Key Highlights From the ISO Annual Meeting 2022 – Standards as the Accelerators of Change

Explore Global Challenges and Discover the Potential of Standards as Accelerators of Positive Change

At the 2022 ISO Annual Meeting held last week, we learned the global market for standards continued growing at approximately 5% on average over recent years (even during the global pandemic). Standards exist in a dynamic environment where multiple driving forces converge, so standards become the key information relied on by industry and society. Organizations are turning to standards as a way to solve problems, manage risk, increase efficiency and sustainability, and as a path to market by utilizing simplified and digital solutions. At simpleQuE, we love simple solutions which are the core of our business and consulting strategies.

Shirley Kennedy, simpleQuE’s Marketing and Communications Manager, attended the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) meeting virtually, joining attendees from across the world to collectively explore today’s global challenges and discover the potential of standards as accelerators of positive change.

Some of the sessions focused on these globally relevant topics and how by working together, standards can be used to achieve a better and more sustainable world:

  • Achieving global collaboration
  • Building trust – Trade in the age of digitalization
  • Global perspectives on international standards
  • Covid’s impact on the digital transformation of conformity assessment
  • How trade policies can support climate agendas
  • Innovative solutions for water scarcity
  • How international standards can help implement climate plans
  • Resilient food systems

Since 2021 ISO has placed climate action and clean energy at the forefront. However, at this meeting, the focus wasn’t just on climate, but also on gender equality, diversity, the challenges of aging populations, and the challenges faced by developing countries. 

Key Highlights from the ISO Annual Meeting 2022

In regard to climate initiatives, ISO has adopted the London Declaration as a means to define purpose and goals and to measure progress.  ISO is also aligned with the timeline of the United Nation’s agenda for sustainable development. ISO will have a significant role to play in setting Net Zero guidelines and ways to incorporate it into strategies and policies.  To be published next month, the guidance will provide the basis for accountability and measurability and include important indicators to address climate challenges.

The Covid pandemic unleashed the need for remote assessments.  In this session, organized in collaboration with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the digital transformation of conformity assessment and how to ensure quality and safety was discussed. While ISO does not perform conformity assessments, it does have a committee called CASCO which develops policy and publishes standards related to conformity assessment.  Of particular interest was the IAF/ILAC/ISO Remote Survey Use of Remote Techniques Supported by Joint Survey – IAF which surveyed 4,350 people.  A large majority indicated they preferred remote or blended audits, assessments and evaluations and 80% had as much confidence as with on-site.  In addition, 79% supported blended or remote procedures in the future. 

Trends in standardization – digitalization and digital transformation are constantly changing how we live and work. For the first time in 600 years, knowledge creation, documentation and dissemination do not revolve around paper.  One of the biggest trends is the changing in user expectations.  In 2022, standards publishers are serving digital users as their target audience.

The Future of ISO and Its Standards

Will ISO and its standards still be relevant in 10 years?  This was an actual debate among 4 standards experts who posed this question.  The point was made throughout the program that for ISO to have relevance in the future, ISO standards development and distribution must move from a linear process to circular where feedback from end users, governments, industry and stakeholders makes it back to the developers and technical committees.  ISO needs to listen to all its members – two-thirds of which are developing countries, and provide better communication and engagement. ISO must demonstrate that it is committed to transparency, inclusivity and openness.

Global standards aren’t going away.  Every day almost 78 billion USD worth of goods are exchanged between countries and regions and without quality, trust and transparency, trade would be difficult. Collaboration and standards are critical in ensuring safe quality products, industrial development and economic growth.  And for now, and into the future, they are much needed for climate and environmental action, and for the smooth integration of the advanced technologies that will pose new challenges for the future.

“In a world that is really troubled with so much uncertainty, the need for standards and international standards is more needed than ever.” – Silvio Dulinsky, ISO Deputy Secretary-General

SimpleQuE is a leader in AS, IATF® and ISO consultingauditing and training.  Contact us for a consult and see the difference that our experts can bring to your quality management process.

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