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Checking competence and qualifications of verifiers

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Only approved individual verifiers or accredited certification bodies may carry out verification. Their competence and qualifications shall be checked, approved, and supervised by either the programme operator (via the Technical Committee supported by the Secretariat) or by accreditation bodies in accordance with the table below:

Type of verificationPossible verifiers for type of verificationBody examining compliance with prescribed competence requirements

EPD verification

Approved individual verifiers

 

Accredited certification bodies

Technical Committee supported by the Secretariat

 

Accreditation bodies

EPD process certification

Accredited certification bodies

Accreditation bodies

The checking of competence requirements and the supervision of the verifiers include the following activities:

  • review of the verifier’s integrity and independence, documentation of competence, and management capacity (quality system, if existent),

  • review on-site, at the verifier’s site, and scrutiny of verifications carried out or in progress (if found relevant), and

  • supervision (follow-up and review) of the operations of the verifier.

An updated list of approved individual verifiers and accredited certification bodes is available here.

Competence requirements of verifiers - in general

The verifier (individual or team of individuals within a certification body) shall be independent and have the following competences:

General product certification competences; the general requirements regarding competence for certification bodies are specified in ISO/IEC 17065:2012 "Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services", Sections 6.1 and 6.2.

Specific competences related to EPD and verification, including:

  • general knowledge of industry and product-related environmental matters,
  • good process and product knowledge, including relevant standards, within the product sector in which the verifier intends to perform verifications,
  • in-depth knowledge and/or experience of LCA methodology, including ISO 14040/14044,
  • in-depth knowledge of the relevant standards in the field of environmental labelling and declarations, including ISO 14020 and ISO 14025,
  • in-depth knowledge of the International EPD System, including the General Programme Instructions,
  • knowledge of ISO/TS 14071 LCA Critical Review Process and Reviewer Competencies, and ISO 19011 Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems,
  • knowledge in the overall regulatory framework in which the concept of EPDs has
    been introduced, and
  • experience in reviewing LCAs verification of EPDs, or the equivalent.

Sufficient proficiency in English to read and understand the General Programme Instructions, PCR, and EPD and to document the verification in a verification report in English.

Specific competencies required for certification bodies

See General Programme Instructions, Section 4.12.1.

Specific competencies required for individual verifiers

See General Programme Instructions, Section 4.12.1.

Accreditation of certification bodies

See General Programme Instructions, Section 4.12.2.

Approval of recognised individual verifiers

See General Programme Instructions, Section 4.12.3.

>> Download the application form for individual verifiers (Last updated: 2018-12-19)

Process to build up verification experience before becoming an individual verifier

Only experts in LCA and EPD that have been approved as individual verifiers and accredited certification bodies may carry out EPD verification. A requirement to become approved as individual verifier is prior experience in verification, but practice has shown that it may be difficult to gain this experience. The following two processes are hereby proposed as ways to gain verification experience.

Please note that these processes do not alter the existing requirements to become an individual verifier. Experience gained through these processes will, however, be part of the evaluation of the credentials carried out by the Technical Committee supported by the Secretariat. Following these processes does not give any guarantee on the approval of applications.

Observing verifications

An LCA/EPD expert may take part in an EPD verification as carried out by an approved individual verifier in the role of observer. As an observer, he/she observe the whole verification process from the individual verifiers view with access to documentation and dialogue between the LCA practitioner and the verifier. The observer shall handle data according to the experienced verifier's process for managing, storing, and maintaining client-confidential data and information.

For the process of observing a verification to count towards gaining verification experience, the following requirements shall be met:

Requirements on approved and experienced verifiers

  1. Verifiers need to be approved as individual verifier in the International EPD System.
  2. Verifiers need to have conducted at least 5 verifications within the last 5 years within the International EPD System.

Requirements on the verifications

  1. Verification shall be performed within the last five years prior to the application date for being an individual verifier.
  2. Verifications shall be conducted within the same sector and PCR that the applicant applies for to act as an individual verifier.
  3. Verification shall be based on the current version of the GPI or the previous version.
  4. Verification need to consider a data collection strategy which for information which might be considered sensitive to the client. Both the observer and the verifier need to follow the rules in GPI section 7.

Guided verification

An LCA/EPD expert may take part in an EPD verification as carried out by an approved individual verifier in a more active role. The process of guided verifications involves an experienced verifier, an applicant to become individual verifier and is based on an EPD verification for publication within the International EPD system.

Part of the verification procedure may be performed by the person who is guided and approved by the experienced individual verifier, but the approved individual verifier takes full responsibility of the verification process. The applicant shall fulfil all obligatory requirements within a verification, GPI chapter 7, to ensure the quality is high.

For the process of a guided verification to count towards gaining verification experience, the following requirements shall be met:

Requirements on approved and experienced verifiers

  1. Verifiers need to be approved as individual verifier in the International EPD System
  2. Verifiers need to have conducted at least 5 verifications within the last 5 years within the International EPD System

Requirement on the verification

  1. Verification needs to be performed according to the rules defined in the GPI. The experienced verifier ensures that the verification is done with high quality and according to the rules defined in the GPI.
  2. A report, including any major and minor shortcomings and aspects that require further improvement, of the shadowed verification shall be prepared by the approved and experienced verifier and shared with the TC and Secretariat
  3. Examples of major shortcomings are aspects like not following the GPI and/or PCR requirements, lack of records of communications/exchanges (dialogue) during the verification etc.

Approval for Pre-verification of an EPD tool

The International EPD® System welcomes approved individual verifiers or accredited certification bodies to apply for pre-verification of an EPD tool. A case-by-case approval is granted for the pre-verification of a tool by the Technical Committee before the work has started. Only approved individual verifiers or accredited certification bodies will be considered.

Specific competences required for pre-verification of an EPD tool:

  • approved individual verifier or accredited certification body
  • excellent knowledge and experience within the product category and relevant processes, including relevant standards, within the scope of the product category of the EPD tool,
  • in-depth knowledge of the framework and technical solution of the EPD tool (e.g. underlying software)

To apply, please contact the Secretariat. More information on pre-verified EPD tools is available here.