ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Consumer Representatives in Standards Development to Benefit from Updated Guidance Document

New York, May 12, 2003

The aim of engaging consumers in standardization work is to ensure that the consumer perspective is brought to bear on standards for consumer products. Consumers and their organizations can play a crucial role in ensuring that standards correspond to real consumer needs and contain adequate consumer protections. Consumers can also help to raise awareness of the existence of agreed upon standards. By these means, consumers help to ensure that the public will have access to products manufactured, or services rendered, according to appropriate standards.

The International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have recently published a new guidance document for use by those who represent consumer interests in the standardization work of not only ISO and IEC, but for the corresponding work at the national level and to assist those who recommend the use of International Standards.

Entitled “The consumer and standards – Guidance and principles for consumer participation in standards development,” the brochure was developed by the ISO Committee on Consumer Policy (ISO/COPOLCO). The Guidance and principles represents the completed work of the now-disbanded COPOLCO working group on consumer participation, which had as one of its tasks to revise the material from a similar publication dating from 1986 (now withdrawn).

The 24-page text contains guidance and principles that outlines the meaning and essential elements of consumer participation. It describes important priorities for consumers, how they are decided and various methods to help ensure that the end product or service meets consumers' expectations. Finally, it contains useful references to relevant ISO/IEC Guides, International Standards, and other publications.

Furthermore, the guidance incorporates COPOLCO's input (dated from 2001) as well as updated references to other useful reference publications that have appeared in the meantime. The layout also has been improved to enhance the presentation and encourage readability.

“We encourage a widespread review of the document and invite feedback on its content,” said Jim McCabe, ANSI director of consumer relations and public policy. “We also extend our thanks thanks to those members of the ANSI Consumer Interest Forum (CIF) who contributed toward the document’s revision.”

Interested parties are encouraged to disseminate and promote this publication as widely as possible among consumer groups and other target audiences who would benefit from this useful tool. Electronic copies are available for downloading from ISO Online.

Printed copies of the document may be obtained by contacting ISO; modest fees may be required to offset the expense of postal charges for bulk shipments.

For more information about consumer participation in standards-setting activities, please visit

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