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.

Are you involved in ISO's technical work?

Tools and publications to help guide the development of standards can be found in the Resource area.

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.

Do you want to get involved in standard development?

One of the strengths of ISO standards is that they are created by the people that need them. Getting involved in this process can bring significant advantages to your business.

For example, it can help give you early access to information that could shape the market in the future, give your company a voice in the development of standards and help to keep market access open. Read more about getting involved in standards development.

Who develops ISO standards?

People in meeting

More information on who develops ISO standards can be found in this section.

Standard Development Process

diagram on a board

A step-by-step guide to the standard development process can be found in this section.

Governance of technical work

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More information about the governance of technical work can be found in this section.