From the home, to the workplace, to recreational areas, standards are everywhere. Although many consumers may be blissfully unaware of standards and how they control various aspects of our lives, standards serve an instrumental purpose in ensuring safety and reliability.
Even when they are not aware of them, standards are crucially important to consumers – impacting the products and services that they use every single day. Standards help to make services and products safer, of better quality and easier to handle. ISO is focused on ensuring that its standards are market-relevant and meet the needs of the end-user. This end-user is frequently a consumer exposed to an increasing number of global product and service offerings. Standardisation plays a critical role in ensuring that products and services meet the essential consumer requirements for health, safety and quality and is a vital tool in consumer protection.
International standards support fundamental consumer rights and basic consumer protection, by helping raise levels of quality, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability. Standards provide the specific requirements needed to address consumer concerns and can help ensure that products and services meet consumers’ expectations. The ISO standards developed have been created in order to address consumer concerns. Some of the standards designed have been established to address consumer concerns around things like:
- Effective smoke alarms
- Protection of personal information
- Toy safety
- Building accessibility
- Social responsibility
- Data protection
And so much more.
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In aid of consumer protection, and after realising that consumers are an important stakeholder in standards development, ISO established a policy development committee, the Committee on consumer policy (COPOLCO). Established in 1978, COPOLCO reports directly to the ISO Council and its aims include:
- Supporting the development of consumer participation in standards making
- Studying how consumers can benefit from standardisation
- Promoting the positive role of standards in consumer protection
- Encouraging the exchange of experience on global consumer interest in standards.
Standards ensure that products are safe, environmentally sound and fit for their given purpose- thereby providing benefits to the consumers that use these products.
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