The October 2010 issue of ISO Focus+ – the magazine of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) – highlights consumer-driven initiatives and achievements as well as areas of particular concern for consumers and how they are being addressed within ISO’s Committee on consumer policy (ISO/COPOLCO).

When consumer representatives participate in developing standards, they are able to offer valuable perspectives. They can provide data on safety aspects and ensure that these are properly addressed, give examples of how products and services are actually used (or misused) in practice and give advice on product information, labeling and related issues.

Thanks in part to consumers’ input, ISO’s standardization programme extends beyond traditional product standards to encompass societal concerns such as the environment, social responsibility and standardization of services.

To draw attention to the importance of stakeholder input in standards development, ISO Focus+ is devoting the special report of its October 2010 edition to consumers.

With the theme of “Consumers for change”, this special report is dedicated to the vast amount of work done by consumer representatives. Articles cover an array of topics, from new emerging areas such as mobile phone banking and customer contact centres, to more traditional ISO/COPOLCO concerns such as consumer participation, product safety and training. It also features input from the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy (CCP) Chair, Dr. Michael Jenkin, into the work of the OECD/CCP and how it views cooperation with ISO.

For the first time, a series of case studies by consumer representatives sheds light on their successes – and challenges – and provides insight on specific projects and initiatives at the national level.

Finally, this special issue features an exclusive interview with Joost Martens, Director-General, Consumers International, who discusses the role of ISO/COPOLCO and why consumers need to participate in international standardization. He also highlights the added value of ISO 26000 on social responsibility, a project that originated in COPOLCO. "The standard, with its clear structure of required actions, is invaluable. It presents what should at least be carried out, before any organization calls itself a responsible organization," says Mr. Martens.

As an added bonus for ISO Focus++ readers, the October edition features Standards for a better world – a two-page centerfold in cartoon format, showing how consumer participation in standards development is both beneficial and relevant to everyday life.

ISO Focus+, September 2010

ISO Focus+, October 2010