ASI Certification: Opening Doors for MSMEs to Drive Sustainable Change
Both Performance and Chain of Custody certification standards were developed with an implementation lens that make them accessible to businesses of all sizes. From the small single site entity with a very focused supply chain activity to the vertically integrated multinational corporation, ASI Certification is applicable to all.
28 June 2023
It is often assumed that certification standards are written for large corporations and therefore cannot be applied to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Implementing a sustainability certification can be challenging for SMEs due to limited access to resources, expertise, and formal management systems, making it harder to meet the requirements and documentation expectations.
However, in ASI’s context, both certification standards (Performance and Chain of Custody) were developed with an implementation lens that make them accessible to businesses of all sizes. From the small single site entity with a very focused supply chain activity to the vertically integrated multinational corporation, ASI Certification is applicable to all.
A recent review of the composition of our membership showed that 73% of members commercially engaged in the aluminium supply chain i.e. members in our Production and Transformation, Industrial Users, Downstream Supporters and General Supporters classes each had a turnover of less than $1Billion, and are therefore classified as MSMEs by ASI’s definition. ASI is therefore very mindful of the contribution of MSMEs to our mission to foster the responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium.
ASI recognises the important role that MSMEs play in supporting resilient supply chains. To ensure that MSMEs needs are properly addressed, there are small business representatives in all five ASI Working Groups, which are an important avenue for members and stakeholders to engage and contribute expertise and perspectives on ASI Standards and broader sustainability priorities.
ASI’s Standard Guidance also makes reference to ‘smaller Businesses’, recognising for instance, that in smaller Businesses, Management Systems may be less formal but still effective. For example, it is much easier to communicate Policies and programs to a small workforce, thereby reducing the need for extensive documentation. Senior managers often work closer to other employees of the Business. This can create a high degree of awareness of the issues and risks which need to be managed. This recognition of some of the implementation differences between small and large businesses does not mean that the Assurance leading to ASI Certification will be less rigorous for smaller Businesses, rather the relevant Objective Evidence of Conformance may differ. Auditors are therefore instructed to look for adequate proof of Conformance as appropriate to the size of the organisation.
The inclusivity of ASI Certification Standards means that small businesses can join ASI and benchmark their ESG performance against an internationally recognised Standard. When access to a wide range of sustainability expertise is limited, MSMEs can benefit from ASI’s learning program, which has a range of courses designed to build members’ capacity to implement the Standards’ criteria as well as drive change. ASI Registered Specialists can also help MSMEs tackle issues for which they may not have the necessary internal expertise.
The growing participation of MSMEs in the ASI Standards program plays a crucial role to enable the aluminium value chain to collectively achieve positive global change.
If you would like to know more about how to join ASI, please contact Chinelo Etiaba, Membership Director.
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