Standardization News

A Year of Global Growth

Katharine E. Morgan

18 years ago, we put a flag in the ground and changed our name from “ASTM” to “ASTM International” because our standards development process supports consensus irrespective of national borders.

Since then, our staff have been diligently working to build and deepen relationships throughout the world. For example, our technical committee meetings have been held in many countries, and we are welcoming more members from governments and industries across the globe.

Indeed, we are thrilled that this year, for the first time ever, more than 6,000 ASTM International members are from outside the United States. 

Our staff and our offices worldwide have been extremely busy in every region.

For example, our membership in the Gulf grew 14% this year. In part, this reflects the fact that we just completed a major five-year, grant-funded project aimed at supporting sustainable codes and standards as that region continues to thrive.  

To build on the success of that intensive project, we recently launched ASTM International’s first chapter ever, in the United Arab Emirates. That chapter will focus on construction standards, which are crucial as the UAE grows and as cities like Dubai hold major events such as World Expo 2020.

Our European membership also grew this year, by 8.5%. Our Brussels office has been busier than ever, particularly due to the fact that our 2019 board chair, Taco van der Maten, is from the Netherlands.  

In addition, we held a major additive manufacturing event in France with hundreds of 3D printing experts from around the world.  

Furthermore, we have discussed cooperation opportunities with the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And, just recently, we signed a pilot technical cooperation agreement with the European standards body (CEN) to see how our stakeholders might work together in areas such as biobased products and recovered carbon black.

Looking forward, we are making significant investments in our relationships in dynamic regions such as Southeast Asia. For example, our staff have made presentations to high profile organizations such as the Association of South East Asian Nations.  

And at our board meeting that just took place in Boston, Massachusetts, our board of directors voted to establish an entity in Singapore to formalize our presence there.

Speaking of our board, I’m pleased to say that our board of directors meeting next October will be in yet another region of the world: Latin America. Our Lima, Peru, office will host it.  

As part of that, our board members will take time to do what they just did in Boston (see pages 14–15), conducting dozens of meetings with members, companies, universities, and others.

Overall, we have great global ambassadors among our membership and many true “road warriors” on our staff. We realize that it’s an increasingly important part of our mission to reach out and make connections as one of the world’s leading standards development organizations.  

The flag that we put in the ground in 2001 as ASTM International is waving boldly.  As we move into 2020 — and towards our 125th anniversary in 2023 — expect our network of members, customers, partners, and other stakeholders as well as the use of our standards solutions to expand even more.

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