Business Assurance

Assuring trust and transparency

The need for trust is growing in a rapidly digitized world. Consumers are more conscious about their consumption, seeking assurance of authenticity, intentions and quality. Coupled with the decline in brand loyalty, companies are looking to build trust through the products they sell.

Blockchain-enabled solutions and ecosystems, combined with independent assurance and industry expertise, are helping to drive the transformation needed in several industries. With the right audit expertise, industry knowledge and technology partners, DNV GL is ideally positioned to build trust and advance progress on the SDGs, evolving our certification body role into that of a truly global assurance provider.

Digital assurance solutions

DNV GL has made significant advances in providing digital solutions for consumer-packaged goods, digital ecosystems and circular economies.

In collaboration with blockchain technology partner VeChain, we have continued to explore innovative, digital solutions for customers. After its formal launch last January, My Story™ has developed into a more modular and scalable infrastructure. Powered by VeChainThor and combined with DNV GL’s independent assurance and industry expertise, My Story™ tells the verified history of a product, giving consumers confidence in what they are buying and allowing brands to differentiate themselves. More consumer goods from the food & beverage and fashion sectors are being added to the portfolio.

VeChain and DNV GL have also developed blockchain-powered solutions that incentivize sustainable behaviour, rewarding users with tokens that can be exchanged for products or services in a linked marketplace. Last year’s projects range from the small nation of San Marino, which aims to become the world’s first carbon neutral country, to the digital carbon ecosystem created by appliance manufacturer Haier. 

As the use of blockchain technology increases, a governance model that maintains the technology’s integrity while allowing the technology to flourish is essential. INATBA, the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications, was launched in April, with DNV GL as one of its founding members. This EU-backed initiative promotes an open and transparent governance model that serves stakeholders in the private and public sectors using blockchain and other distributed ledger technology infrastructure and applications. The initiative includes private and public partners from across the ecosystem.

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Supply chain transparency and trust

The demand for social and ethical supplier audits is growing. Consumer demands and investor scrutiny of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance require companies to take a more holistic approach to managing their supply chains. Demand for sustainable products also leads to a need to ensure the traceability of goods and transparency of supply chains.

One example of how standards and verification from independent trusted parties can play a definite role in solving business and societal challenges is a project just launched with The Ocean Cleanup. DNV GL has partnered with The Ocean Cleanup to establish best-practice requirements to verify the chain of custody of reclaimed plastic as it is turned from waste into new valuable products. Read more in Sustainable Innovations.

In order to achieve transparency in their supply chains, companies are also turning to blockchain-powered solutions and other digital technologies to optimize their processes and track and trace products throughout product life cycles. Digital solutions and assurance guarantee the immutability of data, and enable the collection and verification of data. The collection of data also allows producers to transform their value chains and operate more efficiently.

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Customers find data protection challenging

A DNV GL ViewPoint Survey carried out in 2019 highlighted that most firms fail to fully master data protection; 64% indicated human factors as the biggest risk and that 90% of security breaches start due to human error. However, the vast majority of companies that have certified their management system to the ISO/EN 27001 standard experienced greater management commitment and were able to implement appropriate technical and organizational security measures.

ISO also launched its Privacy Information Management Systems standard (ISO/EN 27701), helping companies address new legislation such as GDPR. The ISO certification requires policies, roles and responsibilities to be clearly defined, technologies and information management processes put in place and staff trained. Certification can also ensure legal compliance.

DNV GL continues its commitment to developing standards by participating in ISO technical committees. Standards help to build trust, facilitate trade and foster innovation, but must continue to evolve, more rapidly, to fit today’s business context and digital environment. 

In 2019, there was an expected drop in management system certifications after the bumper year before. Our training portfolio grew, complemented by the launch of an online learning management platform. The occupational health and safety standard ISO 45001 is still under migration and will close in 2021.

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Growing product assurance

Product assurance grew by 6.8%, a rate well above that of the general Test, Inspection & Certification industry. Medical devices and hazardous area certification, in addition to functional safety and inspection, continue to be primary drivers of growth. This growth rate was a result of the strategic focus on high-value, high-growth segments coupled with investment in the DNV GL Presafe Group.

Pending the migration to the EU Medical Device Regulation coming into force in 2020, considerable investments have been made in the notified body application to Norwegian authorities. With the new regulation and higher quality demands for notified bodies, strong market growth is expected.

The continued strong performance in automotive function safety, in particular, is strengthening DNV GL’s market position in Japan and Korea. This foothold was expanded to China to serve the expected trend towards semi- and fully autonomous vehicles.

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Advancing strategic industries

The healthcare sector has a significant potential to use digital solutions to improve the quality of care and patient safety through a more dynamic hospital accreditation scheme and by making medical device regulation compliance more efficient. DNV GL experienced significant growth in hospital accreditations in the United States and China.

Within the food and beverage industry, food safety continues to be a major concern worldwide. Globally, almost one in 10 people fall ill every year owing to food safety issues, and there are an estimated 420,000 fatalities a year. The industry recognizes these challenges and accepts the importance of standards and certification to safeguard consumers.

This view was corroborated in DNV GL’s Viewpoint survey involving 1,700 food & beverage companies. In addition, companies with advanced food safety management systems are adding food safety culture programmes to strengthen their efforts to ensure food safety. While the DNV GL survey indicates less certainty about how digital technologies can support food safety efforts, companies are already moving to apply blockchain-enabled solutions. DNV GL’s My Story™ and other digital solutions are used to manage, track and communicate product stories to consumers in an immediate and trusted way.

Seafood continues to be a strategic area for DNV GL. Partnering with Deloitte, an aquaculture report looking into how blockchain can revitalize trust in the seafood industry by boosting transparency was released at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in March.

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