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Accreditation: supporting net zero policies

UK government is committed to achieving its legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. As net zero policies are designed and implemented, and collaborative initiatives to achieve ambitious carbon emission targets are developed, credible standards and accredited conformity assessment will be key enablers of their robustness, effectiveness and sustained impact.

UKAS has an established track record in deploying accreditation to support  both government policy and market-led approaches in energy and environmental initiatives and to enable the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This underpins GHG emissions mitigation and clean energy generation and use, for example through work on GHG emissions assessments and carbon trading, validation of carbon neutrality claims, certification of microgeneration scheme technologies and the testing and inspection of wind, wave and nuclear power generators.

Frameworks and conformity assessment schemes in this area are reliant on accurate measurements, competent inspection, reliable testing and verifiable claims. Accreditation provides an independent and robust evaluation of bodies that test, measure, inspect, verify, and validate claims, and certify products, systems and personnel, which are activities fundamental to the success of these individual schemes.

UKAS accreditation thus plays a critical role in underpinning government policy and industry-led initiatives that aim to realise ambitious net zero targets. Where required, accreditation can support the demonstration of compliance with regulatory targets. Alternatively, regulatory bodies may choose to rely on market-based initiatives, without creating regulation, where accredited conformity assessment gives the necessary assurance that standards are being applied.

More detail follows on how UKAS accreditation supports specific energy and environmental initiatives.

Monitoring emissions

Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS) have proved to be an effective market-based tool for measuring, monitoring, reporting and ultimately reducing GHG emissions. Under the UK ETS (which has replaced the EU ETS in the UK), all submitted emission reports must be verified by an organisation that is accredited to ISO 14065:2013 Greenhouse gases – Requirements for greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies for use in accreditation or other forms of recognition.

Similar ETS requirements apply to the measurement of CO2 emissions from aviation. can be also verified under the voluntary CORSIA programme (Carbon Offsetting and Reporting Scheme for International Aviation), underpinned by UKAS accreditation.

Other UKAS accredited carbon measurement verification schemes include for product carbon footprinting and the Woodland Carbon Code forestry carbon sequestration scheme.

By being accredited to ISO 14065:2013, organisations continuously demonstrate that they can carry out validation and verification of emissions monitoring activities competently, consistently and impartially. This generates confidence for government, industry and end users in the accuracy of emissions data and ultimately the effectiveness of both market-led schemes and net zero policies.

Carbon offsetting

As with the emissions monitoring schemes outlined above, accredited verification to PAS 2060:2014 will provide a recognised method of substantiating the accuracy and extent of carbon neutrality claims.


Before the introduction of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) in 2006, government and industry initiatives in this fast-growing area were based entirely on self-certification. This lack of independent appraisal meant it was difficult for government, industry, and end users to have confidence in either the quality of microgeneration products or the competence of their installers.

The MCS is an independent UKAS accredited quality assurance scheme that provides market confidence in microgeneration products and installations without the need for direct government intervention. Under the MCS, products and installers must be MCS certified by a UKAS accredited Certification Body in order to be eligible for UK government financial incentives, such as the New In turn, Certification Bodies must demonstrate their own competence, impartiality and integrity to UKAS in order to be accredited under ISO/IEC 17065:2012 Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services. By assessing the activities of Conformity Assessment Bodies against the appropriate standard, accreditation of the MCS provides assurance to end users that renewable energy products are fit for purpose and that installers are competent to install them.

Renewable energy

Making better use of renewable resources is important for the reduction of fossil-fuel dependence, GHG emissions, and reaching net zero targets. In addition to accrediting microgeneration certification schemes, UKAS accredits testing and inspection bodies that examine solar, wind and wave energy installations.

UKAS accredited since 2005, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is the world’s first and only centre of its kind to offer open-sea testing of wave and tidal energy conversion systems at its purpose-built facilities. In addition to providing independently verified performance assessments through its laboratory that is accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories), EMEC also offers independent accredited inspection and verification of environmental products and systems in accordance with ISO/IEC 17020:2012 Conformity assessment — Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.

Similarly, Global Wind Service has become the UK’s first Type C Inspection Body to receive accreditation for the statutory inspection of all types of windfarms.

Together, the independent verification and testing of renewable energy systems help them improve quality and performance, whilst simultaneously enabling innovative and potentially more effective technologies to reach the market. These services are underpinned by accreditation, giving assurance to potential users and increasing market, consumer and regulatory confidence.

Energy management, energy efficiency

UKAS works with our customers and stakeholders to find solutions that will assist UK government, industry and society at large to meet net zero targets and achieve the wider UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To find out how accredited conformity assessment can provide assurance that will support environmental and sustainability objectives in your sector, contact UKAS on [email protected] or 01784 429000.