Standardization|28/09/15

The significant economic impact of standards in the United Kingdom

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In June, the British Standards Institution (BSI) published an independent report (by CEBR) which stresses the significant economic benefits of standards for the United Kingdom and UK businesses.

The study contains an analysis of the contribution of standards to labour productivity between 1921 and 2013 and the replies to a survey of more than 500 companies in seven key sectors: the automotive industry, energy, aerospace and defence, the food processing industry, information and communication technologies, construction and life sciences.

The results are similar to those of the study carried out by French standardization association AFNOR in 2009 (“The economic impact of standardization – Technological change, standards and growth in France”). They show, in particular, that:

  • standards contributed to 28.4% of annual British GDP growth and 37.4% of annual growth in British labour productivity in 2013;
  • the most productive sectors in the United Kingdom are the biggest users of standards (the aerospace and defence sectors saw their productivity increase by 20% between 2005 and 2014, versus only 4.9% for the economy as a whole);
  • standards stimulate export performance (for equivalent size, UK companies using standards export twice as much as those that do not use them);
  • standards, which allow the transparent transfer of knowledge and improve compatibility and interoperability, are catalysts for innovation.

(Enjeux n°357)

Download the report

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