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.

At ISO, we develop International Standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. 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 provides independent confirmation of competence. However, accreditation is not compulsory, and non-accreditation does not necessarily mean the certification body is not reputable. To find an accredited certification body, contact the national accreditation body in your country or visit International Accreditation Forum CertSearch.

International organizations in cooperation with ISO for accreditation

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel etc.

ILAC is the international organization for accreditation bodies operating in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011 and involved in the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies including calibration laboratories (using ISO/IEC 17025), testing laboratories (using ISO/IEC 17025), medical testing laboratories (using ISO 15189), inspection bodies (using ISO/IEC 17020) and proficiency testing providers (using ISO/IEC 17043).

ISO does not perform certification

ISO does not perform certification or issue certificates, and it does not permit anyone to use the ISO logo in connection with certification. Certification is performed by external certification bodies, thus a company or organization cannot be certified by ISO.

Making a complaint in relation to a claim of certification

ISO takes complaints related to the misuse of the ISO logo or false certification to ISO management system standards seriously.

Complaints should be addressed to the certification body that certified the organization. You can identify the certification body by examining the statement of certification, the certification mark used by the organization, or by requesting a copy of the certificate to the ISO standard.

If the above steps cannot be followed, please send us an email with full details of the issue and how we can contact you. While ISO cannot guarantee a resolution or assume any liability, it can help facilitate dialogue between the parties involved and work towards a positive outcome.

A response to your complaint will be sent to you within 14 days.

ISO Survey

Find out how many valid certificates there are in each country for the main ISO management system standards.

Can I use the ISO logo?

The ISO logo is a registered trademark and cannot be used by anyone outside of ISO, unless they have been explicitly authorized.

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.