What is a standard?

Standards are jointly agreed solutions to recurrent problems. They are found in every area: from the simplest nail and screw to data communications, healthcare and the environment. Standards have an impact on virtually every aspect of our lives.

What standards comprise
All SIS’ national and international standards are based on, developed through and quality-assured by the SIS standardization process. These standards are established within a broad range of industries and business sectors.

The application of standards is voluntary, but may function as an obligatory reference, as in the regulatory and procurement processes adopted by public authorities. SIS Standards are formal Swedish standards and international standards developed by SIS (Sweden), CEN (Europe) and the ISO (global).

A standard may contain product-performance requirements, describe how they may be tested or define the content of services and how they should be performed. It may also contain joint terminology or describe common symbols and signs.

The broad aim of standards is to facilitate trade and communication. Others are to:

  • define clear guidelines for consistent function and quality
  • improve processes and make them more efficient
  • increase transparency and simplify comparison
  • increase safety and accessibility
  • conserve resources and reduce environmental impact
  • promote development. 

There are also various forms of technical specification that lack the status of standards but which also involve jointly developed agreements. A technical specification may often be developed at a time when the field in question is still insufficiently developed for the document to gain approval as a formal standard.

We have standards from every corner of the world
SIS forms part of a network that develops Swedish, European (CEN/the European Committee for Standardization) and global standards (ISO/International Organization for Standardization). We sell and provide data on Swedish as well as European and global standards.

Our e-nav subscription service provides access to the latest versions of all standards and guidelines affecting your specific area of activity. One way to gain access to the most up-to-date standards in your special area of interest is to become a member of SIS and participate in a standardization project.

Standardization within the EU
Directives are used to harmonise legislation between Member States of the EU and ensure that the internal market functions smoothly. In compliance with the principles of the New Approach, the European Commission signs agreements with the European standardization agencies CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, to develop standards which satisfy the stipulations of EU Directives. These standards, developed under an EU mandate, are referred to as harmonised standards. In common with other European standards, they are developed in collaboration with the national standardization agencies (currently numbering 31 members), including SIS. Any standards may be used, but those that satisfy the requirements of a harmonised standard also meet the requirements of an EU Directive. If a product is to be allowed to circulate freely within the internal market, it must satisfy the EU Directive or Directives that apply to it.

The New Approach means that:

  • special national requirements can be eliminated by focusing European legislation on the broad requirements of safety, health and the environment or on other requirements of general public interest
  • the quality of European standards is guaranteed by mandates awarded to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI by the European Commission in compliance with general guidelines
  • the content of harmonised standards is compatible with the key requirements  stated in the relevant EU Directives
  • the national sector authorities shall approve products manufactured in compliance with a harmonised standard
  • the national sector authorities shall be responsible for safety within their areas of activity. This means, for example, that the Swedish Consumer Agency can use random testing to ensure that products on the market satisfy the requirements specified in those EU Directives that fall within the Agency’s sphere of responsibility.


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