ISO 17050 for Supplier Declaration of Conformity

ISO 17050-1:2004 and ISO 17050-2:2004 give added weight to a supplier’s declaration of conformity. These new standards define requirements for suppliers to meet when they make formal claims that products, services, systems, processes, or materials conform to relevant standards, regulations, or other specifications.

Claims that meet the requirements of ISO 17050 are expected to inspire greater confidence among governments, regulatory authorities, consumers, and end users than claims without such backing. This is because the standard represents an international consensus on good practice and establishes a benchmark that can be applied in all business sectors and in all countries.

ISO 17050 offers a framework for what is called a “supplier’s declaration of conformity”, or “SDoC”. An SDoC is one of the ways in which a supplier may seek to demonstrate conformity. This might be required, for example, by health, safety, or environmental regulations – or be desirable because conformity would give potential buyers greater confidence.

Conformity assessment options have included inviting the customer to verify conformity, or by engaging a specialized independent body, such as a testing laboratory or inspection service, to issue a certificate of conformity (e.g., product certification). An SDoC is less time-consuming than either of these options, which means that products can be developed and brought to market faster. It is also cheaper and the savings can be passed on to the customer.

The publication of ISO 17050 puts at the disposal of suppliers an SDoC methodology with greater transparency, added rigor, and globally harmonized practice – which is likely to increase the use of this option in world trade. While streamlining the conformity assessment process, it does not remove the obligation of suppliers and manufacturers to conform to relevant regulations and other legal requirements – which is likely to encourage its acceptance by authorities, as well as, increase the confidence of customers.

The new standard is in two parts. Part 1 specifies the general requirements for an SDoC. Its intent is to increase the value of an SDoC by establishing a clearly understandable standard for this conformity assessment option, and also to encourage its use by making the SDoC more acceptable to government and regulatory institutions. The document includes a sample SDoC.

Part 2 is on supporting documentation to substantiate an SDoC, for example, results of tests carried out by the supplier or an independent body in order to meet legal requirements. Again, the intent is to encourage acceptance of an SDoC by customers and authorities.

The two standards can be ordered through ANSI at: <http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/default.asp>.

ISO 17050-1:2004, Conformity assessment – Supplier’s declaration of conformity – Part 1: General requirements, costs $38.
ISO 17050-2:2004, Conformity assessment – Supplier’s declaration of conformity – Part 2: Supporting documentation, costs $28.