ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 162 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
ISO Central Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ISO Strategy outlines our priorities for the next five years. It provides guidance and strategic direction, helping us to respond to a future where constant change will require us to continually improve the ISO system. It is a living document, and strategic directions are adjusted as required.
The ISO story began in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’. On 23 February 1947 the new organization, ISO, officially began operations.
Since then, ISO has published over 21000 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and manufacturing.
Today ISO has members from 162 countries and 3368 technical bodies to take care of standard development. More than 150 people work full time for ISO’s Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.
Because ‘International Organization for Standardization’ would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), ISO founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO.