ISO proposal to develop wide ranging global standards for the exhibition industry falls through

Associations represented at the Associations’ Committee Meeting held during the UFI Congress in Shanghai discussed several global initiatives, among them the new ISO initiative on standardisation of exhibitions, with the presence of a senior expert from the Chinese Standardisation Agency who was available to answer questions about the proposal that originated from China. The proposal regarded setting up a “Technical Committee” within the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in order to develop and publish ISO standards for “Exhibitions, Events and Conventions”, covering the following: • Classification and terminology of congresses and conventions • Auditing rules for exhibition statistics • Critical data definition for exhibitions, events, and conventions (PAS) • Guidance on exhibition on-site service • Guidance on congress/convention on-site service • Guidance on environmental assessment of stand-fitting • Requirement for exhibition logistical service The SAC has handed in the proposal to the ISO Secretariat. And ISO has distributed it to its members, the national standardisation bodies (DIN in Germany, BSI in the UK, ANSI in the US…). These national bodies have been asked to reach out to their respective industry players for comments, before voting on whether or not they see the need for this committee. The voting will close on 16 November, 2016. For the new committee to be set up, two hurdles needed to be cleared: two-thirds of the members participating in the vote needed to be in favour. Also, at least five national members must have expressed their intention to participate actively. UFI shared information about the initiative, the procedures, and the processes with UFI’s association members and was also in touch with ISO headquarters, to ensure that, in case this committee is set up after the vote, the exhibition industry would have a seat at the table. Unfortunately, due to the nature of ISO and their structures, UFI would have the right to speak there, but – like every other association – not to vote decisions. Sergey Alexeev, the UFI President 2016 said: „I agree that we need good measures for our customers to show the success of exhibitions – but these are already in place in most markets around the world. Our globally diverse industry will find it very hard – or even impossible – to accept some global standards, especially when they are to be developed from outside our industry.” In the end of November 2016, Polish Chamber of exhibition Industry was informed that as a result of a poll among UFI’s association members which showed that, when applying the voting rules that ISO applies to its voting process, the global exhibition industry decided to turn down the proposal. UFI President 2017, Andreas Gruchow, shared this outcome in a letter to the ISO General Secretary. Also voting for the proposal within ISO members, closed on November 16, organization has released the result, stating that “the subject proposal for a new ISO committee to develop standards for exhibitions, events and conventions failed to meet the ISO member vote approval criteria for such proposals. As a result, this activity will not be proceeding in ISO.”