Magazine article International Trade Forum

Seizing the Power of International Standards

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Seizing the Power of International Standards

Article excerpt

It is not enough to say that knowledge is power. To seize its full potential, we should know how to best apply it. International standards, practical knowledge and information, offer tremendous opportunities for development and growth.

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'Give a man fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to how fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' Imagine for a second you are that aspiring fisherman. The standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the world's largest developer of international standards, could show much more than what you need to start fishing. Because they are written by experts in their fields, a standard might explain what fishing technique is best for each situation or what the best baits are so you don't waste time and effort.

Once you open your fishing business, whether it is a one-man job or a big venture, standards can be used to review and streamline your processes to utilize resources more efficiently. There may be standards to help take care of the environment, reduce pollution and avoid overfishing.

When you are ready to sell your product in the market, an ISO standard could explain what conditions must be met to give customers confidence in your products. If you participate in the standards-setting process, you have a say on what those requirements are and how they are shaped.

International standards are full of useful, practical information to help would-be entrepreneurs become competitive and successful. Regulators too can rely on international standards to help harmonize local requirements and meet expectations of global industries, which in turn boost trade and increase prosperity.

There are many ways that developing countries can seize the power of international standards to meet their goals of sustainable development. For example, the road to progress is paved with an efficient use of resources and improved environmental protection. ISO standards can help reduce our impact on the environment in a strategic, business-minded manner.

Examples of standards that can help businesses succeed include ISO/TS 14067 on carbon footprint, ISO 14001 on environmental management and ISO 14064 on the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. …

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