International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

The IEC is the world`s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies — collectively known as `electrotechnology`. Wherever you find electricity and electronics, you find the IEC supporting safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC also manages conformity assessment schemes that certify that equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards.

Company details

3, rue de Varembé, P.O. Box 131 , GENEVA , CH - 1211 Switzerland

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Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Energy - Renewable Energy
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

A vital role

Millions of devices that contain electronics, and use or produce electricity, rely on IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems to perform, fit and work safely together.

Founded in 1906, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. These are known collectively as “electrotechnology”.

IEC provides a platform to companies, industries and governments for meeting, discussing and developing the International Standards they require.

All IEC International Standards are fully consensus-based and represent the needs of key stakeholders of every nation participating in IEC work. Every member country, no matter how large or small, has one vote and a say in what goes into an IEC International Standard.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.

Close to 20 000 experts from industry, commerce, government, test and research labs, academia and consumer groups participate in IEC Standardization work. 

Globally Relevant

The IEC is one of three global sister organizations (IEC, ISO, ITU) that develop International Standards for the world.

When appropriate, IEC cooperates with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or ITU (International Telecommunication Union) to ensure that International Standards fit together seamlessly and complement each other. Joint committees ensure that International Standards combine all relevant knowledge of experts working in related areas.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) members come from all around the world. While each member is different, they do have one thing in common: all of them represent the entire range of electrotechnical interests in their country, companies and businesses, industry associations, educational bodies, governmental and regulatory bodies, for example. All stakeholders are brought together through the country’s member National Committee.

The IEC also reaches out to newly industrializing countries through its Affiliate Country Programme and, when added together with the members, they bring the spread of the IEC family across more than 97% of the world's population.

The IEC also cooperates with several international, regional and national partners to produce joint publications, help promote the importance of standardization around the world and to coordinate any potential overlaps in work.

The International Electrotechnical Commissionserves world markets and society through its standardization and conformity assessment work for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as 'electrotechnology'.

The IEC promotes world trade and economic growth and encourages the development of products, systems and services that are safe, efficient and environmentally friendly.

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The IEC brings nations and experts together to develop International Standards which facilitate world trade by removing technical barriers to trade, leading to new markets and economic growth.

Through its members, the Commission promotes international cooperation on all questions of standardization and related matters, such as the assessment of conformity to standards, in all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as 'electrotechnology'.

The IEC's vision, mission and strategy is oulined in the Masterplan. This document takes into account the needs of the whole IEC community and of developing markets to shape the Commission's long-term objectives and policies.

Vision
“IEC Standards and conformity assessment programmes – the key to international trade.”

Mission
“The IEC's mission is to be globally recognized as the leading provider of standards, conformity assessment systems and related services needed to facilitate international trade and enhance user value in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies.”

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Enabling World Trade

The IEC International Standards and CA (Conformity Assessment) activities facilitate world trade by removing technical barriers between countries and/or regions. This helps to develop new markets and achieve economic growth.

Put simply, using one of the IEC CA Systems, an electrical or electronic device manufactured to the IEC International Standard in Country A can be tested in that country once, and then sold and used in countries B through to Z. This is possible because they all use the same IEC International Standard, or the equivalent national or regional standard.

IEC Standards and CA lie at the heart of the global trading system as defined by the WTO(World Trade Organization) in its TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Agreement. Under that agreement, WTO member countries look to IEC International Standards and CA activities as the basis for their national voluntary standards, mandatory technical regulations and conformity assessment practices.

Encouraging Development

Participation in the IEC helps countries to achieve considerable social and economic benefits for their industry, regulators and consumers in general. Improvements include better quality, increased productivity, reduced business costs, and increased compatibility for products and services.

By participating in the standardization work a given country's experts can network with world experts in a particular technology. Access to the projects and draft standards also helps in the knowledge and technology transfer to those countries.

In addition, by using the IEC's conformity assessment framework, countries can use the global community of testing laboratories to help ensure that electrical and electronic products, components or systems imported, exported or used are safe, energy efficient and provide for sustainable development with a minimal impact on the environment.

Electrical safety is one of the core activities of the IEC. The IEC helps protect human lives by producing international safety standards which take into account the integrity of installations and systems and by operating CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems.

Governments want to protect their populations from unnecessary risks. Buyers want proof about a product or system's safety, performance and reliability. Users of equipment and consumers want to be able to trust the products or services they are purchasing.

IEC International Standards are the basis for conformity assessment and reduce the influx of low quality products. They make products safer, which in turn increases consumer confidence and public safety.

The IEC handles three CA Systems that enable determination of whether a product or service is what it appears to be and if a system performs as it should.

Committed to your safety

The IEC has a dedicated technical advisory committee on safety (ACOS) which guides and coordinates IEC work on safety to ensure that all IEC Standards take safety issues into account. There are also several technical committees specifically dedicated to writing International Standards on safety functions. Visit thearea on safety functions for more information, including a list of the technical committees involved.

Functional Safety

Every day computer controlled systems are ensuring our safety. Functional safety is about systems detecting potentially dangerous conditions and reacting to this by activating a protective or corrective device or mechanism. Find out more by visiting the Functional safety zone.

Putting Safety into practice

The IEC CA Systems help to guarantee that a product or system meets the relevant IEC International Standard, meaning it will be safe to use anywhere in the world. Visit the individual Conformity Assessment Systems for more information about their work.

The International Electrotechnical Commission is the leading global organization that publishes consensus-based International Standards and manages conformity assessment systems for electric and electronic products, systems and services, collectively known as electrotechnology.

IEC publications serve as a basis for national standardization and as references when drafting international tenders and contracts.

Statutes & Procedures

The IEC Statutes and Rules of Procedure is the governing document of the IEC. It details the rights and obligations of the member National Committees, the IEC Officers and the different IEC management boards.

The Directives outline the procedures of the IEC's technical work, including the rules for the structure and drafting of International Standards.

The IEC came into being on 26-27 June 1906 in London, UK, and ever since has been giving the very best global standards to the world's electrotechnical industries. The IEC thanks industry, government, academia, end-users, and everyone else who has been involved from around the world for more than a century of commitment and partnership.