European Committee for Standardization
How does ISO develop standards?
An ISO standard is developed by a panel of experts, within a technical committee. Once the need for a standard has been established, these experts meet to discuss and negotiate a draft standard. As soon as a draft has been developed it is shared with ISO’s members who are asked to comment and vote on it. If a consensus is reached the draft becomes an ISO standard, if not it goes back to the technical committee for further edits. Click on the diagram below for further details.
Every working day of the year, an average of eight technical meetings take place somewhere in the world. Increasingly, these are being held using electronic means, speeding up the development of standards and cutting travel costs.
Key principles in standard development
1. ISO standards respond to a need in the market
ISO does not decide when to develop a new standard, but responds to a request from industry or other stakeholders such as consumer groups. Typically, an industry sector or group communicates the need for a standard to its national member who then contacts ISO. Contact details for national members can be found in the list of members.
2. ISO standards are based on global expert opinion
ISO standards are developed by groups of experts from all over the world, that are part of larger groups called technical committees. These experts negotiate all aspects of the standard, including its scope, key definitions and content. Details can be found in the list of technical committees.
3. ISO standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process
The technical committees are made up of experts from the relevant industry, but also from consumer associations, academia, NGOs and government. Read more about who develops ISO standards.
4. ISO standards are based on a consensus
Developing ISO standards is a consensus-based approach and comments from all stakeholders are taken into account.