Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Power of ISO Standards

This week in a rather ordinary facebook post, Animal Welfare Approved announced that it was accepted by the International Organization for Standards (ISO) as being in compliance of Standard 17065: Conformity assessment -- Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services.

This is huge. 

Here's why.

Transparency - If anyone has ever doubted AWA's certification process, such speculation should be calmed. ISO standards are golden in industry and while many standards are corporate in intent, Standard 17065 allows me an entire new conversation to new customers. Rather than explain the certification, my dropping (and potentially providing) the Standard to my customers could provide that proof that what I do for my animals, land and customers meets and/or exceeds the highest protocol. 

Global - ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade. While I do not envision global markets, Chicago and the Twin Cities are definitely in sight now. Couple this with USDA certified processing and the sky's the limit. 

Name Recognition - ASC, Consumer Reports, Motor Trend...these names invoke quality and ISO does as well. While my audit pitch has done well, the simply mention of ISO will provide a new level of accountability and a stickiness that I hope will stay with incumbent and new customers going forward. 

While 17065 is great, the stakes are higher. Each day is an ISO day and while many know how I feel about industrial farming, I must adhere to a new mindset of stretching farther to ensure that I exceed the standards set before me by AWA.

That's the view from the Mountain...