You've probably heard about International Standards before, even if they weren't explained in detail. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a nongovernmental body that sets agreed-upon standards throughout a number of different fields and industries across 161 nations. Each country has a single ISO member, and individuals or companies are not allowed to become ISO members. This methodology ensures consistency and limits confusion, since there's a single active member for each nation.
Experts and Professionals
ISO standards aren't established arbitrarily or by lottery. The standards are developed by consensus, among experts and professionals working within each industry. Engineers, chemists, ecologists, medical personnel, and other experts are always directly involved in compiling the research and reviewing standards before anything is ever finalized. Since technology is always developing and research is ongoing, standards are ultimately subject to change, but any changes made are based on sound practices within each field.
ISO has published 22,269 International Standards and related documents. As you might imagine, this means that virtually every industry is covered to some degree. This includes everything from food safety and agriculture to automobiles and healthcare. Over the past several decades, technology has developed at an unprecedented pace. As a result, standards needed to be set for international businesses and even nations. After all, without established standards, it's difficult to even discuss technically-demanding work, much less come to a point of agreement. ISO was up to the task, and industries ranging from fossil fuels to data management have had ISO standards developed for them.
Safety and Trade
One of the main goals of ISO International Standards is to ensure that products and services are safe. When it comes to safety, that doesn't just mean safe to use. Safeguards must be in place to protect workers, local communities, the environment, and customers. Whether you work within a given industry or you're a consumer, safety standards are established to help protect you from accidents or unintended harm. ISO classification
is part of that process. This also aids in streamlining trade and helps businesses to have readily acknowledged standards that are supported across international boundaries.