100 years of Italian Standards

The ISO member for Italy, UNI, is celebrating a century of making the world better.

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By Barnaby Lewis
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Standardization in Italy began a hundred years ago to the day, with the founding of UNI. Unless you go back as far as the pipelines and joints of the Roman water mains or the bricks and streets of Pompeii, the first Italian standards were developed in the 1920s and mainly related to products. By the 1970s, UNI had widened its scope to include processes and, later, management systems. In its most recent history, UNI’s focus has been on people, creating standards that make life better at work, at home, or wherever we buy products, interact and go about our daily lives.

UNI wants people to work and live safe, improve their abilities, use good products and services and – at the same time – Italian companies to be trusted and competitive thanks to standards.

UNI’s birthday celebrations took place entirely online, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and were well attended by representatives of the founding organization (ANIMA — the Italian mechanical engineering industry association), as well as its international partners, ISO and CEN (European Committee for Standardization), and its main institutional, business and professional stakeholders. Speaking by video at the digital event, ISO President Eddy Njoroge commended UNI for its active participation in international standardization and the ISO system. He used the occasion to highlight the many benefits that standards have brought to Italians, as well as enabling exports and trade.

Thanks to UNI’s efforts, standards play a key part in the conformity, acceptance and exchange of Italian goods and services across the world: from food and finance to Ferraris and fashion.

For a hundred years, UNI has made standards central to making life better for Italians.

Under a bold new centennial logo, UNI has a series of special events planned for 2021, with a focus on the role of standardization in society. A growing number of social topics are being developed and published as standards, such as social responsibility, financial education, accessibility and design for all, resilient communities, smart cities and infrastructures, and the circular and sharing economies. UNI believes that standards like these are needed more than ever to harmonize economic development, boost innovation and ensure people’s dignity. That’s one more reason to celebrate.

Barnaby Lewis
Barnaby Lewis

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