All you need to know about International Organisation for Standardization

ISO (International Organisation for Standardization):


It creates a document which provides the specifications, requirements, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure the products, materials, processes and services fit for the purpose.

Real and the measurable benefits to almost every sector, standards underpin the technologies we rely on and make ensure to give the quality that we expect.

There are about 21902 international standards which define the essential requirements to make the product and services to work. Not everything needs to be standardized, international standards is to address the shared challenges and the things that matter most.

How it started?

Initially it started with the very obvious things like weights and measures and over the last 50 years it has been developed into a family of standards that can cover everything from the shoes we stand in, to the networks which are connecting us invisibly.

To address very clearly, international standards is especially to provide the confidence to the customers that the product they are using is safe, reliable and of good quality.

For example: it takes a very big role that ISO standards on road safety, securing the medical packages are just a few things which help make the world a very safer place.

ISO standards touch almost all aspects of daily life and it works for both large and small businesses. With the international standards on water, soil quality, air, on emission of gases, radiation and environmental aspects of products, they protect the health of the people and brings so many benefits.

Structure and governance of ISO:


ISO is an independent non-governmental organisation which has a group of members from the national standards bodies of 162 countries. Members play a vital role in operation, conducting a meeting once a year for a general assembly that decides the strategic objectives.

Central secretariat coordinates the system and runs the day to day operations which has overseen by the secretary general.

General assembly is been a ultimate authority for the organisation. It is an annual meeting which is attended by the principal officers and the members.

ISO Council:

It takes care of the most governance issues. Council consists of 20 members and meets twice a year, they are ISO officers and the chairs of the policy development committees COPOLCO, CASCO and DEVCO. As per this council, the body members provide the guidance and management on specific issues:

President’s committee: They advises the council and oversees the implementation of the decision which are taken by the council and the general assembly.

COPOLCO: Providing guidance on the consumer issues.

CASCO: Guidance providing for the conformity assessment.

DEVCO: Providing of guidance related to the developing countries.

Ad hoc advisory committees: It is established to advance the goals and the strategic objectives of the organisation.

Council standing committees: Providing advise on financial and the strategic matters.

Membership to the council is open to all the member bodies and which rotates to make sure it is actually a representative of the member community.

Technical Management Board (TMB):

Management of the technical work is taken care by the technical management board. This board is responsible for the technical committees which lead the standard development and a strategic advisory boards created on technical matters.


International organisation for standardization (ISO) is a network of national standard bodies which represent ISO in their country. There are three different categories of members, each enjoying the different levels access and influence over the ISO system. This is inclusive and recognizing the needs and capacities of each member.

How ISO develop the standards?


To develop a standard, it takes a lot of people working together. ISO’s role is made up of independent technical experts which are nominated by our members.

Technical committee is formed by the group of members they are responsible for a specific subject area. Development of a draft is a process they begin with, it meets a specific market need. Then it will be shared for commenting and further discussion.

Voting process be the key for its consensus. If that is achieved then the draft is on its way to become the ISO standard. The draft can be modified and voting process can be done again if the agreement isn’t reached.

To develop a standard, it almost takes around 3 years from the first proposal to the final publication.

Key principles in standard development:

ISO standards are based on the global expert opinion:

From all over the world, ISO standards are developed by the group of experts that are part of large groups called technical committees. They can negotiate all the standard including its key definition, scope and content.

ISO standards respond to a need in the market:

ISO not decide about developing a new standard but it responds to a request from the stakeholders or industry such as consumer groups. Actually, the group or an industrial sector communicates the need for a standard to its national member then he will contact with ISO.

ISO standards are based on a consensus:

ISO standards are developing based on a consensus based approach and comments from all the stakeholders are taken into account.

ISO standards are developed through the multi-stakeholders process:

The technical committees consists of group of experts from the relevant industry but also from academia, NGOs, consumer associations and government.

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