The testing and certification industry has been identified by the Task Force on Economic Challenges (TFEC) as one of the six economic areas where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages and has good potential for further development. TFEC was established by the Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). To spearhead the development of the testing and certification industry, the Government of the HKSAR set up the Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification (HKCTC) in 2009. HKCTC submitted its report to the Chief Executive of the Government of the HKSAR in March 2010. HKCTC recommended that Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS) should ensure that its services meet the changing needs through providing new accreditation services in response to demand from the industry.
Development of New Accreditation Services for Certification of Food Safety Management System, Occupational Health and Safety Management System, and Information Security Management System
In the past few years, heightened public concerns over food safety, workplace health and safety, and information security have driven many Hong Kong organisations to implement food safety management system (FSMS), occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) or an information security management system (ISMS) in order to demonstrate their commitment and compliance with these respective requirements. As a result, the demand for certifications of these management systems is increasing. In response to the demand for accreditation services of management system certifications and to support the development of the industry, HKAS extended its scope of accreditation to these three management systems under the Hong Kong Certification Bodies Accreditation Scheme (HKCAS) in 2011, viz., FSMS certification to ISO 22000, OHSMS certification to OHSAS 18001, and ISMS certification to ISO/IEC 27001.
HKAS established a task force under the Accreditation Advisory Board Working Party for Certification Bodies to develop the accreditation services for each of these new management system certifications. HKAS invited representatives from certification bodies, relevant government bureaux/departments, users of accredited services, universities, industries and other interested parties to join these task forces. The task forces provided advice to HKAS on the accreditation criteria, other technical and administrative aspects of accreditation, including training requirements, appointment of assessors and promotion of the new services. The results of their efforts were published as HKCAS Supplementary Criteria for each management system certification with which accredited certification bodies must comply.
In order to enhance the expertise in and the professional standards of these certification systems, a series of training courses and seminars were organized to provide adequate training to technical assessors/experts and certification body personnel for each new certification system. In 2011, HKAS organized 10 training courses or seminars. International experts and experienced peer accreditation bodies personnel were invited to share their experience and knowledge with our local technical experts. Speakers and trainers included Ms. Natalie Mison from JAS-ANZ, Ms. Tina V. Garner from ANAB, Prof. Edward Humphreys, convener of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC27/WG1 and Chair of the UK SC27 Committee, and Mr. Alex Ezrakhovich, member of ISO/CASCO WG21.
Climate change brings about more severe weather conditions and poses an unprecedented, global challenge for everyone. The heightened public awareness and concern over climate change have driven the development of a low-carbon economy and the initiative of enhancing energy efficiency. Last year, the Government of the HKSAR devised Hong Kong’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Agenda and proposed setting a target to reduce the carbon intensity level in Hong Kong by 50%–60% by 2020 as compared to that in 2005. In the 2011-12 Policy Address and Policy Agenda, the Government of the HKSAR new initiatives are set out to promote efforts in combating climate change by carrying out carbon audits on major Government buildings and public facilities; encouraging companies to participate in identifying more room for carbon reduction; and exploring the possibility of setting up a carbon footprint repository. On-going initiatives to promote energy efficiency include preparing for the full implementation of the Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance in September 2012; promoting energy conservation in government buildings; and implementing energy efficiency demonstration projects.
In response to the need of accreditation services on environmental protection to support the future development of the low-carbon economy in Hong Kong, HKAS is preparing to develop the new accreditation services for verification/validation of greenhouse gases (GHG) assertions to ISO 14064-1/ ISO 14064-2 and energy management system (EnMS) certification to ISO 50001. Similar to other accreditation services, respective task forces have been established and technical assessors are being identified.
To kick start the process, we invited two overseas experts, Dr. Chan Kook Weng, Chair of ISO/TC 207 SC7 (Green House Gas Management and Related Activities) and Mr. Trevor Floyd, Chairman of the West Midlands and Mid Wales Branch of the Energy Institute in UK and co-author of ISO 5001 to be the speakers. Other speakers included representatives from Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. We also provided a talk on the procedure and criteria for seeking accreditation. The seminar was attended by over 100 people.
The target launching date of the new services for GHG validation/verification and EMS certification is 4th quarter of 2012.