ISO have released the results of their annual certification survey! "Wait, Hold on," you tell me. "Who have released what about what?" ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) is the world's largest developer of international standards. They have published over 19 500 standards, all of which have been designed through global consensus and aid in improving the efficiency and customer satisfaction of international trade. Every year, they release a survey of ISO certifications for management systems like the QMS (ISO9001) and the EMS(ISO14001). It captures and categorises a range of interesting and useful information such as number of certifications from countries across the world, the growth and recognition of each standard, the various industry sectors that have recognised and implemented these standards, and the leading countries in standards and certification worldwide. More importantly, the survey underscores the value of international standards in an evolving global economy- it identifies which standards have received the attention of the global market, how many lower cost labour markets are utilising standards to highlight their credentials, and how Australia is faring against our international competitors. This new survey, which has interpreted that data of certifications issued in 2012, is freely available to download from the ISO website here. In short, the results reveal a "healthy growth across the board for all certifications to ISO management systems". ISO9001 has remained stable (in fact slightly increasing since last year) which just reinforces how essential it is for businesses across the world and how many businesses are recognising this and using it to their advantage. The Quality Assurance certification was issued 1, 101, 272 times across 184 countries, and Australia carved out a solid 9185 of that astounding amount. Too much math? Well simply put, ISO 9001 has displayed a growth of about 2% worldwide, and Australia contributed to that. Our contribution was quite small though compared to market giants like China, Italy (and somewhat surprisingly) Spain, who took out the top three spots for total number of 9001 certifications issued. China and Italy also took out top spots (along with Japan) for environmental management, which had seen a more impressive growth of 9% in just one year. Environmental sustainability is not just a necessity- it's an inevitability. More and more organisations are recognising its relevance in the modern world, especially in Australia, where 2000 certifications were issued this year alone. Though Certex does not offer certification in ISO 50001 (Energy Management), we are still so impressed by its growth of 332% that a special mention is being given to a standard (and to companies!) that understands the importance of being energy efficient in the face of climate change. "Okay.." you remark. " What does that have to do with my business?" Great question. What can it do for your business? The fact of the matter is that the time for collecting data for 2013 is fast closing, and even though there were over 2 million actively trading businesses in Australia last year, we've only had 70, 385 certificates issued since 1993! If you haven't considered the benefits of certification on international level, now's the perfect time to do so. Soon it will be time for reflection. It will be time to ask yourself a different question: What makes my organisation different from those international exemplars like China, Italy and Spain? And you'd want that answer to be "nothing".