Despite Europe having acquired the most number of certifications, China is the leading country for ISO 9001 compliance, with a total of 257,076 certifications in the year 2009 alone.
According to the ISO survey, China owns the highest number in the list of 10 countries for ISO 9001 certificates, with Italy coming in second having 130,066 certificates, or just a little above 50 percent of China’s overall amount.
Previous years have witnessed China’s quick rise to the top; as early as 2000, China achieved Number One status moving up from third position. Other countries have remained constant: Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Others, like the Republic of Korea, are now experiencing a historic low after being recognized earlier as one of the top achievers; while the Czech Republic has completely disappeared from the list.
ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems. This translates to an assurance that an establishment or institution has passed quality requirements and to be able to demonstrate that they are managing their business so as to achieve consistent quality goods and services. The fact that China continues to hold the topmost position is an affirmation that the country is ramping up its quality standards.
Close inspection of the annual growth chart will reveal a distinctly erratic rise and fall in ISO 14001 issuances. In recent years, however, the numbers have seemed to stabilize; in 2008, figures display a total of 34,243 certifications as compared to the year 2009’s subtle increase at 34,334. The leading country in terms of growth is, unsurprisingly, China.
Currently, a new ISO/ITC handbook/CD package has been created to make ISO 14001 guidelines more comprehensible. Released at the start of the year 2011, its aim is to provide “an easy-to-use checklist for small business”, so that SMEs can achieve ISO 14001 certified status more quickly and more conveniently. It highlights the varying benefits of the certification, particularly in profitability and enhancing one’s corporate image. This could be ISO’s way of addressing the need to further raise environmental awareness.
More information can be found at ISO Survey of Certifications – 2009 here
Benchmarking Researcher, BPIR.com