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International Organization for Standardization

International Organization for Standardization
Organisation internationale de normalisation  (French)
ISO english logo.svg

ISO Members.svg
ISO membership (see below)
Abbreviation ISO
Formation 23 February 1947
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose International standardization
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Membership
163 members
Official languages
Website iso.org

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and as of 2015 works in 163 countries.

It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, is an independent, non-governmental organization, the members of which are the standards organizations of the 163 member countries. It is the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards and facilitates world trade by providing common standards between nations. Nearly twenty thousand standards have been set covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture and healthcare.

Use of the standards aids in the creation of products and services that are safe, reliable and of good quality. The standards help businesses increase productivity while minimizing errors and waste. By enabling products from different markets to be directly compared, they facilitate companies in entering new markets and assist in the development of global trade on a fair basis. The standards also serve to safeguard consumers and the end-users of products and services, ensuring that certified products conform to the minimum standards set internationally.

The three official languages of the ISO are English, French, and Russian. The name of the organization in French is Organisation internationale de normalisation, and in Russian, Международная организация по стандартизации. According to the ISO, as its name in different languages would have different abbreviations ("IOS" in English, "OIN" in French, etc.), the organization adopted "ISO" as its abbreviated name in reference to the Greek word isos (ἴσος, meaning equal). However, during the founding meetings of the new organization, this Greek word was not invoked, so this explanation may have been imagined later.


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