International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

News release – 2018 Number 08

Getting the packaging right

International Guide just updated


Geneva, Switzerland, 2018-10-03 Packaging has come a very long way since its humble beginnings of gourds and clay pots. These days, the world of packaging is much more complex, needing to be safe and sustainable whilst appealing and functional. An International Guide has just been revised to help organizations ensure their packaging meets growing consumer needs.


Machine readable passports

Some things never change. Did you know that the humble glass bottle – now making a comeback, thanks to its facility for recycling – was first commercialized by the ancient Egyptians some 3500 years ago? About 1300 years later the Chinese gave us paper, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that branding started appearing on packaging, leading to bar codes, nutrition facts and a whole lot more.

These days, packaging must not only conform to legal requirements, it needs to appeal to consumers as well, helping them make informed choices.

ISO/IEC Guide 41, Packaging – Recommendations for addressing consumer needs provides guidance to product designers, manufacturers, regulators, and others involved in decision making regarding packaging – including standards developers.

Christine Heemskerk, co-convener of the ISO working group that developed the standard and Chair of the Consumer and Public Interest Network of BSI, ISO’s member for the UK said the newly revised version features more detailed information on risk assessment, vulnerable consumers’ needs, cost reduction, use of resources, suitability for intended purpose, and recycling.

”Consumers will directly benefit from industry use of the revised guide, with safer, more appropriate and informative packaging,” she said.

Fellow convener, Sandra Herrera, standards specialist at ICONTEC, ISO’s member for Colombia agrees.

“ISO/IEC Guide 41 will optimize product packaging, by providing international best practice and guidance on everything from ensuring the packaging protects the product effectively, to labelling information and environmental impact, such as reuse and recycling.”

ISO/IEC Guide 41, Packaging – Recommendations for addressing consumer needs was developed by ISO/COPOLCO, ISO’s committee on consumer policy.

It can be purchased from your national IEC member or the IEC Webstore.

About IEC

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes globally relevant International Standards for all electric and electronic devices and systems. It brings together 171 countries; 86 are Members (National Committees) and 85 are Affiliates, developing countries that benefit from IEC work without the burden of membership.

Together they represent more than 99% of the world population and world electricity generation. More than 20 000 experts cooperate on the global IEC platform and many more in each member country.

They ensure that products work everywhere safely and efficiently with each other. The IEC also supports all forms of conformity assessment and administers four Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that components, equipment and systems used in homes, offices, healthcare facilities, public spaces, transportation, manufacturing, explosive environments and during energy generation conform to them.

IEC work covers a vast range of technologies: power generation (including all renewable energy sources), transmission, distribution, smart grid & smart cities, batteries, home appliances, office and medical equipment, all public and private transportation, semiconductors, fibre optics, nanotechnology, multimedia, information technology, and more. It also addresses safety, EMC, performance and the environment.


Find out more

Media contact:

Gabriela Ehrlich
Tel: +41 22 919 02 78
Mob: +41 79 600 56 72
Email: Gabriela Ehrlich
Skype: gabriela.ehrlich


News release 2018-08

pdf file 44 kB (English)