2021 has been a fruitful year for ISO’s Committee on conformity assessment (CASCO) as great progress was made on the development of its five-year strategic directions for the period 2022-2026. In parallel, CASCO is reviewing the structure of the committee to ensure that it will be in a position to fulfil its forthcoming objectives.
The IAF-ILAC-ISO Joint Strategic Group (JSG) is a forum established pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between ISO, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to address matters of common interest to the three organizations, including matters of conformity assessment policy and practice as they relate to accreditation. The JSG is about to complete the revision of its terms of reference, which define all aspects of how it will carry out its mandate going forward.
In January 2021, the CASCO Strategic Alliance and Regulatory Group (STAR) agreed to focus its engagement efforts on sustainability issues, with a marked emphasis on the circular economy. STAR members felt the timing was right since sustainable solutions are needed to ensure full recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and the circular economy is gaining traction in many countries. As a starting point, a task group has set to collect and examine existing literature covering concepts and trends of the circular economy, and its impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It also gathered examples of current conformity assessment schemes as well as concrete private or governmental initiatives supporting the circular economy in different countries. With this preliminary phase over, the STAR will continue to work on an online tool or brochure that will offer guidance, borne out by practical examples, of how to approach the circular economy from a conformity assessment perspective.
On the technical side, CASCO has continued to work remotely, with six working groups active in the revision or development of conformity assessment standards. As such, it has recently published a revised version of one of its most prominent standards, ISO/IEC 17030, that provides general requirements for third-party marks of conformity, including their issue and use. It is also in process of revising ISO/IEC 17043, which specifies requirements for the competence of proficiency testing providers. The second Committee Draft is currently being balloted by CASCO and IEC members. Lastly, the revision of ISO/IEC Guide 60, Conformity assessment – Code of good practice, has now reached Draft International Standard (DIS) stage. The DIS, which was approved by ISO and IEC members, will be published as ISO/IEC 17060, acquiring full status as an International Standard.
Meanwhile, CASCO continues to manage the request clarification process for all requests received by the CASCO Secretariat pertaining to CASCO-developed standards. These deliverables are all developed in conjunction with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). A total of 5 requests had been received by the end of September.