What does Provisional Status Certification mean?
When ASI issues a Provisional Certification, it means that the certifying Entity has not met the requirements for full ASI certification. In this case, the Provisional Certification serves as a strategic and flexible approach for aluminium sector actors to gain access to ASI’s sustainability standards framework, learn, and improve their practices over time.
30 January 2024
Global voluntary sustainability certification systems such as ASI need to take into consideration diverse geographies, political jurisdictions, supply chains, resource availability, business size, and production processes. They must also accommodate for a broad range of awareness and implementation of sustainable practices.
When ASI issues a Provisional Certification, it means that the certifying Entity has not met the requirements for full ASI certification. In this case, the Provisional Certification serves as a strategic and flexible approach for aluminium sector actors to gain access to ASI’s sustainability standards framework, learn, and improve their practices over time. It provides an entry point into the Standard’s diverse ESG criteria, allowing participation at an initial level while also demonstrating a commitment to industry-wide sustainability goals.
Similarly, as the ASI Standards evolve, Provisional Certifications also provide a way for Entities certified to earlier versions of the Standards to align their practices to updated Standard criteria. In this context, over the past year, ASI Members transitioning to Version 3 of the ASI Performance Standard, have seen an increase in the number of major non-conformances identified during ASI certification audits, resulting in more Certifications with Provisional status.
This article aims to demystify the Provisional Certification in the context of the ASI Standards.
When is a Provisional Certification issued?
A Provisional Certification is issued when there is at least one major non-conformance identified during an audit. The purpose of this one-year Provisional Certification period is to incentivise improvement and facilitate a targeted transition toward full conformance to the relevant Standard. Since Members are at risk of losing their ASI membership if Certification is not achieved within the initial two-year period, the Provisional Certification enables members to maintain their ASI membership while implementing corrective actions. It is expected that all Provisional Certifications will transition to a full Certification as soon as possible within the one-year validity period. In most instances this is achieved at the first surveillance audit, typically six months after the awarding of Provisional Certification.
What are the consequences of receiving a Provisional Certification?
Members undergoing audits are required to formulate Corrective Action Plans for all identified non-conformances, with a specific focus on Major Non-Conformances. In cases where there is at least one Major Non-Conformance (defined in Section 6.1 of the ASI Assurance Manual), a Provisional Certification of one year is issued so as to encourage improvement and targeted transition towards Conformance. If more than three Major Non-Conformances are found in any Audit, certification will not be issued. The Corrective Action Plans must receive approval from the Lead Auditor before the audit report is finalised. A one-year Provisional Certification is issued if all Major Non-Conformances are adequately addressed in the approved Corrective Action Plan(s).
Following the surveillance audit, mid-way through the Provisional Certification period, a Major Non-Conformance can be reclassified as a Minor Non-Conformance if it is no longer considered by the ASI Accredited Lead Auditor as a Major Non-Conformance. In such instances, the Provisional Certification is replaced with a three-year Full Certification.
Validity period of Provisional Certifications and suspension
Provisional Certification status is limited to two consecutive years (i.e., Major Non-Conformances identified in two consecutive Audits). If there is a Major Non-Conformance found in the third Audit, Certification will be suspended until the Entity can address the Non-Conformance(s) through Corrective Action(s). For example, a Major Non-Conformance identified in the initial Certification Audit results in a one-year Certification Period. If the Major Non-Conformance remains open at the end of the one year Provisional Certification period, then an additional and final ‘consecutive’ one-year Certification Period is permitted. If a Major Non-Conformance is still open following this second Provisional Certification, then ASI Certification is suspended.
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