Participation in standards work and the use of standards are both voluntary.
Openness and transparency
All standards proposals and draft standards are made public for comments before the final version is published. Those having comments or objections are asked to join in the negotiations, and every objection is to be discussed with the person making it.
Broad and balanced participation
Standards are developed in Technical Committees composed by experts representing all stakeholders. Anyone interested can participate in this process. Balanced participation of all stakeholders’ groups is intended.
Thus, standards are not only accepted by industry, but also by users, incl. consumers and trade unions, and public administrations as well as non-governmental organizations, e.g. environmental ngos.
Standardization internal rules encourage the agreement of all working decisions by consensus, while voting is to be used in exceptional cases.
The content of standards is thus laid down on the basis of mutual understanding and general agreement. Strategic decisions requiring balloting are approved only with the support of large majorities. This is highly valued by users, especially in terms of consumer protection, environmental protection and occupational health and safety.
The collection of standards covers all technical disciplines. The rules of procedure in standards work ensure the coherence and consistency of these standards.
Standardization takes account of current technical knowledge and ensures the rapid implementation of new findings. A standard is developed only where there is a need, technically acceptable, expressed by the market, because standardization is not an end in itself.
Beneficial for society
Standards always take the needs of society as a whole into consideration. The benefits to the general public take priority over the benefits of individuals.
Wide geographical relevance
International and European standards help eliminate technical barriers, being a strong basis for free global trade and the European Single Market.