Consumers and Standards:
Partnership for a Better World

7. Summary of useful references: an introduction

This section of the module is concerned with reference materials that support and extend the content of the module. Some of these will already have been referred to within the text of relevant sections.

The full text of most of these references is available on ISO Online (also see Section 8 of this module). What follows is a bibliography providing indicative content and length as well as the availability in languages other than English.

The section is presented in 3 parts.

  • References in 7.1 can be regarded as essential or basic references relating to consumer participation.
  • Those in 7.2 relate to procedures for ISO/ IEC standards development and the role of delegates and experts.
  • References in section 7.3 cover particular aspects or provide more general background.

This section also includes details of relevant ISO/IEC Guides.

7.1 Useful references relevant to consumer participation

Also refer to the Consumer Affairs Section of ISO’s Web site:


7.1.1 References relating to Consumer policy and strategic issues

ISO Code of Ethics

Presents in an attractive format of 2 A4 pages the ethical obligations to which ISO and its membership, that is the National Standards Bodies, have subscribed.

Also available on ISO’s Web site, ISO Online in French.


ISO Strategic Plan 2011-2015

Presents ISO’s 7 key objectives for this time period, of which two are ”Ensuring the Involvement of Stakeholders” and ”Raising the awareness and capacity of developing Countries.”

Also available in French on ISO Online.


ISO in brief

A promotional brochure introducing ISO on 4 A4 pages. It summarizes the key aspects of standardization and how it works, the range of products developed by ISO, and the areas of active growth.

Available in French on ISO Online.


ISO/IEC Statement, Consumer Participation in Standardization Work

This statement, on 6 A4 pages, includes 13 policy recommendations for NSBs to encourage consumer participation.

Available in French on ISO Online.


ISO/IEC policy Statement on the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities

A policy statement of 8 A4 pages for ISO/ IEC members. It encourages the development of standards that promote “design for all,” enabling products and services to be used by older persons and people with disabilities.

Available in French on ISO Online.


7.1.2 Useful References giving practical guidance on consumer participation

ISO and the consumer

Introductory promotional leaflet detailing on 3 A4 pages the importance of consumers to ISO, the areas of standardization of particular importance to consumers, and the mutual benefits for consumers and standardization.

Available in French on ISO Online.


Your voice matters

Popular, visually appealing, illustrated 20-page brochure in A5 format, including case studies. The brochure explains why consumers need to get involved and how to start.

Also available in French and Spanish on ISO Online.


The Consumer and standards: Guidance and principles for consumer participation in standards development

This publication presents guidance and principles for consumer participation in standards development on 24 A4 pages. It is a much more detailed document than ‘Your Voice Matters.’


First steps in standards representation: a guide for consumer organizations (CI publication)

Provides practical guidance for consumer organizations to encourage them to become involved in the development of standards. It has 16 A4 pages and includes some practical experiences.

Languages: English and Japanese.


Involving consumers – Why and how

Provides standards bodies with practical guidance on achieving consumer participation in standardization. It covers why and when to involve consumers in standardization, the value that consumers bring to standards development, and how to organize effective consumer participation.


ISO Guides which have special relevance to consumer aspects of standardization

ISO produces guides, often in conjunction with IEC, which are intended for use by those developing standards. Although aimed particularly at international standardization, many are relevant at a regional or national level too. A list of Guides is available in the next sub-section, along with a short description of each.


Online resource: the ISO Directory of consumer interest participation

An online resource showing consumer representatives' involvement in policy and standards work within the national standards bodies of ISO, areas of interest, and resources for support.



Relevant articles from ISO magazines

Relevant articles in the ISO Focus+ are freely accessible on ISO Online.

Some relevant issues and articles appear in the Materials and resources section of this module.


7.2 Useful references relating to standards development and procedures

7.2.1 Useful references for general background


My ISO Job (ISO publication)

A brochure on 24 A4 pages giving guidance to delegates and experts on ISO technical committees and working groups.

Also available in French on ISO Online.



Joining in: Participation in International Standardization (ISO)

A brochure that goes into greater detail and expands on the guidance given to experts involved in ISO work given in My ISO Job (published in 2007).


7.2.2 Useful references about standards development procedures

ISO IEC Directives parts I and 2

The definitive comprehensive guidance on developing standards within the ISO or IEC framework. Each part is some 65 pages and together cover procedural and editorial aspects of international standards development.


