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Examining the compliance of verifiers with the prescribed competence requirements as well as carrying out their supervisions are vital parts in an environmental declarations programme for rising and maintaining market acceptance of EPDs. In the International EPD® System, there are two possibilities to fulfil these tasks – to be carried out by either by organisations officially appointed to act as so-called accreditation bodies or via a procedure carried out under the auspices of the programme operator. These alternatives are illustrated in the table below:
Type of verification
Examining compliance with prescribed competence requirements by:
Recognised individual verifiers
Accredited certification bodies
International EPD® System programme operator
EPD Process Certification
|Accredited certification bodies
The checking of competence requirements and supervision of the verifiers include the following activities:
- review of the verifier’s integrity and independence, documentation of competence, and management capacity (quality system if existent),
- review on-site, at the verifier’s site, and scrutiny of verifications carried out or in progress (if found relevant),
- supervision (follow-up and review) of the operations of the verifier.
An updated list of recognized individual verifiers and accredited certification bodes is available here.
Competence requirements of verifiers - in general
An external verifier (person or body carrying out the verification) shall be independent and with the following competences:
General product certification competences; the general requirements regarding competence for certification bodies are specified in ISO/IEC 17065:2012 “Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services”, Sections 6.1 and 6.2.
EPD verification specific competences; the required competences include the following aspects:
- General knowledge of industry and product-related environmental matters,
Good process and product knowledge, including relevant standards, within the product or service branch in which the verifier intend to perform verifications,
- In-depth knowledge of the principal LCA methodology,
- In-depth knowledge of the relevant standards in the field of environmental labelling and declarations and LCA (including ISO 14025 and ISO 14040/14044),
- Knowledge of ISO/TS 14071 LCA Critical Review Process and Reviewer Competencies, and ISO 19011 Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems,
- Knowledge in the overall regulatory framework in which the concept of EPDs have
- In-depth knowledge of the International EPD® System,
- Experience in reviewing LCAs and/or verification of EPDs.
Specific competencies required for certification bodies
See General Programme Instructions, Section 126.96.36.199.
Specific competencies required for individual verifiers
The requirements for the qualification of an individual verifier are (all the following criteria have to be fulfilled):
- at least five years of documented experience in the LCA field,
- at least five documented independent third party reviews according the ISO 14040 series of standards or equivalent.
Alongside these requirements, general auditor skills and regular auditing or certification experience is an advantage (but not a mandatory requirement)
If the independent verifier participates to a training course organized by the International EPD® System, requirements on performed external reviews are reduced to 3 third party reviews. Such courses may be organised either physically or as web meetings.
Accreditation of certification bodies
See General Programme Instructions, Section 5.5.2.
Approval of recognised individual verifiers
>> Download the application form for individual verifiers (Last updated: 2016-10-20)
The International EPD® System welcomes independent LCA experts with documented review and verification experience in the field of LCA and environmental declarations as individual verifiers.
ISO/IEC 17065:2012 is not applicable for individuals, why the programme operator of the International EPD® System, offers a special procedure for examining/checking single LCA/EPD experts, following the rationale of ISO/IEC 17065:2012 specifically securing their independence. In such an evaluation procedure, the verifier shall provide the programme operator with an application including:
- a CV stating compliance with the general and specific competence requirements above,
- summary of assignments of similar tasks of verification of LCA and environmental declarations (if existing),
- information indicating independence of potential verification tasks,
- description of the verifiers own processes for managing verification activities, including 1) Processes for managing, storing and maintaining client-confidential data and information and 2) Maintaining independence of verification, including identifying and disclosing conflicts of interest,
- relevant references, as appropriate, and
- formal qualifications or training related to LCA, EPDs and/or auditing practice, for example LCA practitioner certification or related audit qualifications following ISO 19011 criteria (if existing).
The evaluation of the credentials of the applicant is carried out by the Secretariat supported by the Technical Committee (TC) based on the application form.
The TC reserves the right to make a thorough check of the first EPD verified by an independent verifier to make sure that the EPD® and verification process fulfils the requirement stated in the General Programme Instructions. Newly approved verifiers shall inform the Secretariat about when a first verification is ongoing to be able to plan for such a check. The TC may also make additional checks of future verifications done by individual verifiers for quality assurance.
It is important that the recognised individual verifier stays up to date with the development within the International EPD® System, why it is required that the verifier is active within the field of environmental declarations and actively takes on verification tasks. To uphold the recognition as an individual verifier, the verifier shall yearly carry out at least one EPD verification, one LCA leading to a certified environmental declaration or prepare one PCR document. The Secretariat is responsible for following up that the verifiers remain active. In general, verifiers should develop, maintain and improve their competence through continual professional development and regular participation in audits.