A critical factor in moving towards sustainable development and innovation
Higher standards are often associated with better consumer protection and quality of life. However, this correlation is not unequivocal, as neither markets nor government regulation work perfectly. This observation is especially true for developing and emerging countries. In this sense, we wonder how a country’s quality infrastructure can best be aligned to contribute to economically sustainable development and the quality of life of its citizens in challenging contexts.
What is the difference between quality assurance and quality infrastructure? I was recently asked this question by a young colleague who has just started coordinating projects to promote quality infrastructure. The answer to this question is undoubtedly essential for every newcomer to quality infrastructure. Moreover, it is also a welcome stimulus to think more fundamentally about the relationship between these concepts.
Quality infrastructure has its origins in the industrial revolution of the 19th century, first in England, then throughout Western Europe and the USA, and later spread to Japan and other parts of Europe and Asia during the transition from agrarian to industrial societies. For a long time, QI was mainly a matter of checking whether physical products met defined technical specifications. Testing served both the safety of products and their usability in value-added processes based on the division of labour. Thus, the measurement of physical units was at the centre of the entire quality system.
SMEs need to be informed about the technical requirements
Exported goods are rejected repeatedly at foreign borders. Import rejections mean loss of revenue and generate considerable costs for the exporter due to the return or destruction of non-compliant goods. According to a study by UNIDO, these “export losses” cost companies several hundred million USD every year . Especially for SMEs in developing countries, such rejections can threaten their existence.
“Improving Food Safety” is the theme of the World Accreditation Day 2020, #WAD2020. This year’s theme reflects the close cooperation between the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).