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International Standards bring technological, economic and societal benefits. They help to harmonize technical specifications of products and services making industry more efficient and breaking down barriers to international trade. Conformity to International Standards helps reassure consumers that products are safe, efficient and good for the environment.

Benefits of standards: the ISO Materials

ISO has developed materials describing the economic and social benefits of standards, the ISO Materials. They are intended to be shared with decision makers and stakeholders as concrete examples of the value of standards.

Facts and figures about the benefits of standards

The repository of studies on economic and social benefits of standards provides an insight of the approaches and results of the studies undertaken by different authors, such as national and international standards bodies, research institutes, universities and other international agencies.

For business

International Standards are strategic tools and guidelines to help companies tackle some of the most demanding challenges of modern business. They ensure that business operations are as efficient as possible, increase productivity and help companies access new markets.

Benefits include:

  • Cost savings - International Standards help optimise operations and therefore improve the bottom line
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction - International Standards help improve quality, enhance customer satisfaction and increase sales
  • Access to new markets - International Standards help prevent trade barriers and open up global markets
  • Increased market share - International Standards help increase productivity and competitive advantage
  • Environmental benefits - International Standards help reduce negative impacts on the environment

Businesses also benefit from taking part in the standard development process. Read more about the benefits of getting involved in standards development.

For Society

ISO has over 19 500 standards touching almost all aspects of daily life.

When products and services conform to International Standards consumers can have confidence that they are safe, reliable and of good quality. For example, ISO's standards on road safety, toy safety and secure medical packaging are just a selection of those that help make the world a safer place.

To make sure that the benefits of ISO International Standards are as broad as possible, ISO supports the involvement of consumers in standard development work with its Committee on consumer policy(COPOLCO).

International Standards on air, water and soil quality, on emissions of gases and radiation and environmental aspects of products contribute to efforts to preserve the environment and the health of citizens.

For government

ISO standards draw on international expertise and experience and are therefore a vital resource for governments when developing public policy.

National governments can use ISO standards to support public policy, for example, by referencing ISO standards in regulations. This has a number of benefits, including:

  • Expert opinion - ISO standards are developed by experts. By integrating an ISO standard into national regulation, governments can benefit from the opinion of experts without having to call on their services directly.
  • Opening up world trade - ISO standards are international and adopted by many governments. By integrating ISO standards into national regulation, governments help to ensure that requirements for imports and exports are the same the world over, therefore facilitating the movement of goods, services and technologies from country to country.

For more information on the advantages and benefits of using ISO standards to support public policy initiatives, see www.iso.org/policy, or download our brochure Using ISO and IEC standards to support public policy.