Accreditation: Underpinning environmental performance
The need to measure environmental performance or limit environmental impact is a key focus for many organisations. Accredited testing, calibration, inspection and certification provide consumers, suppliers, purchasers and specifiers with assurance about environmental-related claims made. These services also provide Government and Regulators with reliable evidence of compliance.
Samples, products, services, or management systems can be evaluated against specified requirements by laboratories, certification bodies, and inspection bodies (collectively known as conformity assessment bodies). Accreditation is the independent evaluation of these conformity assessment bodies against recognised standards to carry out specific activities to ensure their integrity, impartiality and competence.
UKAS accredits environmental testing laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025; General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories against a wide range of scopes. These scopes include the environmental analysis of soils and contaminated land, drinking water, waste water, effluents and leachates, stack emissions and atmospheric pollutants.
The Environment Agency policy requires all laboratories submitting results for regulatory purposes, to be accredited to the MCERTS standard.
SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, requires operators to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 to perform environmental analysis under the Measurement Assurance and Certification Scotland scheme (MACS).
Laboratories are also accredited for testing scopes that have an environmental impact such as noise testing, product packaging, asbestos, legionella, geotechnical, fuels and oils.
Inspection bodies are accredited to ISO/IEC 17020: Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection for activities that have an environmental impact including plant health inspection, asbestos surveying and legionella risk assessments.
UKAS accredits Proficiency Testing (PT) Providers for a range of environmentally related activities including drinking water, effluent, waste water, contaminated Land, and gas mixtures.
UKAS accredits Reference Material Producers (RMP) to ISO Guide 34 (currently in the process of being replaced by ISO 17034) for a number of materials including waters, fuels and their by-products, soils and sediments.
UKAS accredits certification bodies to provide certification to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification (EMS), and Energy Management Systems (EnMS) to ISO 50001.
Accreditation is also provided for the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), Waste Management and Green Deal assessors and installers.
UKAS accredits organisations to provide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) verification. Accreditation plays a central role in the monitoring of GHG emissions. The European Union Emissions Trading System, EU ETS, is the cornerstone of the European Union’s drive to reduce emissions. Businesses must monitor and report their EU ETS emissions for each year and the emission report must be checked by an accredited verifier. Further information is available here.