New GHG accreditation programme launched to improve credibility

29th March 2013 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

The South African National Accredita- tion System (SANAS) launched an accreditation programme last month for greenhouse gases (GHGs) validation and/or verification bodies (V/VBs), in accordance with International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards, to ensure that GHG declarations of businesses in South Africa are credible.

Stakeholders who are involved in GHG emissions quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification, as well as removals, attended the launch of the programme for the V/VBs.

“The launch workshop was used to roll out the SANAS accreditation programme for the V/VBs for GHG validation. The workshop informed the stakeholders, including the departments of Environmental Affairs, Energy, Science and Technology, and Trade and Industry, as well as the National Treasury, various JSE-listed companies and V/VBs, that SANAS is ready to accredit V/VBs.

“The expectation was that organisations which publish their GHG profile will publish future V/VB statements that have been issued by SANAS-accredited V/VBs,” says SANAS senior manager of strategy and development Elsabe Steyn.

She points out that GHG validation and verification is the independent and systematic evaluation of an organisation’s declaration of its GHG emissions or GHG projects against particular validation and verification criteria by a GHG V/VB.
Government or a voluntary reporting initiative like the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) establish policies or requirements for reducing GHG, Steyn explains, adding that SANAS accreditation will provide V/VBs with third-party attestation and recognise the technical competence of a V/VB that performs valida- tions and verifications in terms of GHG-reduction-policy criteria.

“Through accredita- tion, the user of the GHG declaration will have confidence in the result and statement issued by the accredited V/VB because the user will know that the V/VB is technically competent. Accreditation by SANAS brings credibility and instills confidence in the results and the statement issued by the V/VB,” she says.

Steyn explains that the accreditation standard is the set of minimum requirements that a conformity assessment body such as a V/VB needs to fulfil to be recognised the level of technical competence.

Steyn states that the accreditation process to which SANAS subjects a conformity assess- ment body (CAB) is necessary to establish the extent to which a CAB has fulfilled the minimum accreditation requirements of the ISO 14065 standard.

The process includes an application, a document review, an initial assessment and yearly surveillance.

“The CAB details the V/VB organisation and the resources available to fulfil the required validation and verification function. Through a document review, SANAS establishes how the V/VB meets the ISO 14065 requirements. If the ISO 14065 requirements are fully covered by the documentation of the V/VB management system, SANAS visits the V/VB to ascertain the effective and efficient implementation of the documented management system. If the management system is effectively implemented, accreditation is recommended,” she says.

Steyn notes, however, that while a V/VB remains accredited, yearly surveillance will be undertaken to verify whether the V/VB has maintained its technical competences.

She adds that the party making the GHG assertion is responsible for conforming with the requirements of the relevant standard or GHG programme.

“The V/VBs are responsible for completing an objective assessment and providing a validation or verification statement based on evidence concerning the responsible party’s GHG assertion,” says Steyn, adding that SANAS is responsible for third-party attestation of the technical competence of the V/VB to perform the task for which it has obtained accreditation.

“Accreditation has proved to reduce the risk and enhance public confidence in the results that are produced by accredited CABs,” Steyn concludes.