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What does certification involve?

What does certification involve?

Two framed AENOR certificates


Certification is the action carried out by an independent body, which manifests that an organisation, product, process or service meets the requirements defined in certain standards or technical specifications. Certification is intended for any type of company, irrespective of size, location or activity. These do not necessarily have to be large companies and certification may even be more useful for SMEs that are not so well known on the market, as it is possible that these types of companies will have a greater need to gain the trust of interest groups. Although in some cases it is an essential requirement in order to sell, whether due to legal considerations, or because a product's shoppers always request it, it is an entirely voluntary process.


Certification is the colloquial term used to refer to what is technically called a "conformity assessment". A conformity assessment is any assessment that is performed in order to determine whether or not a product, process or management system complies with certain requirements. In addition to certification, there are also other types of assessments that establish conformity or that provide evidence or vouch for the accuracy of something in a broader sense.

Thus,verification of conformity involves checking that products conform to national and international standards. Certification also helps importers and exporters understand the need for compliance and the advantages of it.

Similarly, inspections are intended for organisations that wish to demonstrate responsibility by ensuring that their equipment, products and services comply with essential quality, safety, environmental and social responsibility requirements (which may be of a mandatory or voluntary nature, or based on the company's own systems, standards or needs). Conformity assessments often require that tests be performed in order to monitor and self-regulate products that are subject to any type of certification. The most advanced analytical methodologies are used to perform physicochemical, microbiological and sensory analysis of food and hygiene products, cosmetics and detergents (among others).

As well as providing certification and widespread assessment services, AENOR is also involved in innovation on an ongoing basis in order to develop schemes in response to new business requirements. Thus, AENOR marks prove this 'certification' andconstitute a distinguishing factor that gives confidence in the market, improving the image of the products and services offered, and building trust among customers and consumers.

The AENOR team comprises more than 900 specialist auditors from all economic and industrial sectors and is able to tackle and manage global certification, verification, inspection and training projects in any geographical area. AENOR has permanent delegations in 12 countries, chiefly in South America and Europe. In Spain, AENOR has delegations in all Autonomous Communities via its 19 offices. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Representation of the departments of certification, quality, energy, R&D&I, environment, risk and safety, Compliance and good g

AENOR offers more than 400 types of certifications within the main areas of the market. It also has the ability to anticipate new economic trends and establish the areas companies need to focus on and can therefore help them improve their competitive edge either through quality, respect for the environment, employment safety, demonstrating social responsibility and, above all, by improving the efficiency of business management processes.

The main assessment areas are:

  • Quality (ISO 9001, ISO/IEC 20000-1) ​
  • ​Environment (ISO 14001, ISO 14064…)
  • Risks and Safety (OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001…) ​
  • R&D&I (UNE 166002, IDI Projects…)
  • Energy Efficiency (ISO 50001, Suppliers of Energy Services EA 0055…)
  • Compliance and Good Governance (UNE 19601, ISO 37001…) ​

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Icons representing certification sectors

There are numerous horizontal assessments that can be applied to any organisation, irrespective of industry, size, etc. As is the case with certification of the quality management system under ISO 9001, certification of the environmental system under ISO 14001, etc.

Furthermore, different industries have developed standards that can specifically be applied to their area of activity in response to the requirements of each industry. This includes industries that are important to the Spanish economy such as the food, energy, construction, civil works, transport, logistics, healthcare and social services industries. 

The primary advantage of these assessments is to facilitate market access. In some cases assessment facilitates the sale transaction and is also a basic requirement in order to be able to enter certain markets, either for legal reasons or because the purchasers of the product require it.

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