Management systems: the 6 leading certifications in 2019

Food safety, data protection, occupational health & safety… Organizations are integrating societal issues and using voluntary standards to effectively address them… to the extent of obtaining certification. This is one of the main conclusions of the ISO Survey 2019, an extensive survey of all management system certificates issued worldwide. And France is part of this trend.

And you, did you obtain a management system certification in 2019? If so, you are probably there in these figures. Each year, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) asks all certifying bodies to feedback their data, per country, on the 12 standards: ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), ISO/IEC 27001 (Information systems), ISO 22000 (Food safety), ISO 45001 (Occupational health & safety), ISO 13485 (Medical devices), ISO 50001 (Energy), ISO 22301 (Business continuity), ISO 20000-1 (Services), ISO 28000 (Supply chain security), ISO 37001 (Anti-bribery), ISO 39001 (Road traffic safety). Certifying bodies wishing to contribute pass on their figures, and here we present the results on the 6 leading certifications in 2019.

ISO 9001: quality, continued popularity

ISO 9001 is the most popular certification issued by certifying bodies and its international success was again evident in 2019. In one year the number of certificates rose from 878,664 to 883,521 across the world, amounting to a slight increase of 0.5%. Note that in 2019 – as with ISO 14001 – certification could only be based on the 2015 version of the standard. In 2018 the previous version (2008) was accepted up until 14 September. Quality management is still by far the most certified standard covering more than 1.2 million sites worldwide. With over 57,700 certified sites, France stays in 6th place after China (281,000), Italy (137,000), Germany (72,000), Japan (82,500) and Spain (59,000). France recorded slightly fewer certified sites than in 2018, but more active certificates. This shows that more customers requested certification, but for a smaller scope.

ISO 14001: environmental management appeals

After a sluggish period, ISO 14001 now continues to flourish in France. This voluntary standard dedicated to environmental management now gives rise to 6,402 certificates in France, an increase of 5% in one year, covering approximately 19,000 sites. This upward trend is also evident worldwide: 312,000 certificates in total in 2019 compared with 307,000 in 2018. In Japan, UK, Italy and Spain, numbers have fallen but Germany (+ 10%) and China (+ 15%) follow the same upward pattern. Among other noteworthy facts, South Korea now rank among the top 10 whereas the United States dips from 9th to 13th position in world rankings. India reported strong growth of 32% over one year, reflected in 2,000 additional certificates in the country! In terms of sectors, construction stays well ahead. A significant rise in services is noted (from 27 to 34% of certificates issued worldwide) compared with manufacturing/industry (down from 71 to 65%). Engineering services in particular now ranks among the top 5.

ISO/IEC 27001: in vogue

Digital data is of prime importance, information systems are advancing rapidly, and in parallel the need to protect them. Standard ISO / IEC 27001 helps organizations protect sensitive data, for example by putting in place measures to prevent piracy and ensuring GDPR compliance. But it is still a management system standard. It appears that French organizations are embracing the subject: in one year, the number of active certificates recorded by the ISO in the country jumped by 57% from 220 to 350. One certificate covers on average 3.5 sites. We also see growth at world level, with 36,300 active certificates, amounting to a 14% increase between 2018 and 2019.

ISO 45001: the occupational health & safety boom

Standard ISO 45001 has only been in existence since 2018, but the number of organizations which have adopted it in a short space of time – and even obtained certification – is evidence of the colossal expectations as regards occupational health & safety management. 12,000 organizations took the leap in 2018, and over 38,000 were recorded at the end of 2019, more than three times as many! This equates to organizations better prepared to cope with onslaughts such as COVID-19. In one year, the increase is particularly marked in France, with 94 certificates issued in 2018 and 524 in 2019. In the vast majority of cases, these certificates were issued by AFNOR Certification. In terms of certified sites, there are now 1,500 in France compared with 200 in the previous year (a ratio of one certificate per 2.9 sites). This strong growth should continue in 2020, for two reasons. Firstly, the context of the pandemic will increase interest in this type of standard, to help protect the health of employees and ensure business continuity. Secondly, due to the end of OHSAS 18001 which has until now been a key reference. The switch to ISO 45001 means that new certificates will be issued helping organizations adapt better to current challenges.

ISO 22301: a subject of key concern in these times

The 14 French organizations certified in 2019 for their business continuity management were good anticipators. Providing guidance on how to construct a business continuity plan (BCP), voluntary standard ISO 22301 is highly relevant to our global health context and the ensuing economic crisis… In 2020, at the height of the crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent lockdown, organizations without a BCP took a nose dive! In France, only 2 organizations and 20 sites held the certification at the end of 2018. A year later, the number of sites rose to 50 and doubtless the tumultuous events of 2020 are likely to trigger strong interest in this standard. Globally, the ISO Survey recorded around 1,700 valid certificates on 6,200 sites. These figures are up only slightly over the year, nevertheless indicating a lack of anticipation by organizations around these crucial matters.

ISO 13485: the calm before the storm?

Use of this standard dedicated to management of medical devices slowed slightly in France in 2019, with 1,046 certificates compared with 1,102 in 2018, and 1,594 sites (122 fewer). ISO 13485 should shortly pick up however, at least in Europe,with entry into effect in May 2021 of a new regulation on this subject, to prevent further scandals such as breast implants posing health risks. This is Regulation 2017/745. Initially scheduled for May 2020, enforcement of the regulation has been postponed by one year due to the health crisis. Professionals should nevertheless ensure that they deploy methods guaranteeing the safety of their products throughout their life cycle. By displaying ISO 13485 certification (2016 version, currently the most recent), they provide reassurance now for their customers about this capacity to manage risks.