How do I benefit if a product or service has a certificate?

A certificate is written proof that a product or service meets certain quality requirements. It helps consumers make a more informed choice between different products or services. Those that have a certificate may also have a logo to show they meet certain requirements.

What are certificates issued for?

Certificates are issued for:

  • Products or services: the certificate shows that a product or service meets certain requirements (for safety, quality, environmental protection, etc.);
  • Company processes or systems: the certificate might for instance show that a company has an environmental management system that meets certain quality requirements;
  • Individuals: the certificate indicates that the person has certain knowledge and skills.

Benefit of certificates

Certificates help consumers when they purchase products or services. Producers use their certificate to give themselves a competitive edge, showing customers that the product, service or company meets certain requirements.

Quality label associated with certificate

A quality label may be associated with the certificate. Products often have the quality label logo on their packaging. These include environmental labels, the quality label for sustainably produced wood and the KEMA label for electrical goods.

Certificate sometimes mandatory

Certification is a form of self-regulation. Companies and trade associations agree on certain standards and have them assessed by independent certifying authorities.

Sometimes the authorities make certification mandatory, such as certificates of competence for people who work with asbestos, or the safety, health and welfare certificates required by law. A client may also require a company to have a certificate.

Certification schedules

Certificates are issued on the basis of certification schedules, which list the requirements that the product, service, system or person must meet. The schedule might also include standards developed in a standardisation process. Certifying authorities perform regular checks to verify that certificate holders still meet the requirements.