ISO has released the results from its survey on Management System Standard Certifications 2020, reporting an increase of valid certificates of over 17% compared with 2019. 

  Total certs (#) 2018 Total certs (#) 2019 Total certs (#) 2020 Change (#) 2019-'20 Change (%) 2019-'20
ISO 9001 878,664 883,521 916,842 33,321 3.77%
ISO 14001 307,059 312,580 348,473 35,893 11.48%
ISO 45001 11,952 38,654 190,481 151,827 392.78%
ISO/IEC 27001 31,910 36,362 44,499 8,137 22.38%
ISO 22000 32,120 33,502 33,741 239 0.71%
ISO 13485 19,472 23,045 25,656 2,611 11.33%
ISO 50001 18,059 18,227 19,731 1,504 8.25%
ISO 20000-1 5,308 6,047 7,846 1,799 29.75%
ISO 22301 1,506 1,693 2,205 512 30.24%
ISO 37001 389 872 2,065 1,193 136.81%
ISO 39001 547 864 972 108 12.50%
ISO 28000 617 1,874 520 -1,354 -72.25%
Total 1,307,603 1,357,241 1,593,031 235,790 17.37%

Summary of number of valid certificates to ISO management system standards 2018-20. 

Results analysis

The survey reports data on the total number of valid certificates from accredited certification bodies as of 31 December 2020.  

Over 1.5 million valid certificates against the 12 Type A (requirements) management systems standards surveyed have been reported, an increase of 235,790 on last year.  

The survey shows growth in the number of ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) certificates of nearly 4%, and of ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) certificates of 11.5%. The single biggest increase was seen in ISO 45001 - Occupational health and safety management systems, with 190,481 certificates, up from 38,654 in 2019. In its commentary, ISO notes that as ISO 45001 was only published in 2018, there were only limited certifications in previous surveys. The period for migrating from ISO 45001’s predecessor, BS EN OHS&S 18001, ended on 11 September 2021, so we may yet see a further increase in certificates against this standard in the 2021 survey.  

ISO also notes the increase in ISO 9001 and 14001 certificates may be explained in part due to an increase in data received from China – 324,621 ISO 9001 certificates were reported for 2020, 44,235 more than the previous year. Germany and the United Kingdom also reported increases in the number of ISO 9001 certificates, and of the remaining 6 countries reporting more than 20,000 certificates, only small decreases were shown. 

Participation in the survey was reported as “good and comparable to the previous year”

It remains difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the data provided by the 2020 survey. Participating in the survey is voluntary and certificate data has not been forthcoming from certification bodies in Belgium, Korea, Mexico, Ireland, and the Philippines. Participation in the survey was reported as “good and comparable to the previous year”. Nevertheless, long-term analysis of trends is at best unreliable. Since 2018, ISO has reported the number of valid certificates rather than the total number of sites covered by a valid certificate. The use of accredited certification appears stable, the only significant shift, the dramatic increase in ISO 45001 certificates, was very much expected. The 2020 ISO survey doesn’t leave much to remark upon. 

On the horizon are revisions to two of the three most used standards, ISOs 9001 and 14001. With this comes an opportunity for standards writers to respond to the many factors which are changing to world of work, including digital transformation and Quality 4.0, and the demands of building a sustainable future

The CQI will continue to contribute to the development of standards relevant to our members through the work of the CQI Standards Coordination Committee and standards working groups. To this work we can bring not just the expertise and experience of the CQI membership, but also the insights from our increasing research activity.