Today a product's added value is its level of innovation or perceived quality. Firms wishing to highlight the qualitative and safety values of their products and to offer their consumers a production above the minimum reliability requirements by law, require a suitable product certification.
In general, you should distinguish between mandatory certification and voluntary certification; compulsory certification is required by law: e.g. the European Community imposes the CE marking in relation to certain products, particularly dangerous or associated to serious risks, as listed in the "New Approach" Directives. For these products, the CE marking is fundamental for free circulation within the single market. On the other hand, voluntary certification is a free choice of the manufacturer who decides to certify a product or process according to a particular technical standard both as a firm's internal guarantee and as strategic factor of competitiveness, by presenting a symbol of quality to his consumers; the resulting mark is a destinctive sign which offers additional guarantees on product quality, beyond possession of essential requirements set by EC directives.
Certification may be carried out by a Certification Body (for voluntary activities) or by a Notified Body (for mandatory CE marking) such as ECO Certificazioni, acting as third party in accordance with accreditations and notifications received by Accredia and competent Ministries.