About ISO

The International Standards Organization began in 1946 after World War II when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.’ On 23 February 1947 the new organization, ISO, officially began operations, and has become the primary tool for making commerce easier by providing assurance that companies were adhering to standards of quality and safety. ISO International Standards impact everyone, everywhere. Standards cover many different industries and help millions of organizations do business together, around the world.

What ISO Does

International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade.

ISO has published more than 21000 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. There are 163 member countries, with 238 technical committees, and 2,625 working groups developing or revising standards (1,505 in 2015 alone).

In 2015 the key industries supported by ISO documents were:

  • Engineering technologies
  • Materials technologies
  • Electronics, information technology and telecommunications
  • Transportation and distribution of goods
  • Infrastructure, science & services
  • Agriculture and food technology
  • Health, safety & environment
  • Construction
  • Special technologies

What ISO standards do for you:

For smaller businesses, getting ISO certification for your business provides a globally understood recognition that allows access to contracts with bigger organizations around the world. For more information look at certification process, or contact us.

Why Get ISO Certified?

Saying that you are ISO compliant means you think you meet requirements, whereas having a certifying body perform a “conformity assessment” or audit tells the world you can prove you meet requirements.

ISO certification involves a set of processes that show your product, service or system meets the requirements of an ISO standard. Undergoing the conformity assessment process and obtaining ISO certification has a number of benefits:

  • It provides consumers and other stakeholders with added confidence.
  • It gives your company a competitive edge.
  • It helps regulators ensure that health, safety or environmental conditions are met.

The main forms of conformity assessment are testing, certification, and inspection.

Want more details about ISO?

Curious about which ISO standards are most used, and which countries have the most certifications?

While there are fluctuations in certifications from year to year, the most recent data from ISO show the most widely used standards are:

  • ISO 9001 for Quality Management (1,138,155 certifications)
  • ISO 14001 for Environmental Management (324,148 certifications)
  • ISO16949 for Automotive Quality Management (57,950 certifications)
  • ISO 22000 for Food Safety Management (30,500 certifications)
  • ISO 13485 for Medical Device Quality Management (27,791 certifications)

Surprisingly, the US has less than 10,000 certifications to ISO 9001 (fewer than the UK, German, Italy, China, Australia, India, etc). While many other countries use ISO 9001 certification as an indicator of reliability and repeatability in all industry sectors, the majority of US certifications to ISO 9001 are still limited to manufacturing.