GENEVA-The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has released its annual report for the year 2008, which highlights the ability of international standards to provide confidence during the current global financial crisis.

"Refined to its essence, the objective of ISO standards is to provide confidence," the report states. "When a product or service meets the specifications or requirements of an ISO standard, this provides confidence that they incorporate essential features. These features can include quality, ecology, safety, reliability, interoperability efficiency and effectiveness. ISO standards also help to ensure such benefits at an economical cost."

The report, titled "ISO standards. Integrated confidence," says that for organizations, implementing ISO standards is a means of integrating confidence with their offering and adds, "More and more organizations highlight the conformity of their products or services with ISO standards as an added value. In other words, ISO is well on its way to becoming a powerful, international brand which is a synonym for confidence."

“This ISO Annual Report shows how in both times of stability and times of risk, ISO and its work provide practical tools for providing confidence, reducing uncertainty and managing risk in a globalized world,” says Rob Steels, ISO secretary-general.

The report states that during 2008, the ability of ISO standards to ensure and instill confidence became even more important as the repercussions of the global financial crisis were felt across business sectors and economies worldwide.

At the end of the year, the ISO system comprised 157 national members (which has since increased to 161), representing 98% of the world economy and 97% of its population. In 2008, the organization published 1,230 standards, bringing its portfolio to 17,765 by the end of the year.

Download the reporthere.