ISO/IEC Directives Supplement: procedures specific to ISO

ISO Code of Conduct
My ISO job – Guidance for delegates and experts
Joining in. Participating in International Standardization


ISO e-learning course on standardization

This is a comprehensive, in-depth distance learning programme on all aspects of standardization which provides guided instruction complete with an on-line tutor. It comprises three separate modules, parts of which deal with stakeholder representation. For more information, contact the ISO Technical Assistance and Training unit (DEVT) at


7.2.3 Useful references and guidance for standards-writers – ISO/IEC Guides

Note: this section, with minor adaptations, also appears separately as an information brochure, How ISO/IEC Guides add value to international standards.
What are Guides and what do they do?

ISO and IEC have provided a rich resource of helpful advice for standards writers in the form of Guides. The majority of these will help you deal with specialist issues, such as consumer needs, when writing standards. Many are also useful for people not involved in standards work as the advice they contain can be generally applied to their subject areas. Make a note of the publications below so that if you find yourself dealing with one of the subjects covered, you will know where to find useful guidelines. The ISO/IEC Guides mentioned below are those of the widest general interest; the more specialized ISO/IEC Guides are not mentioned. The full texts of the Guides are not included in this module.

The summaries below will help you to decide which Guide can be helpful in a particular standards development situation.

For interested consumer representatives and other experts working within the ISO system developing standards, the Guides are available upon request free of charge from the member body in their country, or on request to the ISO Central Secretariat. For those not participating in the ISO system, the Guides can also be purchased from,, or from your ISO member body:, or IEC national committees or sales outlets (see


ISO/IEC Guide 2, Standardization and related activities – General vocabulary
This guide provides and explains terms and definitions concerning standardization and related activities. It intends to aid understanding of commonly used terms amongst the members of ISO and IEC and governmental and nongovernmental agencies involved in standardization at international, regional and national levels. The guide also provides a useful reference, briefly covering basic theoretical and practical principles of standardization, certification and laboratory accreditation.


ISO/IEC Guide 14, Purchase information on goods and services intended for consumers
This Guide is one of several dealing with consumer information. It advises standard writers on what information prospective purchasers (of products or services) require and expect. It can also assist you if you use purchase information as part of your job (e.g. regulatory enforcement authorities). It deals with the contents, methods, formats and design of purchase information so that consumers can compare and choose between products and services.


ISO/IEC Guide 37, Instructions for use of products by consumers
Instructions for use are an integral part of the delivery of the product, and now increasingly make use of different media such as the Internet.  They are the means of conveying information to the user on how to use the product in a correct and safe manner. Guide 37 gives advice on the design and formulation of instructions so that they are helpful to the final users of consumer products and services.  This Guide also deals with the use of panel testing to evaluate instructions.  It includes checklists for assessment, and for items to be covered in instructions.


ISO/IEC Guide 41, Packaging — Recommendations for addressing consumer needs
Packaging of products is important to today’s consumer – who, after all, indirectly bears the cost.  When your standards deal with packaging, they should therefore address safety, health, fitness for purpose, comfort and reliability, as well as the environment. Guide 41 gives general recommendations to be taken into consideration when determining the most suitable type of packaging to be used at the point of sale to the consumer. 


ISO/IEC Guide 46, Comparative testing of consumer products and related services – General principles
This Guide is primarily for consumer testing laboratories and associations. It provides guidance on presenting test results and information in a readily understandable and easily comparable way.  Its purpose is to help consumers and others to make an informed choice.  The guide applies to testing of products and services intended for all types of markets (national, regional or international).


ISO/IEC Guide 50, Safety aspects — Guidelines for child safety
Children are born into an adult world. Consequently, the potential for injury is particularly great during childhood. Guide 50 provides a framework for preventing hazards to children from the products and services that they use.  It is primarily intended for standards writers because you can play a key role in injury prevention and control.  A checklist is included so that you can assess if and how you have dealt with any child safety issues.


ISO/IEC Guide 51, Safety aspects — Guidelines for their inclusion in standards
This helps standards writers to include safety aspects in their standards.  It is applicable to any safety aspect related to people, property or the environment, or a combination of one or more of these (e.g. people only; people and property; people, property and the environment).  Guide 51 adopts a risk reduction approach. The complete life cycle of a product, process or service, including both the intended use and the reasonably foreseeable misuse, is dealt with.


