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ISO International Case Studies Prove Economic Benefits of Standards

‘ISO Methodology’ filters results of 11 companies in 10 countries

Published: Monday, October 10, 2011 - 12:10

A series of groundbreaking case studies by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and partner organizations shows that implementing standards can provide economic benefits from between 0.5 and 4 percent of companies’ annual sales revenues. The studies are based on the experiences of 11 companies operating in a variety of business sectors in 10 countries.

The case studies are collected in the newly published book, Economic Benefits of Standards: International case studies. The 11 companies that participated come from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Botswana, South Africa, and Germany . The size of the companies varies from a small business with 25 employees and annual sales revenue of around $4.5 million, to companies with several thousand employees and annual revenue of more than $1.5 billion.

They operate in a variety of business sectors: agri-food, chemicals, construction and construction materials, electrical appliances, electrical power transmission, food retail/food logistics, industrial automation equipment, and information and telecommunications.

During the last decade, several studies have been conducted with the aim of determining the economic and other benefits of standards use. These studies were undertaken by ISO national member institutes and other organizations, and had mainly a macroeconomic focus. Although each of the studies confirmed that the use of standards had positive effects and resulted in economic and other benefits, it is difficult to compare the results achieved by the different studies because each used different approaches to measure the impacts of standards.

For this reason, with the support of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, ISO developed the “ISO Methodology” for the assessment and quantification of the economic benefits of standards. Its objective is to arrive at reliable quantitative calculations of the impacts of standards on organizations. By being based on the application of the same methodology, it is expected that the results of the different studies can be compared to build a common stock of knowledge about economic benefits of standards.

Economic benefits of standards provides the first set of case studies based on the ISO Methodology. “Standards can indeed play a central role in creating confidence for potential customers in a new technology, or allowing companies that enter a new market to deliver consistently products and services with the quality required by their customers,” according to book’s overview.

These case studies were undertaken in close cooperation between an ISO member body, an academic institution, a company in the respective country, and staff of the ISO Central Secretariat acting as advisors to the project team.

This is the first set of case studies and more studies are currently being carried out. Readers interested in more details of the preliminary case studies can find the full versions of the reports originally developed by the project teams and summary presentations about each project online.


Economic benefits of standards—International case studies is in A5 format. The English edition only is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat as paper, or as a PDF through the ISO Store.


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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.