International Organization of Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization is a voluntary federation of the standards setting bodies of more than 150 nations. The ISO was first established in 1946-47 in Geneva under the auspices of the UN. The mission of the ISO is to encourage the development of standards and related activities to foster global trade and cooperation on economic, intellectual, scientific and technological issues.
The ISO is the largest global organization involved in the development of voluntary international standards. International standards are very important as they provide specifications for products, services and good practices, which makes business and trade more efficient and effective. All ISO standards are developed through global consensus among ISO members, and these standards are of great value in facilitating international trade.
ISO is involved in creating standards in all fields, including computers and data communications, but excluding electrical and electronic (International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC) and telecommunications (International Telecommunications Union — Telecommunications Standard Sector).
As of 2013, the ISO has approved and published more than 19,500 International Standards related to virtually every aspect of technology and manufacturing.
The ISO has members from 162 countries and 3 368 technical bodies today, and all have some role in the development of standards. The ISO’s Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland is home to both testing labs and offices, and more than 150 full-time employees work there.