– Frequently asked questions for industry

Answers to frequently asked questions

Find answers to questions about TCO Certified, criteria, application process and verification methods. If something isn’t covered, please contact us and we’ll gladly help you. Another way to stay up-to-date is to subscribe to our Technical Update newsletter.

Verification of compliance

Without independent verification of compliance, you can never know if the criteria are met. To test and audit products and their manufacturing facilities, extensive resources and technical expertise are needed. For credible results, it is also important that the verifiers have no affiliation with industry, purchasers or any other interest group that could influence the test results. This is why compliance with all criteria in TCO Certified is verified by independent and accredited verification organizations, in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025.

With TCO Certified, compliance with all criteria is independently verified by accredited experts. They spend more than 20,000 hours on product testing and supply chain assessments each year. Verification is mandatory and continuous — it is carried out both before and after certification, throughout the certificate’s validity period.

However, finding sustainability issues is only the first step on the way to more sustainable practices. We ensure progress by holding the industry accountable for also solving the issues. TCO Certified includes a structured system for continuous improvements and guides the industry to more sustainable ways of working. Corrective action plans must be developed and implemented within a set timeframe. Non-compliance is met with real consequences — certificates can be removed and factories may lose the right to manufacture certified products.

Learn more about verification of compliance

Criteria for socially responsible manufacturing were introduced in 2009 and developed further in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021. Since then, the engagement from brand owners has increased, leading to measurable, positive effects in the factories. Demand for certified products by purchasing organizations is a key factor in achieving actual improvements.

The independent verification of compliance that is included in TCO Certified is a crucial aspect in driving positive development. All identified cases of non-compliance must be corrected, which is followed up continuously. If necessary corrections are not made within a reasonable time and with satisfying results, the certificate can be withdrawn and factories may lose the right to manufacture certified products.

Read more about our impact in our latest progress report: Impacts and Insights.

Certification process