According to ISO/IEC Guide 2 Standardization and related activities – General vocabulary, standard is a document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.
- Standards help to make life simpler and to increase the reliability and the effectiveness of many goods and services we use;
- Standards are created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service;
- Standards are designed for voluntary use and do not impose any regulations. However, laws and regulations may refer to certain standards and make compliance with them compulsory;
- "Voluntary Standards” become mandatory only when they are incorporated into contracts; or they are referenced or adopted by government agencies as part of a regulation to protect public health, safety, and the environment;
- The difference between a standard and a technical regulation lies in compliance. While conformity with standards is voluntary, technical regulations are by nature mandatory.