Business Requirements Specification for Digital Product Conformity Certificate Exchange - High-level Process


Project Details

Project Identifier
Bureau Decision #
#2307059, #2404020
Project Proposal Status


Project Page

Business Requirements Specification for Digital Product Conformity Certificate Exchange - High Level Process

Supporting VC
Project Lead
HoD Support


StatusIn development
Submitted date


Draft Development Completion


Publication Date


Project Purpose

The increasing complexity of supply chains is adversely impacting the visibility of the product conformity assessment processes, potentially reducing trust in product claims. The purpose of this project is to define a functional architecture, capable of operating across different stages of product supply, that would enable digital access to valid and current product conformity attestations containing linkages to substantiating data (such as the product digital twin and the authority under which an attetsation was issued). These general concepts involved are described within the UN/CEFACT Digital Product Conformity Certificate Exchange White Paper. The project will identify and define the business scenarios and transactions involved in accessing product conformity attestations, as well as relevant operational and legal aspects necessary to enable process mapping. This project will help to ensure UN/CEFACT standards can be integrated into emerging digital product conformity systems. The strength and integrity of product conformity systems has significant implications for digital trade. This project complements existing UN/CEFACT standards and recommendations by addressing constraints relating to the paperless movement of goods reliant on underpinning attestations of product conformity. At the same time, this work will benefit the development of other UN/CEFACT standards involving exchange of data regarding product attributes and will support efforts of governments implementing digitised trade facilitation solutions via eDATA Verifiable Credentials for Cross Border Trade.

Project Scope

The 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.

Project Deliverables

The project deliverables are: • Deliverable 1: BRS on Digital Product Conformity Certificate Exchange - High Level Process including UNCCL and RDM; • Deliverable 2: Webinar to present findings.

Exit Criteria

Exit Criteria for Deliv. 1: Working group formation with industry lead. Exit Criteria for Deliv. 2: BRS ready to publish. Internal and External comment logs demonstrating that all comments have been taken into consideration. Exit Criteria for Deliv 3: Publication of BRS.

Project Team Membership and Required Functional Expertise

Membership is open to UN/CEFACT experts with broad knowledge in the area of: Trade Facilitation, Cross-border data harmonisation, Conformtiy Assessment, Verifiable Credentials. In addition, Heads of Delegations may invite technical experts from their constituency to participate in the work. Experts are expected to contribute to the work based solely on their expertise and to comply with the UN/CEFACT Code of Conduct and Ethics and the policy on Intellectual Property Rights.

Geographical Focus

The geographical focus of the project is global.

Initial Contributions

The project will explicitly examine the detailed application of the principles outlined in the following documents: • UN/CEFACT - White Paper on Digtial Product Conformity Certificate Exchange (Draft submitted for publication) • UN/CEFACT - White Paper on eDATA Verifiable Credentials for Cross Border Trade (September 2022) • UN/CEFACT - BRS Traceability and Transparency in the Textile and Leather Sector Part 1: High-Level Process and Data Model (February 2021)

Resource Requirements

Participants in the project shall provide resources for their own participation. The existence and functioning of the project shall not require any additional resources from the UNECE secretariat. Additional request: Webinar support by UNECE Secretariat.

Project Leadership

Brett Hyland (E-mail: