Economic benefits of standards – research reports

The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy

A new report by CEBR for 2022, building on previous research in 2015, summarizes the economic contribution of standards to the UK economy and looks into their use by 1000 companies across all major business sectors.

This report synthesizes all the research findings and looks at the impact of standards in what are five key areas for today’s businesses:

  1. Turnover
  2. Productivity
  3. Trade
  4. Innovation
  5. Environmental sustainability

In summary, our research confirmed that standards continue to generate net benefits for those who use them. Our overall findings were that:

  • 80 per cent of users felt that standards consistently acted to help increase their organization’s growth, productivity and trade
  • 20 per cent saw increases of 10 per cent or more
  • More than two thirds of users said standards had encouraged innovation in their market
  • 92 per cent of environmental standards users saw a positive impact on their firm
  • Individual standards were generally seen to deliver on the outcomes that they claimed would be realized

Standards also make a significant contribution to the UK economy. The headline economic finding is that an estimated 23 per cent of all GDP growth since 2000 is attributable to the impact of standards. This means that standards have boosted the UK’s annual GDP by £161 billion since the start of this century.

A departure from the findings in 2015 is that there’s an apparent increase in the perceived importance of standards for purposes that are not directly economic, such as in health and safety, and the environment.

In any event, the bottom line is that standards continue to be associated with improved economic and business performance and they remain critical, not only to the economy but also to trade, investment, innovation and environmental sustainability.

 The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy (PDF)


Our infographics summarize the economic and business benefits of using standards.