What are Standards?
Standards are widely used by many companies worldwide, but you might still ask: So, what are standards for, and how can I actually benefit from them?
“A standard is a repeatable, harmonised, agreed and documented way of doing something. Standards contain technical specifications or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition. They help to make life simpler and increase the reliability and the effectiveness of many of the goods and services we use.”
Standards are developed through the cooperation of several experts in a certain field. Hence, the finalized and published standard is the synthesis of the collective work and broad knowledge of these expert groups. This harmonisation process becomes most important in cases of international and regional standardisations, when diverse and large stakeholder groups need to be considered.
Standards do not necessarily have to be developed by standardisation bodies, such as BSI, ISO or the IEC. Any organization can establish standards for internal or external use. However, to be truly called a standard, the requirements stated above must be met.
What are standards for?
Standards are an important way of protecting consumers. While consumer protection is often visible through government policies or consumer protection organisations, standards create an extra protective environment that lies behind the perception of most consumers. Therefore, it is incumbent on the standards to ensure that whatever product or service is provided is fit for purpose, safe and has value. An important aspect of this protection is to ensure the product or service delivers as claimed, performs as specified, and is reliable, durable and safe.
The use of standards provides a number of key advantages for traders and economic operators, which can be broadly put into the following categories:
- Facilitation of common language and understanding of what the product or service is and is not;
- Facilitation of trade and contractual arrangements;
- Facilitation of compliance to environmental requirements;
- Facilitation of regulation and auditing;
- Stakeholder confidence;
- Enhanced resource efficiency.
Accordingly, standards need to be developed in a way that meets the many differing stakeholder requirements.
There are many different types of standards available depending on
- the type of agreement
- the number of people/organizations/ stakeholders/countries involved in developing the standards.
Some standards are designed to give guidance while others set out strict requirements to be met to be compliant with that particular standard. The different subject areas and user groups also affect the type of standards. The different subject areas and user groups also affect the type of standards. Based on their function we can for example differentiate: Specification, Codes of practice, Methods, and Guides.
Based on their sectors the different standard examples include: healthcare, education, banking and financial services, energy, IT, food and some standards are exclusively designed for the promotion of environmental protection. At Circular Point we recognize the indispensable role of standards in fostering sustainability and climate protection. This is why we distribute several BSI environmental protection and sustainable development related standards in Hungary for instance BS EN ISO 14001 – Environmental management, PAS 2010 – Biodiversity, ISO 20121 – Sustainable Event Management, Carbon Footprint Verification (CFV), Carbon Footprint Verification (CFV), PAS 2060 – Carbon neutrality.
If you want to find out more about our available BSI standards including the BS 8001 - Circular economy standard you can learn more about them here.
 Irena.org. 2020. What Are Standards?. [online] Available at: <https://www.irena.org/inspire/Standards/What-are-Standards> [Accessed 19 August 2020].