Frequently Asked Questions
What is a GC-Mark?
A GC-Mark is a seal that indicates that a product, service or organization fulfills a number of relevant requirements. Based upon traditional national and international standards, DQS CFS has identified and developed criteria for excellence in quality, safety, hygiene, sustainability, and customer-friendliness. Each of the more than 40 GC-Marks has a corresponding set of requirements. Companies and organizations can request a voluntary assessment that analyzes whether they meet the relevant GC-Mark criteria.
What are the benefits of the GC-Marks?
- Unlike traditional standards, GC-Marks demonstrate excellence in a way that is easily understandable for the intended target group. Most consumers have a hard time understanding the relevance of traditional certification, with its multitude of abbreviations and seemingly arbitrary numbers. By contrast, the designations of the GC-Marks are clear and transparent.
- GC-Marks can be used on websites, in brochures, on products, and on infrastructure: they are flexible and visually attractive labels suitable for promotional purposes. As such, they can easily be integrated in the marketing and branding strategy of your organization.
- A GC-Mark is more than a label: because it is based on solid criteria and a thorough on-site assessment, it is a value-adding experience for your organization. Our competent auditors point out potential for improvement and help you increase efficiency and service quality.
What kinds of GC-Marks are there?
Our catalogue offers more than 40 GC-Marks to certify quality, safety, sustainability, and hygiene. They focus upon different parameters, including the durability of products, the environmental impact of companies, the quality of services, compliance with laws and regulations, the reliability of suppliers, and the social responsibility of organizations. For every individual GC-Mark, there is a corresponding list of criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to receive the Mark.
Which sectors can benefit from GC-Marks?
Specific GC-Mark series are available for hotels & restaurants, transportation, logistics and packaging, for manufacturers and suppliers of consumer goods, and for public facilities. In addition, our GC-Marks for organizations offer generic solutions across different sectors. Upon request, DQS CFS also develops tailor-made GC-Marks for suppliers, as well as voluntary certification standards for members of associations and federations.
How can I obtain the GC-Mark?
Interested? Based upon the scope of the GC-Mark, the size of the organization and the type of goods and services, DQS CFS will provide a quote. After a preparatory self-assessment, an on-site assessment will take place to ensure that the relevant criteria have been met. Once a GC-Mark has been awarded, it remains valid for one year.
What are the criteria behind the GC-Marks?
DQS has developed a checklist of criteria for every GC-Mark. The criteria are based on nationally and internationally recognized norms and regulations, to make sure that the GC-Mark program is compatible with existing quality/energy/hygiene management systems. The checklist is made available before the on-site assessment, so that organizations have the opportunity to prepare for the assessment and to remedy potential non-conformities.
What happens if my product or organization does not meet the criteria?
By making available an optional self-assessment before the on-site audit, DQS aims to avoid this scenario by giving organizations the opportunity to prepare. Nevertheless, should an auditor discover major non-conformities, we cannot issue a certificate until these have been resolved.
How do GC-Marks relate to ISO certification? Can I combine the audits?
- The criteria specified in the GC-Mark checklists are based upon existing international standards whenever this is possible. If your organization already meets the requirements of a relevant standard, this is already a major step towards fulfilling the criteria for the GC-Mark. DQS can then issue your GC-Mark based upon your existing certification, or the assessment for an upcoming certification can be combined to reduce audit time and save costs (in case your earlier certificates were not issued by DQS, a delta audit may be an option if they are to be taken into account).
- It is not necessary to have or obtain an ISO certificate in order to receive the GC-Mark.
- Unlike the ISO certificates, the GC-Marks are visually attractive and easily understandable for all stakeholders, including consumers and the general public.
What are the conditions of use for the GC-Marks?
The GC-Mark and the certificate are valid for a period of one year, beginning from the day the certificate has been issued. During this period, the use of the GC-Mark for marketing purposes is permitted. A hard copy as well as a digital copy of the GC-Mark will be made available. These may be used to demonstrate conformity, and can be displayed on websites, products, facilities, and marketing material. The GC-Mark certificate and seal remain the property of DQS CFS and may not be altered or modified.
Who should I contact for more information?
If you do not find what you are looking for on our dedicated website, www.gc-mark.com, simply write an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office in Frankfurt, Germany (+49 69 9 54 27 0). We will be glad to help!