Standards: indisputable added value for civil society organisations

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. 


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

5 reasons to use standards

Standards are available in all forms and around the most diverse topics. These are five of the main reasons why organisations implement them:

  • 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.

Put your topics on the agenda 

An increasing number of civil society organisations - such as consumer organisations, environmental organisations and trade unions - understand the importance of standards. What's more, they actively participate in the development of standards. In this way, they also put the social issues and interests that they strive for on the agenda.  

In Belgium, the practical development of standards is carried out by the NBN, the Bureau for Standardisation. It does this through standards committees: the NBN brings together experts so that they can develop standards relating to their areas of specialisation.  

So why should you participate? As an expert in a standards committee, you can 

  • Influence – you make sure that standards consider the social issues that are close to your heart, such as environmental protection, sustainability, consumer safety, workplace safety, etc.  
  • Learn – you will be the first to know about future developments and trends; 
  • Network – you can continuously exchange views with other experts from industry, government and academia. 
The NBN needs your experience and expertise!


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. 
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Do you have any questions on standards or standardisation?