Where Did the Name ISO Come From?
ISO is the anachronism for “International Organization for Standardization”. It is not the” International Standards Organization”. The anachronism would have been different in each country – IOS in English, OIN in French. To avoid any problems this would create the founders gave it a short, all-purpose name. They chose “ISO” from the Greek isos meaning “equal”. So whatever the country or language, the short form is always ISO.
What does the ISO do?
The International Organization for Standardization is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. Did you ever wonder who came up the with standard size of a sea-tainer or a tablet of paper? It was the International Organization for Standardization. Most of the time we don’t think about standards, we just expect things to fit and to work well and safely. Standards are hidden given only noticed when absent. The International Organization for Standardization has more than 19,000 international standards. The International Standards provide a common technological language facilitating trade and the transfer of technology.
How Did ISO Get Started?
In 1946 delegates from 25 countries met and decided to create a new international organization with the objective “to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards”. It officially began operations February 23, 1947. It is not a governmental organization but a network of 163 countries, one member per country, with the central secretary in Geneva, Switzerland that coordinates the system. Some the members are part of their government structure, others are from the private sector, usually from a national partnership of industry associations. Each member has one vote and all members are on equal footing. Standards are based on consensus among experts in the field and are periodically reviewed, usually every five years to see if they should be maintained, updated, or withdrawn. The standards are voluntary and market driven. There is no legal authority to enforce the implementation of the standards.
How Are ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, ISO 26001 Different?
The majority of the standards are specific to a particular product, material or process. However ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environmental management), ISO 27001 (information security) and ISO 26001 (social responsibility)are generic management system that can be implemented in any organization, no matter the size, product or sector.
If you would like to learn about how International Organization for Standardization is financed and new standards are selected for development go to http://www.iso.org/iso/about.htm