Delegates debate over value of standards

Are standards a tool or a hindrance to business development? That is the question that delegates at yesterday’s workshop discussed.

The audience was first reminded that there are three main types of standards: technical standards, for which stakeholders have to defend their views with the standard-making bodies if they do not want to have standards that are unsuitable or that are too onerous to apply imposed on them; ‘soft’ standards, that come about after years of discussions and that in the end become a document that Brussels, for example, will use when the need creating its own standard; and ‘de facto’ standards.

Solvency II was cited as an example of a European standard that has been adopted internationally (here, David won), and the compliance programme on the fight against corruption was cited as an example of a standard that was developed in the US in the 70s, but was then adopted internationally (here, Goliath won).

Delegates finally indicated that companies have an active role to play in the creation of standards, including through lobbying, by being present in the standard-making institutions and asking for the help of the governmental organisations when they need help.