An Interconnected World

Katharine E. Morgan

A few years ago, I attended an ISO [International Organization for Standardization] General Assembly in Berlin, Germany, where the theme was “Open Minded, Open for Change.” I found this lens of flexibility to be both refreshing and necessary. We must be open to thinking differently and doing things differently. Issues today are complicated — many spanning both sectors and borders. Now more than ever, we confront challenges of public health, safety, preserving the environment, and improving quality of life for people around the globe. 

No organization is successful working in isolation, nor will it singlehandedly overcome these challenges. We need to work together. 

At ASTM International, we’ve always championed the valuable role that each voice plays in our standards development process. Whether part of a large organization or an individual consumer advocate, each voice brings unique experience to the ASTM process and empowers us to achieve the ultimate goal of helping our world work better. This is true from the perspective of our robust global membership of more than 30,000 volunteers. But it is also true in the context of our ever-increasing partnerships and collaborations with organizations worldwide.

These partnerships advance the important role that standards have in shaping the well-being of the world around us. We all see the world through different lenses, and we all have different strengths. Partnering with organizations that share our common goals allows us to leverage capabilities and strengths while promoting closer alignment in order to empower positive outcomes for all. 

The beauty of an interconnected world is that identifying potential partners and developing collaborations has become easier and more efficient.

Each year we add memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with national and regional standards bodies. These MoUs promote communication and participation in the standards development process, provide access to ASTM products and services, formalize processes for joint publication, and more. Instituted in 2001 and overseen by our global cooperation department, the program now boasts 117 MoUs, including, most recently, standards bodies in Libya and
New Zealand. 

In the past few years, we’ve found partners in innovation through our centers of excellence in additive manufacturing and also exo technology. These partnerships afford us the opportunity to set the pace for standards development in emerging technologies, and also to lean on the varied experience of world-leading organizations and academia to set strategic goals. 

We’ve launched global partnerships with organizations such as the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) to exchange the most current technical information with global safety experts and support the development of consumer product standards. We are also actively engaged in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Partnership of International Organisations for Effective International Rulemaking, in which we are helping countries find more common ground in standards and regulatory policies that advance important societal goals.

And we’ve identified partners such as the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) who share a joint interest in organizational and cross-committee initiatives such as the development and advancement of resilient infrastructure. 

ASTM has partnerships around the world in industry, academia, and government, as well as with other standards development organizations; national, regional, and international organizations; consumer organizations; and more. We exchange information, dialogue, network, provide access and distribute content and services, and promote coherence through joint development. Through these partnerships, we learn, improve and, most importantly, serve those that rely on us.

We value all of our partnerships, and we look forward to the progress we can continue to achieve together. 

Read more about ASTM International partnerships and collaborations.

Katharine E. Morgan
President, ASTM International

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