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Why Little Britain can still be trusted

The UK has had it pretty rough in the past couple of years. Coloured by the Brexit debacle, the tenure of Theresa May will not go down well in the annals of time. But, whatever happens with our place in Europe, there is one reason why we shouldn’t doubt the ‘Great’ in Great Britain. And that’s ISO Standards.

The UK can be trusted

If you’ve some spare time on a wet Wednesday afternoon, the ISO Surveys of Standards 9001, 14001 and 27001 make a pretty illuminating read. These statistical accounts reveal which countries are best at securing – and maintaining – certification in these standards. The good news? The UK is invariably – if not at the top of the leader board for the number of certificates held – then very close to it.

Quality Management Systems ISO 9001

The European stats for this standard are revealing. Holding an impressive 97,646 certificates in 2017, Italy came top of the quality list, hotly pursued by the very organised Germans at 64,658. Thereafter,  the UK comes an admirable third, with 37,478 certificates. Spain and France lag a little behind their European peers, while you may want to reconsider doing business with Monaco. With only 24 certificates issued in 2017, they’re clearly too busy drinking champagne to care that much.

Environmental Management ISO 14001

This one is becoming more pressing by the day, and it’s up to all of us to ensure that the partners we choose to do business with have standards of environmental concern that match our own. So, who’s good in Europe? The answer is the UK and Italy. Though the hard numbers put the UK ahead with 17,559 certificates over 14,571, this may not give a true reflection of Italy’s achievements, as the way in which certificates were counted changed in 2016, knocking them off the top spot. Simply put, the most environmentally responsible countries are Italy, the UK, Spain and Germany, with other European peers lagging far behind, and the worst offenders including Kosovo, Armenia, Gibraltar, Moldova and San Marino. But what’s perhaps most surprising throughout the statistics is the poorer uptake in comparison to 9001, even among the good guys.

Information Security Management ISO 27001

Yikes, but this is a biggie and is only going to get more so. So, who should we trust with our information? It’s no surprise that East Asia and the Pacific, home to so much technical innovation, top the leader board this time. Japan is first with 9,161 certificates, with China some way behind on 5,669. But what about Europe? You’ll be glad to know that the UK is streets ahead of its peers with 4,503 certificates, leaving second-place Germany standing at 1,339. The rest of Europe? Only the Netherlands seem to be making an effort, while everyone else is languishing somewhat.

What do we take from this?

In the round, Great Britain is doing pretty darned well, and we should be proud of that. But there’s a little more to be found in the numbers. It’s plain to see – across the planet – that there’s greater enthusiasm for uptake of standards that immediately impact on the quality of business process day to day, and less so for those that invest in the greater good. While you can understand why we make these choices, they’re short-sighted, as we’re now seeing with the hastening effects of climate change and data breach. So, isn’t it maybe time we lifted our eyes from our desks and looked to the horizon? Because if we work towards them, these ISO Standards could really help us all out.

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