Governments and standards: a winning combination

Standards provide a framework for proper agreements. From the A4 format for paper and 4G network rules to agreements on safety and quality: standards are an integral part of our daily lives and also have major impacts on the way we work. Have you ever thought about the impact of standards on your SME, and did you know that you can contribute to the development of standards yourself? 

What is a standard?

A standard is an agreement about a product, service or process. It’s not a binding obligation, but is applied voluntarily by everyone who has an interest in it. By referring to a standard in legislation, its application becomes mandatory. This can be done, for example, to better protect consumers or employees. You can also make standards enforceable by referring to them in contracts or in the context of certification. 

42,000 that's how many standards are currently available at the NBN

5 reasons to refer to standards in legislation

Governments regularly draw up regulatory texts that contain technical regulations. Of course, it is possible to develop your own technical regulations and include them in the text. However, the use of existing regulations – i.e. standards – offers many advantages: 

  • Cost savings – thanks to greater efficiency and better business processes; 
  • Export opportunities – products or services are more easily accepted in other countries; 
  • Innovation – sharing knowledge and new techniques becomes easier; 
  • Customer satisfaction - by increasing the quality of products or services; 
  • Sustainability – standards  help create environmentally friendly, safe and sustainable products or processes.


How you refer to standards in legislation

What types of standards are there and how do they come about? What is the difference between standards and regulations? Why and how do you refer to standards in legislation? Discover all this and more in the white paper developed by the FPS Economy, the BEC (Belgian Electrotechnical Committee) and the NBN.

Governments and standards

It’s clear that integrating standards into your regulations has many advantages. But did you know that you can also contribute to the development of standards?


The NBN, Bureau for Standardisation, facilitates the development of standards in Belgium. It does this through standards committees: the NBN brings together experts so that they can develop standards that relates to their areas of specialization. These experts include a large number of government representatives.


By participating in the development of standards, you: 

  • You learn - you are the first to be aware of future developments and trends; 
  • You network - you are constantly exchanging ideas with other experts; 
  • You influence - you exert influence during the norm development process. 

The NBN needs your experience and expertise!

Register as an expert today

2,636 that's how many Belgian experts are currently helping the NBN develop standards

About the NBN

Together with its sector operators, the NBN acts as the Belgian knowledge centre for all activities related to standardisation. We play a societal role by helping companies, consumers, public authorities and other stakeholders strive for greater quality within an international competitive context. We do so by offering services related to the development, publication, dissemination and use of standards.

Referencing to standards in technical regulations

 Ask for our white paper: 'Referencing to standards in technical regulations '.

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