Anyone can claim that they are certified to an ISO Management System Certification standard. It is crucial for end users and the community to verify these claims to ensure that the certification is valid and acceptable.

In the past, the only way to tell if an ISO certification is authentic, is by asking the supplier to send their certificate to their client and to verify its validity with the certifier and the accreditation body (AB) which accredited the certifier.

But, what if the CB and AB are all foreign based? While we can contact them through emails and phone, these are not convenient and reliable ways of checking the validity of a certificate. We all have experienced having our emails going into spam or junk folders which delay the response.  Phone calls would cost your business money, aside from the possibility that you may not get a hold of the right person to verify it at all.

Even with rumors about companies falsely claiming that they have ISO certification, there are no formal complaints received yet that would result in investigations relating to such. There is no known comprehensive study or survey yet, concluding the authenticity of these certifications in the Philippines.

Some economies have started looking at fake certifications as a serious issue that was eventually made into subject of some studies. To cite an example, a qualitative study carried out by a research group led by Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU) professor Iñaki Heras-Saizarbitoria, in collaboration with the Université Laval of Quebec, concludes that fake ISO 9001 quality certificates are very widespread across Chinese companies and that the certification processes of the auditing companies lack credibility.

Since businesses and governments demand greater transparency across organizations and their supply chains, they rely on accredited certificates to make important decisions in many processes like procurement, transportation, delivery, evaluating suppliers and customer requirements, among others. These certificates serve as a written demonstration of supply chains’ compliance and transparency.

Launched on 15 February 2020, IAF CertSearch, was established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and its members so that accredited certifications from around the world can be validated. IAF is the world association of “conformity assessment” accreditation bodies (ABs) and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, processes, services, persons and other similar programs of conformity assessment.

IAF CertSearch is a global database of accredited certificates issued by a certification body accredited by an IAF signatory member accreditation body under the main scope ISO/IEC 17021-1. Accredited certification bodies directly upload the details of their certified organizations in the database.

Aside from verifying the authenticity of certificates, IAF CertSearch is also a good source of information for research purposes. This was proven when an organization requested from PAB, a list of certification bodies which are accredited to certify for ISO 37001:2016 (Anti-bribery management system), a fairly new standard in the Philippines. Specifically, they wanted to know the number of countries with companies granted with certification based on this standard. They also would want to know if a certain company is the first company to be certified with the standard in the Philippines. PAB records only contains data of its accredited CBs. The IAF CertSearch website proved very helpful in generating the required information. It has a functionality that allows you to search for list of certification bodies globally. Filters like the CBs’ Accreditation Body, Standard they certify and Location, helped a great deal in identifying which CBs certify for a certain standard. All these information would allow the requester to validate the information that the company cited in their query, is indeed the first company in the Philippines to be certified with ISO ISO 37001:2016.

While it gives us verified information, it does not downplay data privacy of certified companies. Security is of utmost importance for IAF CertSearch, which is why a user can only validate the certificate if they know the company name or the certificate ID. This measure limits or restricts poaching of competitors’ clients to preserve healthy market competition.

IAF CertSearch is indeed a global database that pulls together the records of legitimately-released ISO certification of certified organizations. It is a reliable way of generating valid list of issued certificates that could strengthen trust throughout the supply chain. It is a single source of truth for management system certifications.

To date, IAF CertSearch boasts of 407,244 valid certifications across more than 150 economies, covering a range of sectors. It includes 973 CBs and 68 IAF Multilateral Recognition Agreement (MLA) signatory accreditation bodies globally. The aggregation of certification data in one online global database makes the validation of certifications across supply chains a breeze. The best thing about IAFSearch is, it is free!

IAFCertSearch, along with the ABs, CBs and certified organizations across various economies supports the goal of being “Certified Once, Accepted Everywhere”.

To try the functionality of IAF Certsearch, please see their website: You may also check the video posted on YouTube channel:, for more information.

Release Date: 23 April 2020