Oxebridge has filed a 14-page complaint against accredited certification body Bureau Veritas alleging that it failed to properly police marketing claims made by GreenBizCheck, an ISO 14001 consulting firm. Oxebridge alleges that BV was impacted by a financial conflict of interest, due to an exclusive relationship whereby BV provides special certification services for GBC’s “Gold – Silver – Bronze” environmental certification.
It was discovered that GBC had been claiming, since June 2011, that its clients would receive a faster, cheaper and more efficient ISO 14001 certification with Bureau Veritas. Such claims are prohibited by accreditation rules under ISO 17021, and accredited CBs must take action against any consultant that makes such claims. In its defense, Bureau Veritas claimed that it made previous requests to have the material removed, but these were unsuccessful. Oxebridge discovered the GreenBizCheck materials were published in three countries: the US, UK and Indonesia.
The Oxebridge complaint claims that “it utterly strains credibility to believe that BV took this problem seriously, and that not a single BV office in any of the affected countries succeeded in properly addressing this over the course of this many years.”
Oxebridge filed the complaint with the Australia office of Bureau Veritas, because the arrangement seems to have been the product of a partnership organized by BV Australia’s Andrew Mortimore, who appeared in photos promoting GreenBizCheck. However, given the international proliferation of the material, it’s not quite clear which BV office should have taken action.
Worsening matters, the problem either escaped the notice, or was approved by, three different IAF-signatory accreditation bodies: ANAB in the US, UKAS in the United Kingdom, and KAN in Indonesia.
Prompted by an informal notice of the pending complaint, BV renewed its efforts to have the GBC material removed, and GBC has complied. Despite having been published for almost four years, within 48 hours of the Oxebridge notice, much of the material was removed, adding further doubt as to how strenuously BV had attempted to correct the problem previously. BV continues, however, to offer special certification services for GBC’s environmental programs.
The full complaint may be downloaded here (PDF file – 840 kb)