At a recent seminar an HSE Manager of a large Australian company revealed that the company has dropped its support of “triple certification” – external certification to safety, quality and environmental standards. This caused a murmur in the audience as external certification has long been seen as an unavoidable element (and cost) of operating a large business. The HSE Manager explained that the company had assessed all of the resources it provides for certification in light of the benefits it receives and determined that the company could still do well without the external certification.
Certification has been considered as a public and commercial statement of good business management. Certification is also required as a minimum requirement to qualify for tenders for government works. But certification has also been seen as a costly and disruptive burden. This perception has strengthened as new regulators have imposed compliance requirements that are usually satisfied through external or third-party audits. This auditing complexity has sometimes been mentioned in the context of the “red tape” debate.