Standards and Standardization
A standard is a document approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory. It may also include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, packaging, marking or labelling requirements as they apply to a product, process or production method (World Trade Organization – Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement).
It is also defined in the ISO/IEC Guide 2 as a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.
There are various levels of standards:
• International Standard - a standard published by an international standardizing organization such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). These standards generally reflect the best experience of the industry, researchers, consumers and regulators worldwide, and cover common needs in a variety of countries, thus, they constitute one of the important bases for the removal of technical barriers to trade. These standards are adopted by WTO member countries in compliance to the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (WTO-TBT) to facilitate international trade.
• Regional Standard - a standard developed or adopted by a regional standardizing organization [e.g., European Committee for Standardization (CEN); and Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT). Regional standards are generally voluntary in nature, representing the joint action of the national standards bodies of a group of nations within one geographical, political or economic area.
• National Standard - a standard developed/adopted and published by a National Standards Body and made available to the public. The BPS develops and publishes Philippine National Standards (PNS).
Standardization is the process of developing standards through collaborative study and consensus of experts from the government, business, and consumer sectors. The results of these concerted efforts are the technical specifications known as standards.
In ISO/IEC Guide 2, Standardization is defined as the activity of establishing, with regard to actual or potential problems, provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.