Supply Chain and Product Assurance
Building trust through digital assurance
The Supply Chain and Product Assurance business area was carved out from Business Assurance at the beginning of 2021.
Throughout 2021, DNV improved its Supply Chain and Product Assurance service offerings to enhance the traceability, sustainability, safety and quality of companies’ products and processes and thus satisfy ever more stringent requirements from various stakeholders. Regulatory pressure and heightening consumer awareness of brand ethics continue to contribute to the demand for transparency and third-party verification throughout the value chain, which DNV is expertly placed to provide.
The main ESG topic for companies in 2021 was the impending finalization of the EU Taxonomy as part of the European Green Deal. The first Delegated Act was approved by the EU law makers in December 2021, and in other parts of the world – notably in China and the ASEAN countries – other taxonomies are under development.
DNV is currently assisting the ASEAN Taxonomy Board with the development of the ASEAN Taxonomy. Furthermore, DNV has cemented its position as a provider of secondparty opinions in green loan and bond markets, combining capital markets, sustainability, and engineering expertise to strongly support investors and companies.
The sustainability-linked bond market saw a sharp increase throughout 2021. Several existing and upcoming regulatory changes are forcing customers to disclose ESG-related data, and investors are eager to participate in offerings of sustainable financial instruments in both the loan and bond markets. DNV continues to support customers with a range of sustainability offerings, including the assessment of strategic materiality and taxonomy alignment, assurance of emissions data, and analysis of environmental, social, and governance factors along the entire supply chain.
In 2021, DNV made significant changes to the service line perimeter of product assurance following its new organization and strategy to 2025. In 2022, DNV will seize opportunities for organic growth in emerging areas, including within railway certification and assurance services, functional safety services, and industrial product assurance training. This also allows us to serve a wider segment of the construction sector with regard to the safety of machinery, including robots.
In addition, following Brexit, a new market access scheme, UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed), has been launched in the United Kingdom. As of 2021, DNV has become a UK Conformity Assessment Body to provide continued access to this important market for global manufacturers.
During the year, DNV further strengthened its portfolio around product traceability and, more widely, digital product passports and digital claim validation. We launched Tag.Trace.Trust., a digital product passport platform enabling customers to access independently validated information on a product, such as its environmental footprint, provenance, or authenticity.
DNV also launched several traceability services for commodities, such as recycled ocean plastics’ chain-of-custody, and for fuel integrity, covering for example provenance, channel control, and green or hybrid fuels, throughout the entire supply chain.
Furthermore, DNV helped to fight off the pandemic by providing the San Marino Green Pass, a digital COVID-19 certificate proving a person’s vaccination/test/recovery status. The San Marino Green Pass leverages DNV’s digital certification infrastructure, which was built with support from VeChain, one of the world’s leading blockchain platforms.
Providing transparency to consumers on how a brand is acting on its sustainability commitments is becoming increasingly important. This year, a global wine producer engaged DNV to help demonstrate the carbon footprint of one of its products in a verified and trusted way.
DNV provided a digital solution to engage consumers at product level by showcasing the bottle’s carbon footprint through verified product claims (based on ISO 14067) directly on the label. This delivered an easily accessible and real-time check of the footprint’s authenticity, with anyone being able to scan the QR code to access more information using a smart device (such as a smartphone).
This solution provides the basis for a digital ecosystem in which the carbon footprint calculation can be extended to reporting and displaying more details of the product along the value and distribution chain.
Circularity has proven to be fundamental in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2021, DNV conducted an industry survey which highlighted that the circular economy is attracting increased attention from the public as well as from businesses. Of the respondents, 12% put the circular economy at the centre of their business model and 26% had embedded the circular economy in their sustainability strategy.
Digital technologies are essential for data management, for the traceability of materials and products, and for the implementation of circular business models. DNV deploys many digital services such as traceability solutions to harness sustainability data in supply chains as well as blockchain, to facilitate data sharing, handle digital assets (such as a twin of a physical product), and to reward users in takeback schemes in a more data-driven circular economy.
The year’s disruptions and delays in food and other industry supply chains caused problems with sourcing ingredients, processing, packaging, delivery, and meeting supply and demand, leading to a need for the smarter onboarding of new suppliers and co-manufacturing partners. 2021 saw the launch of DNV’s supplier audit reporting tool, which enhances traditional reporting and allows the monitoring and analysis of results across a global network of audits.
Moreover, DNV has developed digital solutions to help industries meet consumer demands for transparency and trust. Within online retail, businesses are increasingly relying on a third party such as DNV to support them with assurance and compliance programmes throughout their supply chains.
This year, DNV also partnered with ENFIT and launched ENFIT HQF certification, a standard that is applicable to all cleaning stations and covers the hygienic cleaning of bulk transport containers. It is intended to ensure food safety and prevent cross-contamination in the transport and distribution chain.
The demand for medical and healthcare product certification services continued to be very high across the world during the year. The main motivator for this was the repealing of the Medical Device Directive in 2021, which encouraged many manufacturers to seek re-certification from DNV within that scheme.
DNV is also one of the market’s leading certifiers of compliance with the recently enacted Medical Device Regulation (MDR). On top of this, DNV ended the year by acquiring leading Germany-based notified body MEDCERT, and plans to grow further in this area, both organically and inorganically.