ISO is an independent, non-governmental membership organisation and the world's largest developer of voluntary International Standards. ISO is made up of 163 member countries that are the national standards bodies around the world, with a Central Secretariat based in Switzerland. International Standards give specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade. Over 19,500 International Standards have been produced, from technology, to agriculture, to food safety and of course, the marine industry.
ISO was formed in 1946 when representatives from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organisation ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’. In February 1947 the new organisation, ISO, officially began operations.
Because 'International Organization for Standardization' would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), the founders gave it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. So, whatever the country, whatever the language, it is always ISO.
Article last updated: 26 February 2015
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