What are the benefits of international standards (ISO)?

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ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, an independent, non-governmental international organization, with a membership of 165 national standards bodies, which bring together experts to share knowledge and develop consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to new global challenges.

What are ISO standards?

ISO standards were created to offer guidance, coordination, simplification and unification of criteria to companies and organizations in order to reduce costs and increase effectiveness, as well as to standardize product and service standards for international organizations. ISO standards have been developed and adopted by many companies in many countries out of a need and willingness to standardize quality parameters.

ISO makes documents with required standards, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used by companies to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are suitable for their purpose. Additionally, ISO ensures that these requirements are accepted in all member countries, to ensure standardization.

The most popular ISO standards

These are the 10 most popular ISO standards and what they mean for your business.

ISO 9000 – Quality Management

The ISO 9000 family is the quality management standard, and comprises of some of ISO’s best-known standards. ISO 9001:2015 is the only standard in the category that you can be certified to. There are over one million organizations in over 170 countries that are certified to ISO 9001.

ISO / IEC 27000 – Information Security Management Systems

The 27000 category of standards ensures the safety of information assets. These standards help organizations manage the security of assets such as intellectual property, financial and employee data. There are 33,290 certificates issued for this certification.

ISO 14000 – Environmental Management

The standards in this category lay emphasis on environmental systems and use tools such as audits, communications, life-cycle analysis and environmental challenges. More than 300,000 ISO 14001 certifications have been issued in 171 countries.

ISO 31000: 2018 – Risk Management

This standard cannot be used for certification purposes, but it provides a framework for managing risks and enables organizations to achieve objectives in an uncertain environment by helping companies to identify opportunities and threats.

ISO 50001: 2018 – Energy Management

ISO 50001: 2018 provides guidance for companies in implementing an Energy Management System (EnMS) that aims at improving efficiency in the use of energy by reducing companies’ energy footprint by and greenhouse gas emissions. Over 20,000 certifications have been issued for this standard.

ISO 26000: 2010 – Social Responsibility

Organizations cannot be certified to ISO 26000, however, this standard provides guidance on how businesses can embrace social responsibility.

ISO 28000: 2007 – Specifications for Security Management Systems for the Supply Chain

This standard provides the requirements for a security management system in respect to a supply chain.

ISO 37001: 2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems

Bribery is a danger for today’s businesses. This standard provides guidance in establishing, implementing and improving anti-bribery management system. This standard is applicable to all types of organizations with respect to bribery and helps prevent, detect and respond to bribery.

ISO 45001 – Occupational Health and Safety

It provides a framework for employee safety, reducing workplace hazards and provide safer working environments.

Advantages of ISO standards certification

International Standards mean that consumers can have confidence that the products are reliable and of good quality. The ISO certificate can be great more for companies because an international recognition offers the possibility to operate beyond national borders, which means that companies can increase their sales and revenue. Companies with an ISO label use this improve their image and show the rest of the world that they work in conformity with international standards. For many buyers and customers this is a sign that the companies offer excellent products and services. 

ISO standards attempt to ensure quality, consistency, and safety and show us how to check for quality. There are many benefits for businesses, which embrace these standards. Some of them are:


With an ISO certification, companies have the opportunity to demonstrate their reliability to purchasers, suppliers, business partners and government. Reliability means quality, safety and durability of products and/or services. With an ISO standard, companies demonstrate that they meet the requirements of international legislation and regulation and adhere to these. With ISO certificate, companies show that they are a serious player.

Improved performance

ISO standards improve performance by giving organizations the knowledge they need to optimize their operations in order to be able to perform at their best. This also help them to have satisfied customers and more efficient ways to work, as well as, the ability to implement new working practices more efficiently and faster.

Better quality

ISO standards help organizations improve the quality of their services, manage projects in the most effective way and access new markets is also a benefit as products and services can be compatible with international standards. This will also increase consumer confidence as they see the International Standard logo as a trusting sign and as a synonymous of good quality. ISO standards help to improve your reputation, providing your customers greater confidence on your products and services.

Increased revenue

Once a business becomes ISO certified, they can advertise their quality certification as well as respond to requests for quotes from firms, which make the ISO certificate a must have. Therefore, ISO certification can increase your sales and revenue. In fact, many large companies require their suppliers to be ISO certified and this certification can be particularly important if you attempt to enter foreign markets. Opening up global markets has no doubt been a key benefit; these standards have meant that the movement of goods, services and logistical technologies are now compatible making trading easier but also safer too.

Risk reduction

One of the main benefits of ISO standards is that it prepares organizations in advance to deal with risks and turn them into opportunities. These standards also ensure that you understand how to manage and mitigate risks. Therefore, if problems arise, organizations are better equipped to survive them and then recover faster.


Sustainability has become increasingly important and these standards help organizations to prove that they are actually committed to deal with environmental and social challenges.

By helping businesses to take a close look at how they are using resources, energy and controlling waste, ISO standards helps them to save money and improve their own image while benefiting the environment.


ISO Standards benefit organizations that want to commercialize emerging technologies. These standards help businesses to establish the core characteristics of quality products or services. By implementing ISO standards, you demonstrate your credentials to your customers, your employees, and other stakeholders.

International Standards (ISOs) ensure safety and quality, showing consumers that businesses they buy from are operating in a safe way, producing reliable goods without unduly harming the environment.

How to become an ISOcertified business?

All ISO regulations have a main purpose; improving the results of the company. Precisely, with ISO regulations, quality can be ensured in business management, and this certification produces a quality guarantee effect at an international level that generates confidence in the products and services offered by the company.

An ISO 9001 certification require time, effort and improvement from many areas of the business. However, the steps that must be taken are worth it for any company because they will benefit business owners, employees and customers. To become eligible as a company for an ISO certification, you should start by completing a certification process. A QHSE Management advisor, who focuses on Quality, Health, Safety and Environment, supervises this measure. You can find many companies that focus on QHSE specialization and help organizations in the process of ISO certification. A QHSE specialist prepares an organization and pays attention to small details.

To arrive at a maximum result, the organization must be open to setting up a good quality management system and possibly improve this. Together with the organization, the QHSE advisor looks at and maps the most important risks. In a joint audit plan, it is agreed which business elements will be scrutinized. Periodic audits are used to establish whether the organization continues to meet the established standard and is still ISO worthy.

ISO certification comes at a cost. For companies is also necessary to accept related laws, such as the Data Protection Law, licenses adapted for commercial activity, labor and professional risk laws, as well as local, regional, and national regulations. Additionally, it is required an adequate training of the companies’ members. Besides that, maintaining ISO standards requires the commitment of each of the members of the organization, especially senior management. Finally, one of the things that weighs most when it comes to external auditing is the experience of each organization.

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About the author

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Sandra Melo

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