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ISO COPOLCO

Objectives & Membership

COPOLCO—the Committee on Consumer Policy of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—provides a forum for the exchange of information and experience on consumer participation in the international standardization work of ISO and, by liaison, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

COPOLCO’s membership includes some 128 ISO member countries, represented by delegates are from the national standards bodies and consumer organizations of these countries. The U.S. participates in COPOLCO via ANSI’s Consumer Interest Forum (CIF).

In addition to collaborative work with the IEC, COPOLCO has strong affiliations with Consumers International, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML) and some regional consumer organizations such as ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardization.

Download ISO’s overview of COPOLCO and the importance of consumers in standards, “Getting Started – About ISO/COPOLCO.”

Activities

COPOLCO identifies key standardization areas of interest to consumers and works to promote and coordinate consumer representation in those areas. Those focus areas are defined annually and reported on in COPOLCO’s key areas annual report.

In addition, COPOLCO influences ISO’s program of work by proposing new areas for standardization where there is a perceived need for enhanced consumer protection. For example, in response to COPOLCO proposals, ISO has undertaken standards projects on:[MM1]

  • Customer satisfaction, including guidance for organizations on how to develop codes of conduct, complaints handling mechanisms, and external customer dispute resolution systems
  • Environmental management systems
  • Social responsibility
  • Tourism and related services
  • Trading of second hand goods

While COPOLCO itself does not write standards—that work is carried out by ISO’s technical committees—it does produce standards development guides, policy statements, and informational publications on issues of importance to consumers.
These topics include:

  • Child safety
  • Comparative testing of consumer products and services
  • Consumer participation in standardization
  • General safety guidelines
  • Graphical symbols
  • Packaging
  • Product information and instructions
  • The needs of the elderly and people with disabilities
  • Development of standards for services – Recommendations for addressing consumer issues

COPOLCO also works with the IEC to produce guides related to consumer issues in the development of standards.

Annual Plenary & Workshop

Among its training events and activities, COPOLCO hosts an annual plenary meeting in conjunction with a workshop for consumers, public officials, manufacturers, and standardization experts. Focused on a theme relevant to consumers, the workshop is intended to generate ideas to feed into ISO’s technical and policy objectives. It also initiates discussion among the plenary attendees of possible follow-up actions COPOLCO might take. Recent themes have included:

  • Inclusive commerce – what role for standards?
  • Consumer protection in the digital economy
  • Road safety by design

For training modules and other consumer-related resources, visit the ISO COPOLCO site.

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Staff Contacts

Michaela Miller

CIF Secretary
ANSI Program Manager, Standards Facilitation

Phone:
212.642.8934

Fax:
212.840.2298

Email:
mmiller@ansi.org

Lisa Rajchel

ANSI Senior Director, Standards Facilitation

Phone:
212.642 4932

Fax:
212.840.2298

Email:
lrajchel@ansi.org

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