Q & A
Questions & Answers
What are standards?
As defined by the International Standards Organization (ISO), standards are documented agreements that contain technical specifications or other precise criteria that have to be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services follow guidelines.
Standards address a wide variety of issues ranging from quality assurance, food safety, technical requirements, packaging rules to various ethical, environmental and social concerns.
What is the purpose of standards?
Standards are necessary for the smooth functioning of anonymous exchanges, and therefore, for the efficient functioning of the market. By sharing a common standard, anonymous partners in a market can communicate, can have common expectations on the performance of each other’s product, and can trust the compatibility of their joint production.
What standards are included in Standards Map?
At present, T4SD concerns voluntary or "private" standards. As such, T4SD defines these standards as not legally required by national governments or WTO regulations. Therefore, these standards fall outside the WTO framework. In most cases, the standards in T4SD have been developed by private entities, including firms, industry organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc.
The standards currently loaded into Standards Map are by no means exhaustive or intended to exclude non-participating standard organizations. In fact, the T4SD team is constantly engaging with new standard organizations and adding their standards’ data to Standards Map. The taxonomy and architecture of the database will be regularly up-dated to include additional products, sectors and initiatives.
Please contact T4SD if you would like to discuss loading your organization’s standard on Standards Map.
Which type of product and to which developing countries do voluntary standards apply?
Standards apply to a large range of commodities and processed goods produced and exported by developing countries and certain service sectors such as tourism and financial services.
Standards included in Standards Map cover approximately 40 product groups exported by over 100 countries.
What type of business can be certified by a standard organization?
Most standards permit the certification of all constituents and production units, whether at the production, processing or retailing stage.
What is the approximate size and growth rate of the market for certified products?
At present, no comprehensive information is available on the size and growth rates of the voluntary standards market.
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