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ISO Consumer update

No. 08 - October 2011

….An update of ISO's activities regarding standards and consumer protection, for the members and stakeholders of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).

ISO/COPOLCO is ISO's forum for promoting consumer interests in standardization. Its mission is to:

  • Enhance the market relevance of International Standards by promoting and facilitating the input of consumers' views into ISO's policies, procedures, standards and services
  • Help consumers around the world benefit from standardization.

You are receiving this eNewsletter because you are involved in the activities of ISO/COPOLCO.

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What's happening …

ISO, IEC and ITU celebrate World Standards Day with "confidence"

"Creating confidence globally" was the theme of the joint message issued by the Presidents of the International Organization for Standardization, International Electrotechnical Commission and International Telecommunications Union for World Standards Day (14 October). This message emphasized the importance of international standards for products and services. They underpin quality, ecology, safety, reliability, interoperability, efficiency and effectiveness. Standards do all of this while giving manufacturers confidence in their ability to reach out to global markets safe in the knowledge that their product will perform globally.

International standards provide interoperability which in turn creates economWSD poster depicting two colourful hands superposed on a world mapies of scale and ensures that users can obtain equal service wherever they travel. International Standards benefit consumers, manufacturers and service providers alike. Importantly, in developing countries this accelerates the deployment of new products and services and encourages economic development.

“In today’s world we need to have a high level of expectation that things will work the way we expect them to work,” the three leaders affirmed.

“We expect that when we pick up the phone we will be able to instantly connect to any other phone on the planet. We expect to be able to connect to the Internet and be provided with news and information… instantly. When we fall ill, we rely on the healthcare equipment used to treat us.  When we drive our cars, we have confidence that the engine management, steering and braking, and child safety systems are reliable. We expect to be protected against electrical power failure and the harmful effects of pollution.”

The three standardization leaders concluded by emphasizing that the objective of IEC, ISO and ITU is to “facilitate and augment this confidence globally, so as to connect the world with international standards”.



COPOLCO members are reminded to consult COPOLCO 40/2011 and to convey their preference for the 2012 COPOLCO workshop theme to the COPOLCO Secretariat as soon as possible. We are extending the original due date, 14 October (World Standards Day – see above) to 21 October 2011 for this purpose.

The COPOLCO Chair's Group is meeting in Geneva on 24-25 October and will deal with the organization of the 2012 plenary meeting and workshop. The participants will decide on the choice of theme for the workshop: either market surveillance or legal metrology.  We therefore need your views prior to this meeting.

The Chair's Group will also consider progress of work items for the committee, and follow-up of the resolutions and other outcomes of the meeting of the COPOLCO plenary meeting in London on 25-26 May 2011. Other working group meetings will also be held.

The workshop will take place as part of  the 2012 COPOLCO plenary meeting, workshop and related events in Fiji. The events will be hosted by the  Fiji Trade Standards and Quality Control Office (FTSQCO) from 14-18 May 2011.

COPOLCO uses its annual workshop as a platform for information and discussion, as well as a basis for development of proposals for ISO to take forward in the form of standards and policy initiatives. Each year, COPOLCO chooses a different theme of consumer interest in order to explore whether standards or standards policy can provide solutions to problems or issues of consumer protection.

If you are not directly representing a COPOLCO mirror group but wish to express a view about the theme, please contact the ISO member in your country.

Make World Standards Day a reality: act now!


ISO's sustainability path from Earth Summit to Rio+20

ISO has released a new brochure in preparation for the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in 2012. It describes how voluntary ISO International Cover of RIO+20 brochure, showing one picture with a crowd of people and another picture with a child blowing up an inflatable globeStandards – developed through the strength of consensus among stakeholders from business, government and society – have provided tools for translating the global desire for a sustainable world expressed since the Earth Summit in 1992 into practical actions that achieve positive results.

The brochure is entitled Rio+20. Forging action from agreement – How ISO standards translate good intentions about sustainability into concrete results. It provides an overview of how ISO’s current portfolio of more than 18 600 standards provides solutions in all three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, economic and societal.

See more.


What's new in International Standards

Is your biometric data safe online?

Biometrics, like fingerprints and iris scans, is being used more and more as a reliable form of authentication for online transactions. But how can we be sure that this data won’t be compromised? To ensure security and privacy when managing and processing biometric information, ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have jointly published a new International Standard, ISO/IEC 24745:2011, Information technology – Security techniques – Biometric information protection.  

See more.

ISO takes the lid off accessible design

Any of us can find some packages or packaged products tricky to open. Such difficulties can be worse for the elderly, or people with disabilities. ISO is contributing to a solution in the form of a standard for designing packaging that is easier to use for the elderly, the people with disabilities – and the rest of us. ISO 11156:2011, Packaging – Accessible design – General requirements, provides a framework for packaging design that takes into account the varying physical and sensory capabilities of users to ensure that it can be used not only by people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disabilities, but also by the elderly, the temporarily disabled – and by those with no disability at all.

See more.

New ISO standard to reduce environmental impacts of products and services

ISO has published a new standard in the ISO 14000 family designed to help organizations reduce the adverse environmental impacts of their products and services.

Every product or service has an impact on the environment during all stages of its lifecycle, from extraction of resources to end-of-life treatment. The goal of ecodesign is to integrate environmental aspects into the design and development of products and services so as to reduce their environmental impacts and continually improve their environmental performance throughout their lifecycle. The result: cleaner products and services and a greener planet.

