Brussels, 28 May 2021The testing, inspection and certification (TIC) sector is contributing to a concerted effort against greenwashing and the fabrication of sustainability credentials by championing conformity assessment across sectors, according to a landmark report commissioned by the global trade federation, TIC Council.

The study shows that testing a product’s environmental performance against existing ISO standards enables customers to verify on an ongoing basis claims by suppliers that they meet globally recognised sustainability standards. It demonstrates that TIC service providers support the growth of the circular economy and contribute to sustainable supply chains by offering the certification of environmentally safe building materials and other products. The sector also provides frameworks to help companies audit the sustainability of their business models.

This is particularly pertinent given the publication of recent global studies which have uncovered the extent of greenwashing. For example, the European Commission’s recent screening exercise found that green claims were “exaggerated, false or deceptive” and could potentially qualify as unfair commercial practice under EU rules in 42% of cases.

Under the voluntary EPEAT program, for instance, accredited independent third-party certification bodies are recognised by the non-profit Green Electronics Council (GEC) to verify green claims. The TIC sector’s contribution to tackling greenwashing is just one of the many conclusions drawn by the authors of The Value of the Testing, Inspection and Certification Sector.

They conclude that the TIC sector delivers “significant, and sometimes massive, net benefits to society”. The study conservatively estimates that TIC involvement will generate a global annual saving of $21.5 billion from reduced healthcare expenditure, thanks to its focus on the UN SDG on good health and wellbeing. Indeed, TIC firms are contributing to the fulfilment of all 17 UN SDGs, from ending poverty and hunger to climate action and driving gender equality.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Hanane Taidi, Director General of TIC Council said: “Third party Certification supports substantiating green claims, providing users and consumers with reliable information on the tests and audits undertaken by manufacturers. Four in five businesses value the role TIC plays in bringing rigour to traditional and emerging industries alike, setting a high benchmark for quality. That’s a huge vote of confidence in our members.”

Dr Michael Fübi, President of TIC Council, added: “Through the validation of claims made by manufacturers, TIC provides an invaluable service to consumers who can be safe in the knowledge that the products they purchase have met the relevant health, safety, environmental and performance requirements, and can be relied upon – and they are often willing to pay a premium for this peace of mind.”

A TIC-commissioned survey suggests this premium could be as high as 16 per cent on average. The report – carried out by international law firm Steptoe and London-based consultancy Europe Economics – emphasises that the TIC sector empowers consumers, drives confidence among businesses, and supports policymakers to address critical public policy challenges from cybersecurity to smart technology. Its conclusions were drawn from interviews with leading industry stakeholders and a forensic analysis of the data available, which allowed the authors to demonstrate the monetary value of various benefits of the sector.

With a global value of $200bn and rising, the sector is an economic juggernaut whose growth shows no sign of slowing. It is expected to grow by 30 per cent over the next five years, creating many more high-quality STEM jobs to add to the one million TIC employees currently operating worldwide.

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Editor’s Note About TIC Council :

TIC Council is the global trade federation representing the independent third-party Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry which brings together more than 90-member companies and organizations from around the world to speak with one voice. Its members provide services across a wide range of sectors: consumer products, medical devices, petroleum, mining and metals, food, and agriculture among others. Through provision of these services, TIC Council members assure that not only regulatory requirements are met, but also that reliability, economic value, and sustainability are enhanced.  TIC Council’s members are present in more than 160 countries and employ more than 300,000 people across the globe.

Facts and figures:

· 160: number of countries employing TIC professionals.

· 90%: the proportion of consumers reporting that independent third-party testing is important to them, according to a 2012 survey conducted across China, India, Japan, the UK and the US.

· 16%: the average premium consumers are willing to pay products whose safety has been independently verified.

· 80%: the proportion of businesses who agree that TIC plays a role in supporting them to comply with legal requirements, according to a TIC-            commissioned survey.

· 30%: potential increase in US exports as a result the adoption of mutual TIC standards, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2020         Industry Survey.

The Value of TIC can be measured in the billions:

· $200bn: the global value of the sector.

· $6.1bn: expected value of the reinvented toilet market by 2030, made possible by the role of TIC in creating the original standards.

· $21.5bn: expected annual global saving from reduced healthcare expenditure as a result of independent TIC activities, according to the study.

· $1.4bn: level of fraudulent payment activity averted in Europe in 2017 as a result of the uptake of chip-based payment technology, made possible by TIC expertise, according to a TIC Council study.