A Brief History of ISO –
the International Organization for Standardization
Founded in 1947 by a group of delegates from 25 countries, the 67 original technical committees of ISO came together with a unified goal of ensuring products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality. The very first ISO standard, called “ISO/R 1:1951” – was first published in 1951 to set a standard reference temperature for industrial length measurements. Today, that standard still exists (after many updates) as ISO 1:2002.
Over the decades following, ISO created committees and published standards for everything from units of measure to freight containers and environmental quality. It was not until 1987 that ISO 9001 – one of the most recognizable standards today – was published as ISO’s first quality management standard. The environmental standard ISO 14001 followed not long after in 1996, and ISO has only increased its output of new guidance since, branching out into fields such as information security, social responsibility, energy management, and even corporate integrity.
Having celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017, ISO stands as a strong player in international industries. Today, with 22,401 International Standards covering all aspects of business and technology, and members from 161 countries, ISO has its eye on the future of quality and safety certification.