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About ISO

What does ISO Stand For?

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards.

ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 163 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.

ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. On the one hand, many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. On the other hand, other members have their roots uniquely in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations.

Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.

ISO's name

Because "International Organization for Standardization" would have different acronyms in different languages ("IOS" in English, "OIN" in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), its founders decided to give it also a short, all-purpose name. They chose "ISO", derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal". Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of the organization's name is always ISO.

International Standards

ISO has developed over 19 000 International Standards on a variety of subjects and more than 1000 new ISO standards are published every year. The full range of technical fields can be seen from the listing International Standards. Users can browse that listing to find bibliographic information on each standard and, in many cases, a brief abstract. The online ISO Standards listing integrates both the ISO Catalogue of published standards and the ISO Technical programme of standards under development.

For a document to be approved and published as a ISO international standard, it must be endorsed by no less than two-thirds of the ISO national members who have engaged in its development, and also not be rejected by more than a quarter of all ISO members who vote on the document. Click here to view the complete Catalogue of ISO standards.

Why standards?

Standards make an enormous and positive contribution to most aspects of our lives. Standards ensure desirable characteristics of products and services such as quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability - and at an economical cost.

When products and services meet our expectations, we tend to take this for granted and be unaware of the role of standards. However, when standards are absent, we soon notice. We soon care when products turn out to be of poor quality, do not fit, are incompatible with equipment that we already have, are unreliable or dangerous. When products, systems, machinery and devices work well and safely, it is often because they meet standards. And the organization responsible for many thousands of the standards which benefit the world is ISO.

ISO members

ISO presently has 162 countries associated with it as members. There are three types of ISO membership:

Member bodies national standard bodies that represent each country and they are the only members in ISO that have voting privileges.

Correspondent members- countries that do not have their own standards body. They do not participate in the development and distribution of standards; but they are aware of them.

Subscriber members countries with small or limited economies. They pay much lesser membership fees than other members; but they are privy to the development of standards.

What is ISO Certification?

It is often referred to the certification against the ISO 9001:2008 standard. The ISO certificate is awarded to the organization for showing the compliance at the times of certification audits against the selected standard. The organization has to Establish, Document, Implement, Maintain and Monitor the management system before proceeding for the certification audit. The certification audit is conducted by the selected Certification Body or the Conformity Assessment Body. However it is not mandatory to opt for the certification audit to implement the said standard.

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