The newly published ISO 14006:2011, Environmental management systems – Guidelines for incorporating ecodesign, gives “how to” guidance to product and service organizations on incorporating ecodesign into any environmental, quality or similar management system.
See more.

New ISO standard to increase security of escalators

A new ISO standard will increase the safety and user comfort of the escalators used around the world on a daily basis by millions of people. Escalators are installed in many locations such as shopping centers, cinemas, airports, railway stations and subways and they are used every day in the world by millions of people.

ISO technical report, ISO/TS 25740-1:2011, Safety requirements for escalators and moving walks – Part 1: Global essential safety requirements (GESR), specifies safety requirements for escalators and moving walks, components and functions; and provides methods for minimizing safety risks that might arise in the course of the operation and use of, or work on, escalators and moving walks.

See more.

ISO, IEC and W3C advance the cause of ITC interoperability

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information Technology, of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) announced formal approval of a package of W3C Web Services technologies as ISO/IEC International Standards. As ISO/IEC JTC 1 Standards, these widely deployed technologies now benefit from formal recognition from national bodies, which will promote interoperability and reduce market fragmentation, thus benefiting all users.

See more.



Around the world … COPOLCO member news


Canada inaugurates new anti-spam legislation

Canada’s new anti-spam legislation will help to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace. It aims to increase consumer confidence in electronic commerce by protecting Canadian consumers and businesses from unwanted spam and related threats. Passed December 2010, this new law will enter into force following a Governor in Council order.
The new law will apply to anyone who makes use of commercial electronic messages, is involved with the alteration of transmission data, or produces or installs computer programmes.
When the new law is in force, it will prohibit:

  • sending commercial electronic messages without the recipient's consent, including messages to e-mail addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone;
  • alteration of transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent;
  • installation of computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an authorized employee;
  • use of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services;
  • collection of personal information through accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the Criminal Code of Canada); and
  • collection of electronic addresses by the use of computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission (address harvesting).

Visit for more information about Canada’s new anti-spam law.


Products show their environmental impact since 1 July

An experiment began on 1 July: for six months, the products of participating companies will be labelled to inform consumers of their environmental impacts on climate, water, air or biodiversity.

This is the kick-off for environmental labelling of products…and a world premiere, because the labelling is multi-product, multi-criteria, and multi-media. From July to December 2011, many products will display their environmental impact on air, water, climate and biodiversity with full disclosure.

The labelling scheme applies to products from all sectors (textiles, hygiene, food, etc.) whether sold off-the-shelf or online. At a glance, the consumer will know everything about the product he or she is about to buy by reading a single label. 160 companies participated in the standardization work on environmental labelling, along with the active participation of consumer representatives. These companies voluntarily offer consumers essential information about their products.

An evaluation report back on the six-month pilot programme will then be prepared by the Government and submitted to Parliament. This may result in generalized environmental labelling for all products. However, the Ministry of Sustainable Development will first conduct an assessment of the transparency of data on the labels, the procedures used by companies, the costs and benefits to business, and the consumer response.


Changes in the UK consumer landscape

A consultation on ‘Empowering and protecting consumers’, launched by the UK Business Innovation & Skills Department in June this year, closed in September. The proposals will have major implications for the structure and range of organizations providing advice and redress for consumers in the UK, including the break up of the government regulatory Office of Fair Trading, dissolution of the government consumer research and policy-making organization, Consumer Focus, and enhancement of the role of the independent network of Citizens Advice Bureaux. There are potential implications for BSI which is named as a possible successor to the Office of Fair Trading with respect to their codes approval schemes.

See more.

Standards and young consumers

BSI will be a sponsor of the Young consumers competition run by the UK Trading Standards Institute. Aimed at secondary schools, students can enter an online competition, testing their knowledge on all sorts of consumer topics. Successful teams, compete in regional finals and then a national final to be held at the Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards conference and exhibition, in June 2012. It is planned that the Summer meeting of the BSI Consumer & Public Interest Network will take place at the TSI event.

See more.

Consumer Product design

A text book, Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Product Design – Methods and Techniques, edited by Karwowski et al., has recently been published by CRC Press. It includes a chapter on the ‘Role of standards in design’ co-authored by three BSI Consumer & Public Interest Network members. The chapter references several ISO/IEC Guides with which COPOLCO has had involvement, including those on safety, symbols, children and elderly and people with disabilities.

See more.


Did you know …?

Six new short videos are now available that communicate the benefits that International Standards provide.

Each video is less than a minute long and addresses a specific area where ISO standards are helping business, government and society around the world, every day:

  • Developing countries
  • Energy management
  • Environment
  • Food safety
  • Healthcare
  • Social responsibility.

See more.


To find out more...

Visit us in the consumer section of ISO's Web site, ISO Online, Consult: "Resources for ….. Consumers".

Is the ISO member in your country a member of COPOLCO? If not, encourage this national standards body to join COPOLCO!

For a full list of ISO members, see

Is your organization a member of Consumers International? Find CI at

Questions …? Comments… ? News to share…? Subscription requests …..? We would like to hear from you!  Contact us at


ISO Consumer update is a free service by the Secretariat of the ISO Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).
Editor: Ms. Dana Kissinger-Matray, Secretary of ISO/COPOLCO.

ISO Consumer update gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Marketing, Communication and Information services of the ISO Central Secretariat.


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