The International Organization for Standardization (Organisation internationale de normalisation), widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates world-wide industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
While ISO defines itself as a non-governmental organization, its ability to set standards that often become law, either through treaties or national standards, makes it more powerful than most non-governmental organizations. In practice, ISO acts as a consortium with strong links to governments.
From their Website:
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards.
ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.
ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. On the one hand, many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. On the other hand, other members have their roots uniquely in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations.
Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.