Standardisation is a true opportunity for New Zealand right now. Standards can improve productivity, facilitate trade, increase innovation, and reduce regulatory burdens. They can do this by reducing costs by delivering economies of scale, acting as a spur to economic growth and promoting innovation, and supporting less regulation from government.
International standardisation also removes trade barriers, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) highlighted how Standards contribute to global challenges, at 'Davos 2009' in Switzerland in February – the 39th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). ISO Deputy Secretary-General Kevin McKinley was actively involved in many sessions where international Standards offer solutions to address global challenges.
Kevin commented: 'international Standards provide a common global lexicon for matters of trade, health, safety, security, communication, and such interconnected challenges as climate change, energy, water, and development.'
The theme of the forum was 'Shaping the post-crisis world'. The objective was to catalyse a more inclusive, integrated, and systematic approach to improving the state of the world. The Forum attracted 2500 participants from 96 countries, including 41 heads of state or government and a record number of more than 1400 chief executives and chairpersons from the world's leading companies.
With the world economy in the middle of its deepest downturn in 40 years, global leaders discussed the need to balance immediate measures with longer-term ones. Going forward from 'Davos 2009', existing and potential new ISO international Standards will assist businesses to weather the economic crisis and can help guide their activities towards renewed stability and sustained success.
For Standards New Zealand, examining how we can measure the macroeconomic benefits of standardisation, and measuring productivity growth potential, will be a particular focus in 2009/10.