the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification was founded in 1986, coinciding with Spain's accession to the European Economic Community. The opening of borders that this represented was at once a huge opportunity and a tremendous challenge for Spanish products.
Prior to this date, standardisation was the responsibility of the Spanish Institute of Rationalisation and Standardisation (IRANOR), a public company created in 1945 under the Spanish National Research Council. Spain's economic and public administration sectors agreed the country needed a similar organisation to those already existing in other European countries. Thus, all standardisation and certification activities moved to the private initiative with the setting up of a private, non-profit, independent organisation. The objective was to spread the culture of quality throughout the Spanish productive fabric in order to improve its competitiveness.
The first year saw the creation of the first 24 technical standardisation committees, mostly as a result of the transfer of IRANOR's technical operations, and a basic body of 7810 standards was established, also inherited from this organisation. One year later, the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification began representing Spain before European bodies (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and international organisations (ISO and IEC).
There are currently more than 200 technical standardisation committees, on which nearly 6000 experts participate. Their work is internationally recognised, as demostrated by the fact that increasingly more standards developed in Spain are used as a benchmark for the creation of European and international standards.
Also in 1986, the basic infrastructure was put in place in order to offer certification services, which at that point were confined exclusively to product certification. Thus the first technical certification committees were the ones for plastics and household appliances. More and more committees were gradually formed, until the current figure of 70 was reached. In the first decade, product certification was used for construction and electrical equipment. It was only at the end of the 1990s that it was extended to new fields such as food, handicrafts and services.
In 1989 AENOR began to certify management systems in accordance with the UNE-EN ISO 9001 Standard, and this activity has continued to develop unarrested before surpassing the 26,000 certificate mark. In the 1990s, this certification was predominantly required by purely industrial organisations, but, following the turn of the century, with the publication of a new version of the ISO 9001 Standard in the year 2000, the remit was extended to include service organisations and SMEs.
The 1992 Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, heralded the beginning of the development of environmental policies. The institution began to work in this field that same year, before issuing its first environmental management system certificates in 1994. The second most implemented management system, AENOR has issued 6900 of these certificates.
In 2016 30 years passed since the creation of the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification. AENOR has evolved in accordance with the needs of producers, most of whom are represented among our members. This development has taken place both in its extensive portfolio of services and in the way they are provided, constantly gaining in speed of response, flexibility and client orientation.
The change of model emerges in 2017, approved by the members of the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification, through which activities are undertaken in two organisations. The Spanish Association for Standardisation-UNE develops standardisation and cooperation. Furthermore AENOR, a commercial entity, works in the fields of conformity assessment and other related areas, such as training and the sale of publications. It undertakes this step with the aim of strengthening, in the long term, the ability to offering services to meet the evolving needs of the economic fabric.
In the area of standardisation, UNE offers one of the most complete catalogues of technical standards in the world, with more than 31,500 documents, making them available to organisations throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Consensus, openness and transparency are the essential principles that characterise the work of the more than 11,000 experts from 5,000 organisations who participate in UNE's technical standardisation committees. Furthermore, its cooperation activity makes it an outstanding development agent, providing the creation and development of quality infrastructures; having developed until now nearly 900 projects.
In the field of conformity assessment, AENOR is the Spanish benchmark certification agency, assisting companies in their international expansion in terms of implementation in other markets and product exportation. The 22,500 certificates currently in force for management systems and the more than 106,000 certified products support organisations in fields such as Quality Management, Environmental Management, R&D&I, Occupational Health and Safety, Energy Efficiency, Social Responsibility and Risk Management. The organisation has also carried out more than 400 environmental verifications and validations and over 10,300 inspections.
In the field of analysis and testing, AENOR works with two benchmark laboratories: AENOR Laboratory, integrated in AENOR, and the Centro de Ensayos, Innovación y Servicios (CEIS), 85% of which is owned by the Spanish Association for Standardisation-UNE. In 2015 AENOR Laboratorio completed more than 102,000 analyses for the food sector, while CEIS has extended its services for oils, plastic piping and heating equipment.
On the other hand, AENOR plays an important role in promoting the culture of quality through its training activities and information services. In 2015 the number of courses given rose by 30% and, in practically the same proportion, the number of students trained. Similarly, the sale of standards and publications increased by 16%.
As a global organisation, the international activity of AENOR is growing year by year. This can be seen in different fields: certification, training, and inspection, validation and verification services. Via one or more of these activities, AENOR is currently working in 78 countries in America, Europe, Asia and Africa.