D&R Insights: Latest trends in Drivers, Benefits and Challenges of ASI Certification
ASI has released an analysis of a survey conducted to understand the key drivers, benefits, and challenges associated with ASI Certification.
25 April 2023
ASI has released an analysis of a survey conducted to understand the key drivers, benefits, and challenges associated with ASI Certification. This report analyses responses from entities that achieved their first Certification or Re-certification and provided feedback between November 2021 and November 2022. The report concludes with action areas for ASI to continue improving and communicating the value of its Standards.
In late 2021, ASI began surveying ASI Certified Members to understand what they saw as the drivers, benefits and challenges associated with ASI Certification. This survey is now analysed on a yearly basis, to monitor key trends and shifts over time. The latest set of data includes responses from Entities that achieved their first Certification or Re-certification and provided feedback between November 2021 and November 2022. There were 30 responses analysed, with a survey response rate for this period of 31%.
The reasons for achieving Performance Standard Certification have stayed consistent since the previous analysis, and include:
- Meeting customer expectations
- Improve responsible business practices
- Gain a competitive advantage
- Demonstrate responsible business practices.
The most common drivers for achieving Chain of Custody Certification included:
- Implementation of responsible sourcing
- Meeting customer demand.
By contrast, ‘meeting supplier expectations’ accounted for only 3 to 4% of respondents’ choices (for both Performance Standard and Chain of Custody Standard).
Compared to the previous cohort of responses (2017-2021), there has been a stark decrease in ‘understanding and reducing business risk’ as a driver for becoming Performance Standard, which in 2021-2022 was chosen by 0% of respondents (compared to being chosen by 40% of respondents in the 2017-2021 cohort). This may reflect a growing maturity and awareness of sustainability-related risks among the cohort, or it may be that externally focused drivers (responsible sourcing, customer demands) have become relatively more significant.
Overall, the perceived value of ASI Certification has stayed strongly positive through the years, with 83% of all participants in the 2021-2022 cohort stating that Certification was positive for their business. Over half (55%) of respondents in the 2021-2022 cohort noted having seen changes or improvements to business practices as a result of the ASI Certification.
While 55% of respondents foresaw no challenges to maintaining their ASI Certification in the future, 28% responded that they did anticipate challenges, with a further 20% unsure. Examples noted in a small number of qualitative responses included:
- Internal resources,
- Downstream (packaging) company buy-in,
- ASI Performance Standard V3 requirements related to independent verification of publicly disclosed energy and GHG emissions data under Principle 5.
ASI response/action areas
- ASI should continue to raise awareness of the value of driving sustainable practices and traceability all along the value chain, and the role that CoC Certification can play to support that.
- Regular ASI Standards and Guidance revisions that keep pace with members‘ pain points and stakeholder expectations, and tools for implementation that are being made available to members.
- ASI should continue to capture the business benefits through open and targeted feedback channels (such as this survey) and use insights to strengthen and communicate the business case of using the ASI Standard(s) to all actors along the value chain.
Learning and Assurance
- ASI will continue to conduct calibration calls for ASI auditors where there are identified gaps or inconsistencies.
- ASI is currently building a new version of elementAL 2.0 in a new hosting environment, with the aim to launch it by the end of 2023. Feedback from all users is being taken into account as part of the development process.
- Options for AI-generated translations continue to be explored while maintaining a focus on accuracy and data governance.
- ASI will continue to respond to evolving expectations by preparing and actioning regular updates to the Guidance documents, ASI Assurance Manual, Claims Guide, and/or procedural updates. This can be done through various channels, including this Certification Survey, Standards consultations, general feedback, calibration calls with Auditors, and Working Groups and Standards Committee meetings, ASI will continue to identify areas for improvement and clarification.
- ASI will continue to translate all updates to both normative and non-normative documents in the various ASI languages (French, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese).
- ASI should consider adding other languages in the learning videos as captions to reflect the 6 ASI languages.
We sincerely thank the individuals who responded on behalf of their Member company. This has enabled the identification of a number of improvements and action areas for ASI, both on the short and long-term horizon.
 See ASI Standards Setting and Revision Procedure V4: https://aluminium-stewardship.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/ASI-Standards-Setting-and-Revision-Procedure-V4.pdf
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