Russian Register (RR) has dismissed international sanctions as “politically motivated,” and announced plans to create a Russian accreditation authority to replace its accreditations under ANAB and RvA.
In a public statement appearing on its website, the certification body thumbed its nose at a recent announcement by ANAB and RvA that they would suspend the accreditation of Russian Register certificates:
Despite the politically motivated decisions made by a number of foreign accreditation organizations on partial or complete suspension of accreditations, the Russian Register team continues to perform the full range of conformity assessment work without any exceptions, within the framework of its obligations. Despite the decisions taken, foreign accrediting organizations did not and do not have any doubts about the quality of Russian Register’s services and competencies.
Russian Register then appears to telegraph that it will instead pursue the “certificate mill” approach, and simply issue certificates without any accreditation:
The largest certification bodies operating in international markets do not in all cases resort to mandatory accreditations across the entire spectrum of conformity assessment programs. Russian Register, being an internationally recognized organization, has a high reputation and trust in international markets. We urge our customers to reconsider the need to obtain certificates of conformity under the accreditation of foreign states in the changed geopolitical conditions.
The St. Petersburg-based company then claimed it would conduct a “large-scale transfer or certifications” away from ANAB and RvA, to “Russian national accreditation.”
RR then claimed it would begin issuing certificates from regions that do not honor the sanctions, which they called “non-hostile territories.”
Currently, we are creating a pool of alternative foreign accrediting bodies for re-accreditation of the Russian Register in their systems.
The body then called for the accelerated “development of the accreditation system” within the Eurasian Economic Union, a group of post-Soviet bloc nations comprised of some countries, like Belarus, who support Russia’s invasions of Ukraine and Crimea. Russian Register then called on “initiating and facilitating the fastest possible launch of national industrial certification schemes” so that Russia would not have to rely on the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
Nevertheless, the official Russian Register websites continue to market their accreditations under ANAB and RvA, and have not taken down the logos of those accreditation bodies. The move shows the overall impotence of the IAF scheme, as members rarely have legal recourse to enforce rules restricting the use of logos in countries where they have no legal team. The ISO accreditation standards ISO 17021 and ISO 17011 require bodies to have “legally-enforceable” agreements to control such matters, but this is impossible as it would require bodies to have legal teams in every country, knowledgeable about each nation’s court systems. The IAF ignores this and allows the bodies to retain accreditation despite being unable to truly comply with the requirements.
The scandal also reveals why accreditation bodies tolerate violations of law by their clients, as any move to rein in behavior can result in the client abandoning accreditation entirely.
ANAB accredits Russian Register, which resulted in its logo appearing on ISO certificates granted to state-run Russian companies that are subject to international sanctions, such as Gazprom. ANAB’s parent company, ANSI, has refused to take a position against Russia, but ANAB elected to “self-sanction” and temporarily suspend Russian Register’s accreditation. ANAB did not, however, take any action during Russia’s invasion of Crimea, only yielding to public pressure from the more recent Ukraine invasion.
The Dutch accreditation body Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA) has taken similar measures against Russian Register.
The IAF has still not denounced Russia, and continues to work with them as equal partners in its accreditation oversight duties. The IAF originally issued a largely toothless statement denouncing the “war in Ukraine,” but then relented to Russian propaganda restrictions and reworded the announcement to call the war a “situation.” IAF did not mention Russia in any of the versions of the announcement.
The VP of ANAB, Lori Gillespie, is also Vice-Chair of the IAF.