In essence, a standard is an agreed way of doing something. It could be about making a product, managing a process, delivering a service or supplying materials – standards can cover a huge range of activities undertaken by organizations and used by their customers

Standards are the distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their subject matter and who know the needs of the organisations they represent – people such as manufacturers, sellers, buyers, customers, trade associations, users or regulators.

Our portfolio extends to more than 30,000 current standards. They are designed for voluntary use so it’s up to you – you’re not forced to follow a set of rules that make life harder for you, you’re offered ways to do your work better.

Standards are knowledge. They are powerful tools that can help drive innovation and increase productivity. They can make organisations more successful and people’s everyday lives easier, safer and healthier.

The kinds of things that standards do

Standards cover a wide range of subjects from construction to nanotechnology, from energy management to health and safety, from footballs to goalposts. They can be very specific, such as to a particular type of product, or general such as management practices.

The point of a standard is to provide a reliable basis for people to share the same expectations about a product or service. This helps to:

  • facilitate trade
  • provide a framework for achieving economies, efficiencies and interoperability
  • enhance consumer protection and confidence.

Organisations might use:

  • a quality management standard to help them work more efficiently and reduce product failures
  • an environmental management standard to help reduce environmental impacts, reduce waste and be more sustainable
  • a health and safety standard to help reduce accidents in the workplace
  • an IT security standard to help keep sensitive information secure
  • an energy management standard to help cut energy consumption
  • a food safety standard to help prevent food from being contaminated
  • an interoperability standard to ensure that bank and credit cards fit into ATMs and can be used throughout the world.