Standardization in France

In its role of guiding and coordinating the French standardization system entrusted to it by the decree of 16 June 2009, updated on 10 November 2021,
AFNOR acts as a central oversight body for standardization in France, identifies standardization needs and mobilizes interested parties. Strategic Committees (COS) organized by market or subject area are responsible for collective management of standardization programmes.

Identifying needs

Each COS brings together the main decision-makers in the economic sector concerned, defines work priorities and prepares French positions at international level with AFNOR representing France at CEN-Cenelec and ISO-IEC. Everything is coordinated by the Standardization Coordination and Steering Committee (CCPN) responsible for preparing the French standardization strategy, defining the objectives and general priorities of standardization programmes and ensuring their coherence relative to national, European and international policies.

Coordinating the development of standards

Standards are developed by standardization commissions and led either by sector-based standardization bureaux (BNS) acting on AFNOR’s authority or directly by AFNOR where the subject area covers a large number of sectors or relates to a sector for which there is no approved BNS (electrotechnologies, agrifood, services, etc.).

Approving and publishing standards

AFNOR organizes a public consultation process in French for each draft French, European or international standard. Once the comments have been studied and the draft finalized, AFNOR approves the final version and includes it in the national catalogue. Depending on the level at which standards were developed, approval as French standards is certified by the use of prefixes such as “NF ISO” or “NF IEC” (general sector or electrotechnology sector international standard adopted in France), “NF EN ISO” or “NF EN IEC” (general sector or electrotechnology sector French standard of international origin adopted in Europe and France), “NF EN” (French standard of European origin irrespective of sector) or “NF” (purely French standard). AFNOR publishes the standards and continuously ensures that published standards remain relevant.

Promoting France’s interests at European and international level

90% of voluntary standards are of European or international origin and AFNOR represents French positions at European and international level. As such, AFNOR is the French member of CEN and of ISO as well as of CENELEC and of IEC through the French Electrotechnical Committee (CEF) affiliated to it. Each year AFNOR publishes the international survey which provides an analysis of the distribution of responsibilities (according to the number of secretariats obtained by each country).

20%higher growth rate in turnover
99%of standards are not mandatory
91%of standards are international origin