Six new accreditation programmes to ensure businesses meet standards

SINGAPORE – Six new accreditation programmes have been developed in the past year to ensure businesses in growth sectors meet quality standards.

These programmes cover areas such as infrastructure, food, info-communication technology and sustainability practices.

They were announced at a media briefing on Thursday (Aug 29) by Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Accreditation Council, which the agency oversees.

The move to have new programmes is part of the council’s mandate to strengthen its accreditation services to support industry needs and build trust in Singapore’s products and services.

One of the most recent accreditation programmes helps the aviation industry to reduce carbon emissions and be more sustainable. The council is working with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore so that airlines that fly in and out of Singapore will meet certain carbon emission requirements within a set time frame.

Another programme concerns organic produce that is grown in urban environments and ensures the authenticity of products that are marketed as organic.

Council chairman Renny Yeo said: “The demand for organic products is growing and there will be those who claim their products are organic when they are not. This programme was started to ensure the organic products meet certain standards such as not using too much pollutants in the farming process.”

He added that while standards for organic products exist worldwide, they are usually for produce grown on a large scale in farms and not in urban areas, where produce can be grown by vertical farming with different chemicals and faces higher risk of cross-contamination.

“With each new area that emerges, accreditation has to come in to ensure things are tested and certified. We also have to look at industry needs, such as the factors that are specific to our environment,” he said.

The council has also developed a certification programme to combat cybersecurity issues in industrial automation equipment.

“This is a growing need in the region when companies move towards industry 4.0 and they need to know their data in these machines will be protected,” Mr Yeo said.

The other new accreditation programmes deal with information security management, sustainable products and structural steelworks fabrications.

The council has 53 accreditation programmes in total. It also has 20 mutual recognition arrangements with 90 economies, such that companies do not need to re-test their products for certification when they market to these other countries.

Mr Yeo noted: “This helps small and medium-sized enterprises especially to save time and costs when going overseas. They might be unknown companies but when they carry the Singapore brand, there is the mark of quality, trust and efficiency and it can help them to export their products.”

Certification body Bureau Veritas said it has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of certification reports issued in Singapore. The body gave out 28,000 certifications in 2017, 38,000 in 2018 and is projected to exceed 40,000 this year.

The reports are all accredited by the council as well.

Its certifications cover industries such as oil and gas, infrastructure, consumer goods, transport and chemicals.

Enterprise Singapore director-general of quality and excellence Choy Sauw Kook added: “It is vital that regulators and industry players continue to work with the council to support the development of testing, inspection and certification services in rapidly emerging areas.”

Some of these emerging areas include the digital economy and food safety, with new technology used in consumer products and agriculture.

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