IAF Logo
Roles and Benefits

Role of IAF

  • Ensure that its Accreditation Body Members only accredit bodies that are competent to do the work they undertake and are not subject to conflicts of interest.
  • Maintaining the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) among Accreditation Body Member signatories, which reduces risk to businesses and their customers by ensuring that an accredited certificate or validation/verification statement may be relied upon anywhere in the world.
  • Working to find the most effective way of achieving a single system that will allow companies with an accredited conformity assessment certificate or validation/verification statement in one part of the world to have that certificate or validation/verification statement recognised elsewhere in the world.
  • Eliminating the need for suppliers of products or services to be certified in each country where they sell their products or services. Certified once – accepted everywhere.
  • Promoting accreditation as an effective mechanism for providing confidence in goods and services, which is essential to global trade facilitation.

MLA Benefits

The purpose of the IAF MLA is to ensure mutual recognition of accredited certification and validation/verification statements between signatories to the MLA, and subsequently acceptance of accredited certification and validation/verification statements in many markets based on one accreditation.

Standards and accreditation can be a significant asset in the public sector toolkit to meet policy objectives. Public Sector Assurance showcases how accredited conformity assessment is used by central and local governments and regulators to deliver positive benefits, by providing case studies from around the world in key policy areas demonstrating how different tools are able to deliver results.

For Government

The IAF MLA provides governments with a credible and robust framework on which to further develop and enhance government-to-government bilateral and multilateral international trade agreements. The long-term aim is the fully accepted use and recognition, by both public and private industries, of accredited conformity assessment, including certificates and validation/verification statements from other countries. In this way, the free-trade goal of “accredited once, accepted everywhere” can be realized.

For Regulators

The IAF MLA represents an internationally recognised ‘stamp of approval’ to demonstrate compliance against agreed standards and requirements. Risk is consequently minimised, as decisions are based on reliable conformity assessment results. Many specifiers, such as government agencies, have recognised the importance of credible accreditation programs that are developed against internationally recognised standards. Accreditation and the IAF MLA help regulators meet their own legislated responsibilities by providing a globally recognised system to accept accredited certification, validation and verification.

This website, jointly developed by global quality infrastructure partners, showcases how accredited conformity assessment is used around the world by businesses of all sizes and sectors to deliver positive benefits. This site includes case studies, research papers, and supporting materials to illustrate the value of adopting accredited standards. The examples published on the site cite tangible financial data to illustrate cost savings achieved whether through resource efficiencies or meeting regulation(s) at lower cost, the value of accessing new markets, or savings achieved through recognition from organisations such as insurers, regulators or purchasers.

For Business

The IAF MLA provides businesses that are procuring products and services with greater confidence in their consistency of quality. Businesses can therefore select suppliers from further afield in the knowledge that they will receive products and services that conform to recognised standards.

For Manufacturers

Having products assessed and certified as conforming to a particular standard allows manufacturers and service providers to distinguish themselves from less reputable suppliers, thereby creating a competitive advantage.
The IAF MLA ensures that standards, specifications and conformity assessment methods are the same, allowing one certificate or validation/verification statement to be recognised around the world. This lowers the cost of accredited certification, and validation and verification, and reduces the risk of products or services being rejected by international trading partners.

For Consumers

Consumer confidence can be gained from goods or services that bear a mark or carry a certificate of conformity. The IAF MLA ensures that such goods and services placed on the market, from whichever country of origin, meet standards of quality and safety, or environmental and social responsibility.