated insight

How to get the most out of your certification programs ?

Many organizations turn to certification schemes to manage the key risks faced by their business, from quality to environmental performance, health & safety and information security. But to manage risks effectively, managers need to be able to understand and compare data. This can be challenging when programs are run by different entities, using different objectives, metrics and audit bodies.

We talk through how an integrated and centralized certification program can help organizations achieve real continuous improvement, as well as report on their progress to external stakeholders.

More risks, more reporting

In today’s fast-paced world, the number of risks facing businesses is skyrocketing. With so many complex emerging risks on the horizon, keeping one step ahead is a major challenge. Health and safety and environmental failings can have a major impact on companies’ reputation. IT outages and cyber-attacks can have a huge impact on business continuity. Regulations around anti-bribery and data protection are becoming more and more stringent. And the stakes have never been higher for quality, as product defects are quickly brought to light on social media. In light of these developments, a comprehensive risk management framework is indispensable.

Expectations for accurate and transparent reporting are also at an all-time high, with the Global Reporting Initiative and UN Sustainable Development Goals raising the bar in terms of reporting standards and KPIs.

Management systems are just part of the answer

To meet these expectations, managers need to obtain reliable, consistent and comparable data worldwide. This is where certification of management systems come in. Certification enables companies to align their compliance programs with international standards and receive independent, third-party evaluations. In doing so, it enables them to enhance their credibility. It can also improve data quality: the data collection process

In theory, having a shared management system worldwide enables a company to have a global view of risk. In practice, it can fall short. The reason: data is often collected in different formats, and certification bodies present their audit reports in different ways. This makes identifying accurate global figures extremely difficult when it comes time to write an annual report or dedicated sustainability report. Indeed, 60% of companies cite data completeness, accuracy and availability as key challenges in their sustainability reporting. 1

Holistic risk management is the solution

Today’s ISO standards for QHSE and Enterprise Risks now share a High-Level Structure that facilitates running all management systems as a single, integrated program. This means companies can now adopt internationally recognized standards for all risks, and manage them holistically. Bureau Veritas offers one of the widest range of standards and accreditations of any certification body. In addition to the major QHSE risks, a range of Enterprise Risks can be incorporated into the integrated certification program. These include governance risks such as asset management and bribery, and operational risks such as information security and business continuity.

Centralizing a certification program ensures companies have reliable data to accurately report to stakeholders on their progress. It also helps the company develop a culture of continuous improvement that leads to greater consistency, visibility, control, cost optimization and organizational improvement over time. By providing the same level of auditor expertise in every country, centralization helps ensure consistent service quality. Visibility of company-wide management processes and data equips global headquarters with actionable insights on costs, suppliers, audits, planning and follow-up, leading to better QHSE decision-making.

Integrated certification also leads to much greater control of management systems across sites. This translates into less risk of supplier non-compliance at the local level, resulting in fewer program delays and costly product recalls. Hiring a single global certification body reduces spending internally and externally by requiring fewer auditor man days and improving internal teams’ efficiency. And finally, the holistic approach leads to numerous organizational improvements by enhancing a company’s ability to track progress, identify problem areas and share best practices. It stabilizes the organization and helps integrate new companies into an established framework.

An experienced partner for global certification

Bureau Veritas has longstanding experience in certification of integrated management systems, working with Fortune 500 companies and smaller organizations throughout the world.

We use a centralized project management system designed to meet the specific needs of our customers. Our 7,500+ auditors—more than any other certification body—have helped certify more than 90,000 companies in diverse industries such as aerospace, automotive, financial services, food, oil & gas, power & utilities, and retail & consumer goods. Our presence in more than 100 countries worldwide makes us a truly global partner.

As a result, when you compare your audit data from your sites around the world, you gain a holistic view and valuable insights to manage risk effectively and inform your stakeholders.

  1. Source: EY