AFNOR, which hosts the IEC National Committee for France, has carved out a niche in supplying market and technology intelligence and information to its members.
It offers a range of innovative measurement tools designed to help companies determine where they stand in a given market or in a specific area. For instance, Indiko Environment is a benchmarking tool featuring a number of environmental indicators which can help companies meet their environmental objectives.
The company also publishes a yearly international barometer which highlights the importance of various countries inside the IEC, tracking France’s but also other nations’ performance in the various Technical Committees. The 2019 publication has recently come out and the findings paint a contrasted picture.
Germany substantially led the pack in 2018 with the largest number of TC Chairs by far, followed by the US, France, the UK and Japan. Italy comes in sixth position ahead of China. While China has been steadily increasing the number of its chairmanships since 2014 , this stopped in 2018 – a marked contrast to the growing role of China at the head of ISO Committees. The number of French Chairs increased, with new leadership at the head of IEC TC 111 and IEC TC 105. In 2019, France also acquired a new chairmanship, that of IEC TC 120.
Different strategies are adopted by participating members: some countries opt to be active members in virtually every TC: China, Germany, the UK and Japan can be singled out for following that line. Others like France, Italy or the US have opted to be more selective in their participation. When it comes to the joint technical committee formed by IEC and ISO and which standardizes IT, JTC 1, and its various subcommittees, the US remains in the dominant position, although the country been losing some ground since 2016. A US Chair was however appointed head of SC 42, devoted to artificial intelligence standardization, in preference to a Chinese candidate.
AFNOR also publishes several studies on the impact of standardization. One of the recent ones looks how standardization in electrotechnology in France helps exporters and boosts growth.