Services provided by the Industry
In general, the testing and certification industry provides three types of services –
The following series of videos give a brief introduction on Hong Kong's testing and certification services. Please click on the links below to download the videos:
Testing is the determination of one or more characteristics of an object according to a procedure. Examples include:
Demand for testing services in Hong Kong can be generated both locally (about 40%) and externally (about 60%).
About half of the business receipts from testing activities to meet local demand are for medical testing. Other common services provided to meet local needs include testing of Chinese medicines, construction materials, electrical and electronic products, food, jewellery, etc.
On external demand, testing activities are mostly related to testing of consumer products for export, e.g. textiles, clothing and footwear, toys and games, electronic and electrical products, houseware, etc.
Inspection may include the examination of materials, products, installations, plants, processes, work procedures or services and determination of their conformity with requirements and the subsequent reporting of results of these activities to clients and, when required, to authorities. Examples include:
On local demand, there are many safety-related statutory inspections such as the inspection of lifts and escalators. There are also inspections conducted on a voluntary basis, such as inspection of the indoor air quality at a premises according to the Environmental Protection Department's "Indoor Air Quality Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places".
On external demand, the need for inspection arises from international trade. It is a common practice for overseas buyers to arrange inspection of goods at the factory by an independent inspection body to confirm the quality of goods before shipment.
Certification is a third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons. Certification activities in Hong Kong can be broadly divided into three categories:
Management System Certification
There are various international standards for management system certification. Organisations seek certification to prove that they comply with these international standards for different reasons: improvement of the management of their organisations, as a marketing tool.
ISO 9001 is an international standard that specifies generic requirements for a quality management system. Certification against this standard is the most popular management system certification in Hong Kong. There is also an increasing demand for new types of certification, e.g. ISO 14001 environmental management system certification, ISO 50001 energy management system certification and OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety management system certification.
Product certification can improve stakeholders' confidence in the products supplied by a certified supplier. It can bring benefits to manufacturers (better business opportunities), regulatory authorities (less monitoring effort) and end-users (more reliable products). Product certification schemes adopted by accredited certification bodies in Hong Kong are related to construction materials, consumer products and food.
Validation and Verification
To tackle climate changes, many organisations around the world are implementing various initiatives to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmospheres. These initiatives rely on the quantification, monitoring, reporting, validation and verification of GHG emissions and/or removals.
To enhance the consistency, credibility and transparency of GHG quantification, monitoring and reporting, organisations may validate and verify their GHG assertions based on ISO 14064-1 (organisation level), ISO 14064-2 (project level) or ISO TS 14067 (product level).
The three types of services can be summarized as follows: