Anil Jauhri is the former CEO of the Indian accreditation body NABCB, and since his retirement he’s been on a lengthy, yearslong social media kick to present himself as some sort of reformer, battling ISO certification corruption. He claims, nearly incessantly, that he has worked with the Indian government to regulate certification bodies (CBs) in that country, but has exactly zero to show for it. No legislation related to CBs has been passed, and all evidence suggests that Jauhri has been entirely ineffective. But that doesn’t stop him from saying he’s doing stuff.
Meanwhile, India has become one of the fastest-growing producers of both outright fake ISO certificates, as well as “conflicted” certificates issued by supposedly accredited bodies operating under his old employer’s logo. It’s estimated that as many as 50% of ISO certificates coming out of India are entirely fake (unaccredited or self-accredited), and a large percentage of the accredited certs issued under CBs bearing the NABCB logo are awarded in violation of ISO 17021-1.
Recently, however, Jauhri has been posting on LinkedIn — a lot — about water bottles. Apparently, he’s of the rich guy class whose every experience is from the seat of some airplane he’s sitting on, much like the agonizingly insipid articles that James Harrington used to write.
Jauhri is really angry over the fact that the free water they’re giving him on the airplanes has, on the label, a reference to ISO 9001. Jauhri wants to remind everyone of the stupidest rule ever: that an ISO 9001 statement is not supposed to be put on products. Yes, ISO 17021 was relaxed to allow the reference to be put on labeling, but there are some restrictions that Jauhri has to lean into heavily in order to get his heart racing. Even though the labels clearly say the company is certified, not the product (and thus largely comply with ISO 17021), he’s angry because it’s on a label, and he’s insisting that because the label can’t be removed, it isn’t part of the product, it is the product. Or some bullshit. It’s an absolutely ridiculous waste of everyone’s time because there are so many bigger fish to fry, but I guess they don’t serve fish on Jauhri’s preferred airline, so we’re stuck hearing about water bottles.
And you know it gets worse, of course. So who does Jauhri want to file his grievances on this issue with? The airlines. Because of course airlines are the ones overseeing certification bodies, not actual accreditation bodies like NABCB where he used to work.
At which point, I suggested that Jauhri’s outrage, limited to water bottles and CBs, is missing the point. As ex-CEO of NABCB, and someone who claims to have so many government ties, Jauhri should be able to demand that the CBs be de-accredited by NABCB or whomever. But Jauhri isn’t going to bite the hand that feeds him, so he goes after the airlines. never goes that far. And, by doing so, he can appear to be a reformer and keep his name relevant, while not actually doing anything.
But what if he did? Well, Jauhri would suddenly have to face his own conflicts of interest.
You see, if Indian water producers are violating the rules, this means their ISO 9001 CBs have to de-certify them. Because (if you adopt Jauhri’s reading of the rules) the CBs are tasked with ensuring the ISO 17021 rule on ISO labeling is adopted by their clients.
Now if, as Jauhri argues, the CBs are refusing to enforce the rules on their clients (the bottled water companies), then the ABs have to step in and de-accredit those CBs. That means Jauhri woudl have to raise his fuss with accreditation bodies like NABCB or ANAB or UAF.
But if the ABs refuse to do that, then Jauhri would have to raise the issue with the IAF regional bodies, which — since he’s in India — means APAC.
But that means Jauhri would have to expect the people who pay him to abide by the rules, and there’s no quicker way of getting fired in the ISO industry than telling the guy paying you that they are violating some rule.
You see, this is how Jauhri makes his money. Jauhri is a peer evalutor for both IAF and its regional body, APAC, and has performed training for APAC, as well. He’s also done training and audits for the accreditation bodies ANAB and UAF, and of course, used to work for NABCB. So if Jauhri were to follow this complaint to its logical conclusion, he’d have to suddenly bite the hands that feed him.
Thus, shouting at clouds — or, in this case, blaming airlines for the alleged ISO violations of the companies that sell them bottled water — is what Jauhri has to do to appear like he’s still relevant.
Sorry, Anil, I Brought Receipts
When I called Jauhri out on this, he just full-on lied. In response to my claim that he was being paid by APAC, he grew indignant, saying, “Why do you have to be sarcastic without access to facts!!! I don’t work for APAC.” Which appears to be outright bullshit.
First up, his own LinkedIn profile — the one he was posting from — clearly states he is a peer evaluator for APAC:
Next, his own Twitter feed shows him thanking APAC for being brought on as a “trainer“:
That’s corroborated by APAC’s own posts which promote Jauhri as their guy:
And then there’s this online bio for Jauhri, which reveals he hasn’t only performed audits for APAC, NABCB, and IAF, but also ANAB and (the ever-so-shady) UAF.
It’s hard to imagine any more conflicts of interest that Jauhri may have, but I’m sure that the internet will come through and write me, and I’ll be updating this article soon enough.
The truth is that Jauhri, despite his self-promotion as a reformer, was a contributing factor in the infestation of corruption in the Indian scheme, or — if we want to be kind — was wholly incompetent in his attempts to fix the system while he was the CEO of NABCB . Things started to go to shit when he was at NABCB, but I guess Jauhri can claim some sort of silver lining since everything got a lot worse under his replacement, Rajesh Maheshwari.
Meanwhile, back when I proposed that India and its neighbors break from APAC and form a South Asian Accreditation Cooperation (SAAC), and abandon APAC and its corrupt CEO Graeme Drake entirely, Jauhri rejected the proposal. He is just fine with continuing to have caucasian colonizers like UK and Australia run the show for Indians, and destroy the reputation of ISO certifications in the process.
So why did Jauhri claim he doesn’t work for APAC. Again, if we want to be kind, I guess we can assume he doesn’t get “paid” for his training and auditing, and that he does it all for free? That he flies around on airplanes, investigating water bottle labels, all on his own dime? I know for a fact that’s not true — he’s paid a hefty day rate — but let’s pretend I’m wrong and the rules of capitalism are suddenly null and void.
Guess what: it doesn’t matter. Even if he was doing volunteer work for these organizations, his ties are still too close to rule out a conflict of interest, and it fully explains his refusal to investigate these matters properly.
Some day we may meet an executive from a certification body or accreditation body that isn’t a self-serving, lying bastard, but that day has not yet come. But at least we know now that if we invite Anil Jauhri to a dinner party, we’d better serve him tap water.
About Christopher Paris
Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.