A robust, third party quality assurance program helps strengthen buyer and industry trust in a certification tool such as TCO Certified. For purchasers, compliance with TCO Certified provides proof that the IT products you buy meet current, relevant sustainability criteria throughout the life cycle and helps you reduce the environmental and social risks associated with IT products. It also means as a purchaser you don’t have to do the verification work yourself.
Verification rounds during 2016 will include:
1. Product spot checks
A selection of certified products are purchased and tested according to TCO Certified criteria. Selected products represent several brands and product categories.
2. Factory Social Audits
In addition to the brand submitting third party social factory audit reports as part of the certification process, we work with accredited third parties to carry out a number of factory audits as part of our quality control program.
3. Follow up factory social audits
We also carry out follow up factory inspections in select manufacturing facilities to monitor the implementations of corrective actions identified in the initial social audit.
4. “Round Robin” testing at accredited verification organization sites
All certified product models pass testing and verification at an accredited third party site prior to certification. With multiple accredited test and verification sites, it’s critical that each site can deliver accurate, repeatable product test results, regardless of location. To maintain this consistency, we carry out ‘round robin’ testing, including all our and test and verification organization sites. The purpose is to ensure consistency of test methods, equipment calibration and criteria interpretation.
5. Annual brand social responsibility review
As part of the certification process, each brand nominates a Senior Management Representative responsible for implementing social responsibility improvements at the factory level. Each year, together with the Senior Management Representative, we carry out an individual review of the brand’s progress in socially responsible manufacturing.
6. Product claims verification
Accurate product claims matter. Buyers need to trust that the claims associated with the products they buy are true. Therefore we carry out market surveillance each year to make sure that only certified products are promoted as such and that brand communications around certified product models are accurate.
Overview of verification process as part of the TCO Certified application process
Dealing with non-compliance
The built-in system of verification – both pre-and post-certification – helps reduce the risk of non-compliance with the criteria. Rare cases of non-compliance can result in direct consequences for the manufacturer, including withdrawal of the certificate.