ISO-9001 & ISO-14001 Certification for Exporters of Recycled Materials to China

One of the largest exports from North America to China is recycled materials. Metals, plastics, paper, and other materials are in high demand in China, and an ample supply is generated in North America. It is a happy combination, but he process is carefully regulated by the Chinese Government by the AQSIQ, the General Administration of Quality, Supervision and Quarantine, who issues the licenses to import products. One of the requirements to obtaining an AQSIQ license is to have an accredited ISO-9001 certification for the quality management system of the company exporting the product to the Chinese buyers.

The accrediting organization for ISO certifying bodies in the US is an industry known as ANAB, a partnership organization of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ), also known as the ANSI/ASQ National Accreditation Board. The ANAB derives its authority form the International Accreditation Forum, the only ISO licensee for accrediting certifying bodies. For the AQSIQ to accept your ISO-9001 Certification, it must have the logo of the Certifying Body and the ANAB.

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Always insist on an ISO 9001 Certification by an Accredited Certification Body (CB)

ISO-9001:2008 is the latest version of the international Quality Management System standard. It is scalable from a one-person operation through an organization with thousands of employees across multiple locations. It is truly an all-encompassing Quality Management System that covers all phases of a business, not just a product quality or inspection system. It breaks down all business operations into processes, identifies how these processes interact, determines the criteria for effectiveness of the processes, and establishes a method to measure, monitor and improve each of these processes. The continual measurement, monitoring and improvement of the business processes is what makes the system so powerful. Companies implementing ISO-9001 find their operations, efficiencies, customer satisfaction continually improving resulting in increased profitability and improved relations with their customers, both existing and potential new customers.

Obtaining ISO-9001 certification is not a difficult task, but it must be embraced by the management of the company seeking certification. It is not something that can merely be purchased and administered. It requires effective implementation. It will be examined by the certifying body auditor and all aspects of the standard must be functioning in the organization being certified. The ISO standard touches on all aspects of the business, so all employees require training and engagement for the system to function.

The export of some materials to China also requires certification to ISO-14001. This is an environmental management system. ISO-14001 requires the identification and evaluation of the possible environmental effects of the business operations. Like ISO-9001, it is scalable, implemented throughout the business operations of a company, and contains some of the same principles of business effectiveness:  objectives, monitoring, measuring and improvement, management review, and so on to achieve the environmental goals of the business.

For a company exporting recycled materials to China, the risks of not following sound quality and environmental management principles can be substantial. Facing the responsible disposal of a large shipment of products that does not meet the import standards, half a world away, can be devastating to the business responsible for supplying and getting the product there. The use of effective Quality Management and Environmental Management systems such as ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 goes a long way in mitigating those risks by providing a methodology to ensure customer requirements (as well as legal and regulatory requirements) are met verified prior to the product ever leaving the supplier.