Standardization: The crucial role of norms and standards

Standardization is an essential condition that enables commercial partners to negotiate properly with each other.

Norms, standards and customary rules are important conditions for collaboration between companies. In simple terms, this means that the same “language” is necessary to talk about the manner, type and method of finishing, quality, warranties, etc. of a product or service, to enable commercial partners to negotiate.


From a historic point of view, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), founded in 1947, has played a crucial pioneering role in standardization. The association of standardization organizations develops standards valid the world over, called ISO standards. With the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), responsible for the electricity and electronics sector, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), they form the World Standards Cooperation (WSC).

Optional membership

Countries may choose to become members. Switzerland is represented by the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV). It goes without saying that any Swiss business, professional association, authority, inspection institute, consumer organization, etc. interested in standards can affiliate with the SNV.

Removing trade borders

A standard is not a law. Although a government may confer a legal nature on a standard, a standard is basically a recommendation and application is optional. Standards are subject to laws. The aim of international standards and the World Trade Organization is to remove trade borders.




A document drawn up with the agreement of different people and accepted by an accredited institution, which defines rules, guidelines and characteristics for activities or their results.

Last modification 30.04.2021

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