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What are the benefits of ISO International Standards?

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ISO International Standards provide practical tools for tackling many of today’s global challenges. In the following sections you can learn about how International Standards work in the real world, and the benefits they bring to business, society and the environment.

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ISO standards support World Tourism Day

by Maria Lazarte on
sea and iland

Many ISO International Standards support the objectives of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) on the theme of, "Tourism and sustainable energy: Powering sustainable development". The event, held every year on 27 September, is organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which itself participates in the ISO committees developing standards on tourism and public information symbols.

According to the UNWTO, tourism can play a role in creating a brighter future, where the world’s entire population has access to modern, efficient and affordable energy services. In a dedicated message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states, "One of the world’s largest economic sectors, tourism is especially well-placed to promote environmental sustainability, green growth and our struggle against climate change through its relationship with energy."

ISO standards provide practical, internationally harmonized solutions and best practice to help make these goals a reality. ISO 50001 for energy management systems for instance, can be used by organizations to optimize their energy use. The recently published ISO 20121 for sustainable event management, can make sport games, concerts, festivals, conferences and many other activities "greener". And the use of environmental standards, such as ISO 14001, can help stakeholders in the industry – whether hotels, tour operators, food and other service providers – to take care of our planet.

In addition, ISO has a committee developing standards specifically for the tourism industry, ISO/TC 228, Tourism services. Currently, ISO/TC 228 is working on a number of standards for adventure tourism (safety and information to participants), diving, natural protected areas and spas, to name a few.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele comments, "Most of us have been tourists at some point in our lives. So it’s easy for us to understand why standards are so important when in foreign places! Standardized public information symbols, for example, help us get information even if we don’t understand the language. Country and currency codes simplify currency exchanges. Passport and identification card standards make it easier to prove our identity when crossing borders.

"The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is particularly timely. Tourism is a key driver for socio-economic development, and one of the main income sources for many developing countries, which make up the majority of ISO members. It is therefore important for ISO to develop relevant, reliable and practical standards that meet the needs of the industry and help it grow, but that also enable it to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future."



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ISO Focus+, 8/2012

ISO Focus+

Our monthly magazine draws attention to the vital role International Standards play in the global economy. The magazine is geared to an international readership of standards developers, industry and government regulators. Each month, we focus on a theme such as risk or the environment, to highlight the achievements of standards in the field. The magazine features interviews from top business executives, examples of management system standards in practice as well as an update on some of the newest International Standards.

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Efficiency has come to the forefront with global challenges like sustainability and financial uncertainty demanding better results with less waste. International Standards are crucial for promoting efficiency, which is why the theme of this year’s World Standards Day is "Less waste, better results – Standards increase efficiency".

International Standards, for example, share best practice so that organizations do not reinvent the wheel. They help reduce waste. They increase interoperability and compatibility. They facilitate market access for innovations and empower companies to compete globally. The September 2012 issue of ISO Focus+ showcases concrete examples of International Standards that are making a difference by increasing efficiency, whether environmental, industrial, or managerial to name a few.

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