Extensive Standard Technical Services (ESTS): Withdrawal of CB Accreditation
Textile Exchange’s quality assurance program supports the credible and consistent certification of preferred fibers and materials according to the criteria in our suite of standards.
Our assurance system auditing and certification processes support a network of certification bodies. These certification bodies are required to conform to our policies and procedures to conduct audits and issue certificates to assess conformity with our standards. Certification bodies must maintain accreditation by conforming to these policies and procedures.
All certification bodies undergo an assessment by an authorized accreditation body for our standards before beginning any auditing and certification work. Accreditation bodies are independent organizations that, in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011, assess certification bodies’ competency to perform certification activities with a given standard.
At least once per year, the certification body is assessed to confirm their qualification and conformity with our requirements. This yearly assessment involves review at the certification body’s headquarters with key staff as well as shadow audits of client sites where the assessor observes the auditor’s performance. When non-conformities are identified, the certification body has a defined amount of time to correct them to maintain their accreditation status.
The process of withdrawal has a due diligence effort where the certification body may file an appeal to the accreditation body regarding their decision, giving further credibility in case there are procedural issues with the accreditation body’s processes. Each accreditation body sets its own appeal timeline, which may result in several months passing before the final withdrawal decision and its consequences occur.
As part of the annual certification body assessment process in 2022, Extensive Standards Technical Services Co., Ltd (ESTS) was found to have non-conformities with Textile Exchange’s assurance requirements. These were not corrected within the required timeframes and as a result, their ability to provide certification services for Textile Exchange standards is affected.
IOAS, ESTS’s accreditation body, has withdrawn its accreditation to all Textile Exchange standards effective February 3, 2023. ESTS’s certified clients must now seek certification services from and transfer their certification services to another accredited certification body no later than May 17, 2023, to maintain certification as all scope certificates issued by ESTS will be considered invalid after that date.
Transaction certificates previously issued by ESTS are still considered valid – unless otherwise notified by ESTS or Textile Exchange. ESTS is permitted to continue to issue transaction certificates for valid scope certificates until May 17, 2023. To authenticate a transaction certificate issued by ESTS, please see the Textile Exchange transaction certificate portal.
The Withdrawal of the Certification Body Licensing procedure details the requirements for certification bodies in such cases. We recognize the burden that this creates for the clients of this certification body since they may require another audit and be subject to its additional costs.
If you are a certified client of ESTS, you should have received their notification already, but here are some next steps and resources to assist you with the process:
- Review this page of certification bodies licensed to certify against the relevant Textile Exchange standard(s) in your region and immediately contact them for quotes to become newly certified by them. In some cases, a simplified transfer audit may be possible.
- Inform the chosen succeeding certification body of the circumstance and provide them a copy of this communication.
- Note that generally, certification bodies may only issue transaction certificates for products shipped during the validity of the scope certificate they issued and therefore, they do not issue transaction certificates for products shipped under the validity of a scope certificate issued by another certification body. However, when an organization transfers between certification bodies (from the “preceding certification body” to the “succeeding certification body”, including when the transfer occurs at recertification), the succeeding certification body may issue transaction certificates for shipments from the time when the organization was certified with the preceding certification body, provided that all of the conditions of calibration# 229 are met. Please contact your certification body for more information.
While Textile Exchange is disappointed by this situation and the conditions that will impact site certifications, these circumstances reflect the integrity and consistency of our assurance system. In turn, this helps to ensure greater credibility of our standards and of the entities that offer auditing and certification services.