The facts about certification

Certification can be a useful tool to add credibility, by demonstrating that your product or service meets the expectations of your customers. For some industries, certification is a legal or contractual requirement.

ISO does not perform certification

At ISO, we develop International Standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, but we are not involved in their certification, and do not issue certificates. This is performed by external certification bodies, thus a company or organization cannot be certified by ISO.

However ISO's Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) has produced a number of standards related to the certification process, which are used by certification bodies. Read more about CASCO Standards.

Certification – the provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements.

Accreditation – the formal recognition by an independent body, generally known as an accreditation body, that a certification body operates according to international standards.

Choosing a certification body

When choosing a certification body, you should:

  • Evaluate several certification bodies.
  • Check if the certification body uses the relevant CASCO standard
  • Check if it is accredited. Accreditation is not compulsory, and non-accreditation does not necessarily mean it is not reputable, but it does provide independent confirmation of competence. To find an accredited certification body, contact the national accreditation body in your country or visit the International Accreditation Forum.

Displaying your certificate

Remember, when labelling a product or system as certified to an ISO standard:

Don't say: "ISO certified" or "ISO certification"

DO say: "ISO 9001:2008 certified" or "ISO 9001:2008 certification" (for example).

Complaints about certification

ISO is interested to hear from you if you feel that any ISO standard, including ISO 9001 or ISO 14001, is being misused.

Read more about making a complaint to ISO.

ISO survey - 2016

Find out how many certificates to ISO management standards are awarded in each country, each year.

Can I use the ISO logo?

The ISO logo is a registered trademark and cannot be used by anyone outside of ISO, unless authorised.

If you wish to use a logo to demonstrate certification, contact the certification body that issued the certificate.

See full details about use of the ISO logo.

ISO logos