Why Participate ?
By getting involved in standardization, you can help to shape the content of new standards that will affect your business, while they are being prepared. You can make sure that any concerns or issues you consider important are taken into account during the drafting and development process, and prevent (or minimize) any potential costs or other negative impacts on your business.
When you participate in standardization on a regular basis, you will also be better informed about all kinds of developments that could impact on your business. For example regarding opportunities to revise existing standards, proposals to develop new standards, or the introduction of new regulations - either at national or European level.
By taking part in technical groups - whether at national, European or international level - you, the experts will benefit from having access to the latest knowledge in a particular field or sector that is essential for your business. You will learn about relevant innovations and technological developments as well as emerging trends and evolving market needs.
How to participate in Standardization ?
Businesses as well as other organizations and stakeholders, can participate in standardization in a number of different ways.
It is up to each business or organization to choose whether it wishes to get involved in standardization, and how it prefers to participate. This choice will normally depend on a number of factors, including: the number and variety of fields or sectors to be followed, the availability of technical experts who could participate in technical work, and whether it is possible to combine resources by cooperating with other companies or organizations.
Have your say at national level
The main route for businesses or other stakeholders to get involved in standardization is via your National Standardization Organization. These national organizations can provide you with up-to-date information about what standards are being developed in your domain of interest and how you can help to shape their content.
The simplest way to have your say is by submitting written comments in response to public consultations on draft standards. These consultations (or ‘enquiries’) must be held in all of the participating countries before any new European Standard can be adopted by CEN.
Should you wish to participate directly in discussions on new standards, you can nominate experts to be members of national technical bodies, including ‘mirror committees’, which are responsible for following and contributing to the development of standards at European and/or international level.
An increasing amount of technical work is being done electronically, either via email or using web-based tools (known as ‘e-commenting’). Teleconferencing and webinars also reduces the need for face-to-face meetings, thereby saving time and reducing the costs of participating in standardization.
Have your say at European level
Participating in technical work at national level can sometimes be a first step to getting involved in standardization activities at European level or international level. It may lead to being nominated as a member of a CEN Technical Committee (TC), Sub-Committee (SC) or Working Group (WG). However, it is important to note that the members of these European technical bodies are expected to represent the consensus of all the stakeholders in their respective countries - not just the interests of an individual company or organization. This is known as the ‘national delegation principle’.
Make use of your trade or business association
Another avenue for influencing the development of standards is via business associations or those representing specific industries. In many cases, these national associations are also part of Europe-wide federations that are contributing to standardization activities at European level in their capacity as Partner or Liaison Organization of CEN.