Like a symphony, it takes a lot of people working together to develop a standard. ISO’s role is similar to that of a conductor, while the orchestra is made up of independent technical experts nominated by our members.
They begin the process with the development of a draft that meets a market need within a specific area. This is then shared for commenting and further discussion.
The voting process is the key to consensus. If that’s achieved then the draft is on its way to becoming an ISO standard. If agreement isn’t reached then the draft will be modified further, and voted on again.
From first proposal to final publication, developing a standard usually takes about 3 years.
Every working day of the year, around twenty six technical meetings take place somewhere in the world.
Want to get involved in standards development?
ISO standards are created by the people who use them.
Whether you’re a consumer or in business, you can be part of the next generation of standards.
Taking part can give you early access to industry information, give your company a voice in the development of standards and help to keep market access open.
Find out more about getting involved in standards development.
Key principles in ISO standard development
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.
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.
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.
Based on a consensus
Developing ISO standards is a consensus-based approach and comments from all stakeholders are taken into account.
This brochure offers delegates and experts a quick reference to the ISO system and its processes.
This guidance document outlines the various processes by which new work comes into the ISO system, who proposes it, and how. Its aim is to provide guidance to prospective proposers of new work in ISO, to share best practices, to clarify and facilitate the process and to improve the quality of proposals.
An overview of how ISO standards contribute directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).