A Brief History of ISO Certification – The International Organisation for Standardization

dave burton quality management systems specialist

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So you’ve probably seen us posting out about a variety of different ISO standards and some top tips to get certified for ISO 9001 or ISO 14001.

For those that haven’t been involved in working on an ISO certification we thought we’d give a little bit of a brief history of ISO, and why it’s so important in today’s business world.

What does ISO Certification Mean?

ISO stands for the International Organisation for Standardization – it sounds like it could be the start of a Two Ronnies sketch doesn’t it – but it’s actually a really important discipline for helping to improve standards.

It all started back in London in 1946 when 65 delegates from 25 different countries met to discuss the future of International Standardization. In 1947, ISO officially came into existence with 67 technical committees focusing on specific subject areas. Then in 1949, ISO set up a small office in a private house in Geneva, Switzerland with just 5 members of staff.

Roll forward to 1951 and the publication of the first ever ISO Standard – at the time  this was known as a ‘recommendation’ – ISO/R 1:1951. Standard 1 was the Standard Reference Temperature for Industrial Length Measurements – and it still exists today although it has been updated numerous times and is now ISO 1:2002 with a much fancier name.

ISO Standards Through Time

Since then there have been many standards introduced – lots of them are very important for how we live today:

1960 – ISO 31 sets out the use of one unit for each quantity – for example, the metre for distance and the second for time – the objective being to reach world-wide uniformity in units of measurement

1968 – ISO published its first standard on freight containers, changing the way that our goods travel across the world.

1987 – ISO published its first Quality Management Standard – these are the family of standards that many of you will be familiar with – the ISO:9000 standards.

1996 – ISO launches its Environmental Management System Standard, ISO 14001. The standard provides tools for companies    and organisations to help them identify and control their environmental impact.

2005 – ISO in conjunction with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) launch ISO 27001 – an incredibly important standard for modern businesses as it looks at information technology, system security and minimising risk.

2010 – ISO launches a standard looking at Social Responsibility – ISO 26000.

2011 – ISO 50001 launches providing management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.

2016 – ISO 37001 becomes the first international anti-bribery management system standard, helping organisations around the world to combat bribery risk throughout their global value chains.

2018 – ISO publishes ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational Health and Safety Management – helping businesses around the world to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.

So you can see, even though you may feel that you haven’t had a great deal of exposure to ISO, in reality the standards that they publish, the businesses that attain certification and the impact that ISO has globally, probably touches your life on a daily basis.

The ISO certification is a standard of best practise, of business discipline, of demonstrating to your workforce, suppliers and customers that quality, safety, environmental impact, data security, etc matter to YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.

ISO Certification in London and the South East

We work with lots of companies across London and the South East helping them to achieve certification in the standards that are important to their businesses. This is usually the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 and ISO 45001 standards.

If you’d like more information on how achieving an ISO certification could help improve processes and standards within your business then please get in touch with our team at QBH Solutions or check out some of the case studies on the QBH website: www.qbhsolutions.co.uk


Article by Dave Burton, mentor on Jomo247.

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