Economic benefits of standards – research reports

The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy

Independent research on the economic contribution of standards to the UK economy and businesses finds that standards boost UK productivity and improve performance, kick-start innovation, and support UK domestic and international trade.

Conducted by independent experts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and commissioned by BSI, the report is the most comprehensive study to date on the economic benefits of standards and looks at economic data from 1921-2013.

The report analyses the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of BSI’s consensus based voluntary standards across the UK economy. It concludes that they are a vital part of the strength of UK industry and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth.

The research finds that:

  • £8.2 billion is the amount that standards contribute to the UK economy
  • 37.4% of UK productivity growth can be attributed to standards
  • 28.4% of annual UK GDP growth can be attributed to standards, equivalent to £8.2 billion
  • £6.1 billion of additional UK exports per year can be attributed to standards

The research highlights benefits across seven key sectors in the UK economy. The most productive sectors use standards the most: aerospace and defence, for example, increased productivity by 20.1% between 2005 and 2014, while the UK average was 4.9%.

The food and drink manufacturing sector saw an increase in turnover by £10.2 billion per year through its use of standards. Standards increased total turnover in all seven sectors studied by £33.3 billion per year.

Of those companies surveyed 84% say that using standards enhances their reputation; 73% say that standards allow greater control of environmental problems; 89% say that standards contribute to the optimization of compliance with regulations, such as health and safety legislation; 50% say that standards encourage innovation through the diffusion of knowledge; and 70% say that standards contribute to improving their supply chain by improving the quality of supplier products and services.

The research also identified that investing in standards pays dividends for organizations that use them and that standards always generate more benefits for companies than they cost to implement.

> Download report: The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy (PDF)

> Download summary: How standards benefit businesses and the UK economy (PDF)

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