ISO/IEC Guide 71, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities
This provides you with a systematic approach to addressing ageing and disability issues when writing international standards.  It also helps technical committees to evaluate how they are addressing these issues in their entire work programmes.  Effective, practical techniques are given. The Guide applies to products, services and environments encountered in all aspects of daily life.


ISO/IEC Guide 74, Graphical symbols — Technical guidelines for the consideration of consumers' needs
If you are designing a graphical symbol for the public, it needs to be clear and easily understood, as poorly designed symbols can cause confusion for consumers. Furthermore, it is important not to duplicate efforts by creating symbols when ones already exist. Guide 74 will tell you how to develop graphical symbols aimed at helping the public (e.g. instructions or warnings), and indicate databases for symbols and other valuable resources to assist in that task.  It covers items such as safety signs and product safety labels which you can use on equipment and products.


ISO/IEC Guide 76, Development of service standards – Recommendations for addressing consumer issues
Standards are increasingly being developed for services, yet there are special characteristics for services which can be challenging for a service provider. These include the conditions for delivery, appropriate training for personnel and strategies to measure and improve customer satisfaction. This guide has been prepared to help experts to take account of consumer requirements when developing a standard for any kind of service. In particular, Guide 76 has a useful checklist with handy cross-references to the relevant clauses, and informative examples of how the Guide can be used. The information will also be useful for service providers themselves.


ISO/IEC Guide 99, International vocabulary of basic and general terms in metrology (VIM)
Before people can communicate, they need to know and understand the words they wish to use. This is equally true in metrology, where concepts and terms such as measurement result, measurement error and measurement uncertainty need to be agreed upon if they are to be used in a consistent manner. Since metrology is in an evolving state concerning what is the best approach (e.g. classical versus uncertainty), it is especially important to have an international vocabulary that  allows metrologists to clearly communicate about the measurement approach that they are using. This document gives guidance on the concepts and terms used in various approaches to measurement.


7.3 Additional references that address more general issues in standardization

Economic and social benefits of Standardization

International Standards bring technological, economic and societal benefits. They help to harmonize technical specifications of products and services making industry more efficient and breaking down barriers to international trade. International Standards also contribute effectively to sustainability, by providing good practices on the use of technologies and the management of processes affecting economic, social and environmental aspects. Conformity to International Standards helps reassure consumers that products are safe, efficient and good for the environment. For more information about the benefits of standards consult our collection of
studies on economic and social benefits, featuring the Economic benefits of standards – International case studies, including the ISO Methodology to assess the economic benefits of standards.

Education about standards. Educational institutions are increasingly recognizing these benefits and international standardization features in many curricula. We recognize the vital contribution educational institutions bring to raising awareness of standardization and its benefits, and are keen to support their work. ISO has developed a repository of resources and teaching materials, awards to promote education institutions leading the way in standardization, organization (in partnership with IEC and ITU) of the World Standards Cooperation academic days, promoting cooperation between standards bodies and education institutions in developing countries. Currently these resources focus on education at the university-level. However, they will be gradually expanded to cover education about standardization at primary and secondary level. Consult our resources and teaching materials.

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 and on how ISO develops standards.

Decision-making in the global market: trade, standards and the consumer (Consumers International)
A comprehensive analysis of the effects of trade agreements on consumer interests, this publication sets out to assess the governance and decision-making processes of the WTO and international standard setting bodies. It considers the consumer experience – particularly those in poorer countries – of under representation in international trade institutions, and suggests what can be done to increase the consumer's voice in international decision-making.

Going Public- a Consumers International Viewpoint, by Robin Simpson. ISO Focus, January 2006

A 2 page article which addresses the need for a General Agreement on Public Services (GAPS). It presents CI’s ideas on what such an agreement might include.


ISO Focus, and its successor, ISO Focus +
Our monthly magazine draws attention to the vital role International Standards play in the global economy. The magazine is geared to an international readership of standards developers, industry and government regulators. Each month, we focus on a theme such as risk or the environment, to highlight the achievements of standards in the field. The magazine features interviews from top business executives, examples of management system standards in practice as well as an update on some of the newest International Standards. Click here to see all issues of ISO Focus +.

Consumers International Resource Zone
This online resource area, accessible through CI's homepage, holds a collection of consumer focused publications. It comes with user-focused editorial for each publication, a multi-language translation facility, comment functionality, and various search and cross-promotion options.


For specific information, consult the section, "Standards".