In recent years, “certification” and “certified” terms have been used ever more frequently in various aspects of Greek business and commercial life. Still, the term “Accreditation” is not being always fully understood, either as an individual concept or in relation with the other terms. Christos Nestoras, Managing Director of ESYD (Hellenic Accreditation System) talks to Ambrosia Magazine giving the overall idea of these relative new concepts and their importance in exports and the domestic market.
Interview: Charitomeni Vonta
Terms such as certification and accreditation have been turning up in discussions on products and services the last few years. Please, help us clarify the concepts and explain to us how they are related.
As you rightly said, these terms have been used in recent years in Greece, since previously there was no emphasis on these procedures, unlike the rest of Europe and America, where people know them and understand them as concepts. Moreover, the certification initially became known through the explosion of organic foods, which must be distinguished by specific standards of production, in order to be made available to the public. If we should give a standard definition to the word Certification, I’d say that it is the confirmation by a third independent body (certification company) that products, processes, systems or persons comply with the requirements of specific standard documents called “standards” or “specifications”, and guarantee quality. However, in order for the Certification to be valid, the organization that provides it must ensure that it has the appropriate technical competence and reliability to carry out the activities of certification, technical checks and tests. i.e. to have Accreditation. In all EU countries, there is only one Accreditation organization, therefore market control related to the term quality. For our country, that organization is ESYD.
How does ESYD checks and guarantees the adequacy of the certification bodies? Is this way of control considered sufficient?
ESYD operates under conditions that are subject to the Greek status, but also comply with terms and conditions imposed by the European legislation on Accreditation. It is a member of the E.A. (European Accreditation), and it is being checked by European assessors at a regular basis on the specifics of its operation. Technically speaking, ESYD is an arm of the Ministry of Development, though its operation system shares characteristics of a private body, with regular reviews and a significant daily workload.
During the last few months, ESYD participates in several exhibitions and one notices -perhaps for the first time- an extroversion mood of the organization. What does this extroversion comprise and why is it happening now?
In my opinion, both the business world and everyday consumers today are far more informed, ready and looking for quality in their commercial moves and decisions. That said, 2022 has being for ESYD a year of great extroversion. In many Greek cities, congresses and meetings have been organized with the aim of promoting the concept and benefits of Accreditation. Our participation in FOOD EXPO, the International Exhibition of Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki International Trade Fair), CHEM ‘22, in SIAL Paris, one of the largest exhibitions worldwide, at HORECA in February and at FOOD EXPO in March 2023, give scope to all -even to small independent producers- with accredited certification, to discover opportunities in Greece and abroad. This is greatly helped by the good cooperation within ESYD organization, and the trust shown in these efforts by the leadership of the Ministry of Development. The effort is collective and, through this extroversion, the goal is to let every interested party know what they can benefit from accreditation and that, of course, the Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD) is by everyone’s side -certification bodies, companies, independent persons-, with its advisory role, but also through specific actions.
Being in charge of this organization, would you please tell us, in closing, what you believe is ESYD’s major competitive advantage?
There are many competitive advantages, not just one, although it should be noted that ESYD as a monopoly organization of the Greek Public Sector, has no competition, since it is the only one in the provision of Accreditation. This doesn’t mean, however, that ESYD fails to struggle every day to be worthy of its role, to coordinate its actions with the European directives and procedures, while it tries to solve every problem in a short time, knowing how important speed is for the companies it oversees. I should also point out that ESYD is staffed by highly competent employees, both permanent and under contract, the vast majority of whom have postgraduate and/or doctoral degrees and great experience in Accreditation, and I cordially thank them on behalf of the entire Board of Directors. Given the good cooperation with the administration and the Minister of Development, Mr. A. Georgiadis, we strive for even more impressive results, but also for strengthening entrepreneurship -to the extend applicable to us, of course.
More information on www.esyd.gr