Standards are developed in an open process, reflecting the views of many stakeholders. Integrating the view of the consumer into standard development is important as he or she can lend a unique perspective to the process.
For example, consumers can
- Give examples of how products and services are actually used (or misused)
- Check that the performance requirements reflect the way products are actually used
- Provide data on safety aspects and ensure that safety is properly addressed
Getting involved in standards development can help make sure that products and services perform as expected. It can help improve:
- quality and reliability
- protection of safety and health
- compatibility between products
- consistency in the delivery of services
- choice of goods and services
- transparency in product information
- fair competition, and therefore lower prices
- suitability of products for vulnerable populations (such as children and the elderly)
- environmental protection
See an example of consumer outreach in the real world with this case study on ISO's technical commitee for Nanotechnologies.