Project ScopeThe scope of the project covers access to product conformity data by business and government entities, both within a country and transborder, relating to different stages of product supply (raw material, intermediate and finished product).
Attestations to be considered are those relating to the attributes of organisations, processes, materials or products, encompassing the outputs of any third-party testing, inspection or certification activity. It is acknowledged that other types of assurance exist that may also be sufficiently reliable for some business contexts and for which, although not being explicitly investigated, some commonality with the patterns identified through this project might be expected.
The focus will be ensuring that conformity attestations are issued and shared in a manner which preserves verifiable connections to physical product delivery, while providing foundations for independent digital verification of the status of an issued attestation and the authority under which it was issued. Defining all data elements contained in conformity attestations, to enable the digitalised exchange of content, is not regarded as necessary to achieve these specific outcomes (but would introduce significant additional functionality that could be considered in future work). While development of uniform and harmonised attestation code lists is not being specifically considered, it is acknowledged that there is valuable ongoing work in this direction, including the UN/CEFACT Traceability and Transparency in the Textile and Leather Sector project. Accordingly, this project should be regarded as a component of work existing within a wider landscape of activity, both within and outside UN/CEFACT.
The specific Use Cases considered in this project will reflect divergent industry operating environments while highlighting connections to sustainability considerations, where applicable. Existing UN/CEFACT standards and work activities will be leveraged, including in relation to sustainability outcomes.
Industry Use Case 1: Building products – Example of structural steel, from mill to as-built
Problem(s) to be solved: While noting that regulatory practices differ around the world, in many circumstances the authority having jurisdiction cannot effectively establish the validity and relevance of information submitted to support compliance with national building codes and referenced standards, including those relating to ESG performance, due to the lack of robust linkages to physical product supply and potential lack of clarity regarding the authority under which conformity information had been issued.
Industry Use Case 2: Textiles products – Example of a cotton garments, from spinning to recycling
Problem(s) to be solved: The complexity and current intractability for tracking textile sustainability data will be examined from the perspective of conformity assessment practices, leveraging the categories defined within the UN/CEFACT BRS Traceability and Transparency in the Textile and Leather Sector Part 1: High-Level Process and Data Model (February 2021) for value chain partner roles, business partner types, business requirements, traceability information entities, sustainability information entities and traceable assets. The purpose of the analysis will be to ascertain how conformity assessment bodies (CABs) might facilitate the availability and authenticity of data, to progress pre-existing work by UN/CEFACT in this area.