ISO Survey of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Certificates

The annual ISO survey of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates has been published and reveals the worldwide situation at the end of 2003, which was a year of transition for ISO 9000 and confirmed growth of ISO 14001.

ISO itself does not issue ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates. However, it carries out the ISO Survey (now in its 11th year) as a public information service. ISO collects the survey data from disparate sources and cannot guarantee their quality and accuracy. However, the survey is eagerly awaited each year since it provides a unique indicator to the worldwide implementation of ISO’s management system standards – although organizations may also implement and benefit from the standards without seeking certification.

The survey provides the following principal results for 2003:

ISO 9001:2000 (Quality Management System)

  • At the end of December 2003, at least 500,125 certificates to the ISO 9001:2000 standard had been issued in 149 countries.
  • The 2003 total represents an increase of 332,915 (+ 200 %) over 2002, when the total was 167,210 in 134 countries.
  • The 2003 total represents an increase of 455,737 (more than ten times higher) over 2001, the first year for which the survey recorded ISO 9001:2000 certifications, when the total was 44,388 in 98 countries.

ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System)

  • The increase in the number of certificates in 2003 to the ISO 14001 standard is the largest so far recorded in the nine surveys for ISO 14001.
  • At the end of December 2003, at least 66,070 certificates to ISO 14001 had been issued in 113 countries.
  • The 2003 total represents an increase of 16,621 (+ 34 %) over 2002, when the total was 49,449 in 117 countries.

Following the 15 December 2003 deadline for transition from the 1994 versions of the ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 standards, ISO 9001:2000 became the only ISO 9000 standard for accredited registration recognized by ISO and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

At the end of 2003, two weeks after the transition deadline, the 500,125 total of ISO 9001:2000 certificates was equivalent to 89 % of the 2002 world total of 561,747 of ISO 9000 (old and new versions) certificates.

However, ISO qualifies this, stating: “The 11% of non-ISO 9001:2000 certificates identified by the survey at the end of 2003 cannot be taken as a final measure of the transition. This 11% includes organizations that have made the transition since the deadline, or are still to do so during the course of 2004. These include ‘late starters’ in the transition process who were unable to complete it by the deadline, and also includes organizations that, due for a re-certification audit in 2004, decided to make the transition by this date.”

The number of ISO 9001:2000 certificates shows an increase of 332,915 over 2002, and the worldwide total of ISO 9000 certificates (old and new versions), shows an apparent increase of 6,238 (from 561,747 to 567,985). ISO states this increase has to be qualified “apparent” because not all survey sources were able to supply 1994 version figures, having deleted these from their databases.

In addition, the survey identifies two developments in particular as being responsible for reducing the worldwide total of certificates.

One is the evolution from multiple, single-site certificates to single, multiple-site certificates. This is the case of organizations operating multiple sites, each of which previously held a separate certificate, that have obtained a single ISO 9001:2000 certificate covering multiple sites. This evolution affects multinational companies in particular. Its complete extent is unknown, although the partial figures obtained indicate that the phenomenon is growing.

A second evolution is that several major global industries are implementing quality management system requirements that incorporate ISO 9001:2000 with additional ones specific to their sector. This reduces the number of “pure” ISO 9001:2000 certificates, replacing them by sector-specific certification.

However, the survey adds: “Paradoxically, this evolution may actually be increasing the number of ‘ISO 9001:2000’ certified organizations because ISO 9001:2000 is incorporated within sector-specific documents that are being cascaded down the global supply chains of important sectors comprising many thousands of supplier companies. Examples are ISO/TS 16949 (automotive), TL 9000 (telecommunications) and ISO/TS 29001 (oil and gas).”

It was not possible to analyze precisely the impact of the above factors. Consequently, ISO intends to improve and refine the modalities for the collection of data for the 2004 edition, to obtain a clearer picture of single multiple-site certificates, as well as, registration to other ISO management system standards.

The principal survey findings are available at <>, including world, regional, and country breakdowns. Previous survey editions are also posted on the site allowing comparison of data from the first survey in January 1993.