Accreditation or Certification – What’s the Difference?

In everyday language the terms accreditation and certification are often used interchangeably. However, in the ‘conformity assessment industry,’ these terms have very different and specific meanings. In general terms:

  • “Accreditation” is the term used to describe an entity which is proven competent to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.
  • “Certification” relates to the work of the accredited entity in validating that all processes are in place to ensure ongoing conformance to the standard.

There are no ‘accredited’ entities in Australia that are competent to provide ‘certification’ to ISO 12647.

In order for any business in Australia to be accredited as meeting any ISO Standard, the company doing the auditing must be a “Certifying Third Party” (CAB) accredited with JAS-ANZ.

JAS-ANZ is the only Australian Government appointed accreditation body which is able to “accredit” other third party specialists (called CABs) to undertake “certification and accreditation.” JAS-ANZ accredits 58 CABs who in-turn certify some 50,000 organisations whose accreditation is recognised internationally.

Accredited CABs provide certification and inspection services to organisations. Common schemes that CABs certify are quality management systems (QMS) based on the ISO 9001 standard, and environmental management systems (EMS) based on the ISO 14001 standard.” [JAZ-ANZ web site: June 2008]

To date (June 2008) there are no JAZ-ANZ CABs which have accreditation for inspecting against ISO 12647. This means that no-one in Australia can give you formal “certification” to ISO 12647. Schemes are currently under development in the UK and Sweden to achieve these goals.

How do we validate our compliance in Australia?

What is available is a range of specialist industry third party providers each of whom have their own assessment systems which, when implemented and monitored correctly, produce results which comply with the same output parameters of ISO 12647-2.

Significant international commitment has been applied by these long-standing research and development organisations to the advancement of ISO, PSO, and GRACol.

Essentially, there is the TVI based method favoured by FOGRA and UGRA, or the G7 NPDC (Neutral Print Density Curve) method favoured by GRACol.

The various non-ISO audited schemes currently available in Australia include FOGRA, UGRA, GRACol.

These firms will then provide their own form of certification to their system.

These providers are not JAZ-ANZ certified, but instead provide a printing industry specific system which produces results that are compliant with ISO 12647 and what is of critical importance is that these ‘third party certifications’ are recognised and respected internationally across the world’s printing industry for their ISO compliant results.

It should be remembered also that some, mostly large companies with quality management certification and highly qualified staff can self comply with ISO 12647.

At best, printing firms could build a colour quality assurance system into their ISO 9001 procedures and have these procedures audited by a JAZ-ANZ CAB. This is probably as close or fine-tuned to formal ISO ‘certification’ as anyone can get to right now in the Australian printing industry – but is still not ISO 12647-2 Certification.