Millions of businesses are applying and using standards every day. All of them enjoy the benefits of using standards, and some of them also contribute to the process of developing and revising standards by actively participating in standardization activities.

Whether you are a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) or a big company, European standards are valuable tools that can help your business to:

  • ensure the quality and safety of products and/or services;
  • achieve compatibility between products and/or components;
  • access markets and sell to customers in other countries in and outside Europe;
  • satisfy your customers’ expectations and requirements;
  • reduce costs, eliminate waste and improve efficiency;
  • comply with relevant legislation including EU regulations;
  • gain knowledge about new technologies and innovations.

Knowing which standards to use, and how to apply them in the correct way, is vital for the success of your business. It is also important to understand how standards are made, what standards to use in your business, and how you can contribute to the standardization process.

Standards and your business (brochure in pdf format) provides a brief introduction to the world of standards and explains why standards are necessary for business.

In a nutshell there are many benefits that your business can reap from using European Standards. Among others these are: 

Access to customers across Europe and around the world

By using European Standards, your business can take full advantage of the Single Market and reach up to 600 million potential consumers across Europe.
European Standards published by CEN are recognized and accepted by the National Standardization bodies in 34 countries, so you can be sure that when you apply these standards, you will be able to sell your products and/or services in all these countries.
Europe is the region that has the largest implementation percentage of international standards. Standards grant access to the global market and are an important asset in contributing to the international dimension of Europe. CEN’s ties with the ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), are settled through the Vienna Agreement. This agreement allows the widening of trade borders of the European Union, and guarantees a strong European presence at international level. Through the involvement of experts in Technical Committees, European and national expertise is being developed and recognized globally.

Reduced costs, less waste and better efficiency

For European businesses, standards have become a strategic management tool to increase their competitive edge.

Standards facilitate competition by making it easier for customers to choose between different suppliers offering equivalent products or services. Purchasers are able to choose between products or services that comply with the same standards by looking at differences in terms of quality, price, and other criteria.
Standards also contribute to reducing waste and improving efficiency For example, European Standards that integrate ‘Ecodesign’ principles are valuable tools for reducing energy consumption thereby helping consumers to save money.
In the  European standardization community we continuously analyse, look for solutions and evolve in addressing the challenge of new technologies and innovation such as smart meters, green data centres, smart grids, sustainable building design, renewable energies, electric vehicles, co-generation, just to mention a few. Most of these areas show that European standardization has put energy efficiency and sustainability at the heart of its agenda. By doing so, we prove our firm commitment to contribute to the EU 2020 targets to reduce low-gas carbon emissions.

Access to the latest knowledge and state-of-the-art solutions

European and international standards are developed by experts from many different countries who share their knowledge and expertise in a particular field. These standards are also reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they take account of the latest scientific, technological, regulatory and market developments.

By referring to the current versions of relevant standards, you can benefit from having access to the best available knowledge and state-of-the-art solutions.

Help the fast and easy transfer of research results to the market

The European Standardization System provides you also with a trustworthy platform on which you can build your innovations.
The close cooperation between the three European Standardization Organizations (ESOs) addresses cross-sectoral standardization activities and provides a system approach to new areas of standardization. Indeed, standardization channels innovation thereby increasing industry's competitiveness, bringing new export opportunities and economic growth and hence contributes to the recovery of Europe's economy.

CEN and its siter organization CENELEC are enhancing their links with Research & Development (R&D) in order to reinforce the role of standards as a tool for market penetration of R&D results through the development of an integrated strategy, better promotion of the benefits of standardization to relevant R&D partners, and active involvement in EU-funded research and innovation projects.

Improve performance, quality and reliability

European Standards provide clear guidelines and instructions that, when correctly applied, should ensure that a product or service will satisfy a series of specific quality criteria, corresponding with customers’ requirements.

By implementing the relevant standards, you can achieve better levels of performance and reliability. This will help you to attract and retain customers for your products and services, thereby making your business more competitive and successful.

Compliance with relevant legislation (including EU Directives)

Standards can help companies and other organizations to ensure that their products and services fulfil the requirements of relevant legislation.
Some European Standards (called ‘harmonized standards’) enable companies to make sure that their products, services or processes comply with the requirements of specific EU directives and/or regulations. Those who apply these standards are said to benefit from a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the relevant legal requirements.

Compatibility between different products and components

Standards are a useful tool for ensuring that different products and components are mutually compatible and will function properly when connected together. This objective - also known as interoperability - is vital for numerous industries.
By paying close attention to standards, you can make sure that all the products and services you provide are compatible with each other, and that they will also work with products and services offered by other companies and organizations.