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About the International Standards Organization ISO

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Because "International Organization for Standardization" would have different acronyms in different languages ("IOS" in English, "OIN" in French for organization 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.

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.

Why standards matter

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.

When standards are absent, we soon notice.

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