Are you a pest professional? Can you prove it? A new way to demonstrate true professionalism was launched in Brussels on Tuesday 17 March. Its called CEPA Certified and has been hailed as a positive step for the pest control industry by trade associations, pest control servicing companies, their suppliers, CEN (the European standards setting organisation) itself and, importantly, policy-makers at the European Commission.
As many readers will know CEPA, the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations, is the umbrella trade body for urban pest control in Europe.
Five years ago the European industry, with strong support in particular from the Italian Association ANID (read more here,) but also from other key associations and leaders in the sector, set about creating an official European Standard for pest management services. A workgroup was set-up to develop the standard led by international pest management consultant, the UK’s Rob Fryatt. Dr Chris Suter, then with the RSPH and Dr Peter Whittall, then chief scientific officer for Rentokil, were also very involved in the initiative. But it was a truly Europe-wide effort with more than 200 individuals from 18 countries contributing their skills.
|Bringing all this expertise together to specify the skills and competences that must be met by professional providers of pest management services has resulted in the publishing, on 4 March 2015, of the official European Standard EN16636.
This new standard is available for anyone to purchase and use but what will really turn it into something of true value is the establishment of a system that ensures those who claim to be following the standard actually are following it – in other words a proper auditing system to guarantee the quality of work and keep the cowboys out. This is where CEPA Certified comes in.
Opening proceedings, Bertrand Montmoreau said that he believed the launch of CEN standard EN16636 and CEPA Certified will help raise the bar for both pest control companies and their customers. “This is a positive step that can only be good news for everyone involved. It will ensure pest controllers can benchmark themselves against the best in Europe, and will have strong benefits for customers too. We know that in many European markets, there are some pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up-to-date with the latest products, pests and legislation, and that can create big problems for us all. But with the winning combination of the new Standard and the CEPA certification scheme, clients can be totally confident that they are getting a professional service.”
Also speaking at the launch, Dr Chris Suter, now an independent consultant, explained the reasoning behind CEPA Certified very succinctly: “We can’t stop other organisations from using the Standard but we can provide a way for people to recognise when the Standard is being used properly. The integrity and reputation of the Standard is critical. CEPA Certified allows users of pest management services to identify those providers that offer an effective, safe and legal service.”
How will it work?
Dr Chris Suter also summed-up the current situation very well by quoting none other than Sir Winston Churchill: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
In other words the European pest management industry now has a standard and through CEPA a template that can be adopted in every European country to ensure the standard really means something. It is now up to all of us in the industry to get involved. Keep an eye on future issue of Pest magazine when we will provide more information on how your company can become CEPA Certified.
A prize to aim for