Alan Bryden / General Mining Engineer, former Secretary General of ISO, the International Organization for Standardization (2003-2009)

Last updated on profile page : May 28th, 2014


Alan Bryden is currently a member, with the title of Ingénieur Général, of the High Council for Economy, Industry, Energy and Technologies, an advisory body to the French government on policy issues in these areas, based in Paris. He also advises various international organizations and national governments on sustainable development and quality policies.

From 2003 to 2008 included, he was the Secretary General of ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. During his tenure, ISO significantly consolidated its position and scope as the world leader for the production of consensus based, multi-stakeholders international standards. He brought to this position his extensive experience acquired previously, i.a. as Director General of AFNOR, the French national standardization body, as Director General of LNE, the French national metrology and testing laboratory and as Head of the Department for industry and agriculture in the French agency for energy conservation of which he was a founder member, now ADEME.

Amongst the numerous international positions held, M. Bryden was the first Vice President of the GATT Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, Vice President (policy) of CEN, the European Standardization Committee, and the founder President of EUROLAB, the European federation of measurement and testing laboratories.

He is a graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Paris School of Mines, now Mines ParisTech, and holds a degree in nuclear physics from the Université d’Orsay. He is a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and of the Ordre National du Mérite. He holds both French and British nationalities, is bilingual in French and English and is fluent in Spanish.

  • High Council for Industry, Energy and Technologies
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

By Alan Bryden on ParisTech Review

Partout dans le monde on parle de développement durable, mais le changement est lent à venir. Comme les négociations internationales sur le changement climatique n'avancent guère, d'autres voies méritent d'être explorées. Les normes internationales apparaissent comme une manière discrète et pragmatique d'accélérer le changement. Ces dernières années, un ensemble d'outils a été développé pour traiter les défis imbriqués du climat, de l'énergie, de l'eau et de l'alimentation. Pourraient-ils faire la différence?
Sustainable development mantras are all over the world, but change is slow to come. While the international negotiations in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have not shown much progress, international standards suggest a less visible, more influential and pragmatic way to impulse change. In recent years a set of tools has been developed to address the interrelated challenges of climate change, energy, water and nutrition. In an increasingly global economy, could they make a difference?
Les normes sont généralement perçues comme des contraintes, plutôt que comme des outils dynamiques pour diffuser l'innovation et les bonnes pratiques et faciliter l'accès aux marchés. Il y a beaucoup de confusion entre règlementation et normes. Avec la globalisation des échanges, et de bien d'autres sujets, la demande et la production de normes internationales a significativement augmenté. Elles doivent être intégrées dans le management et la stratégie des entreprises et des organisations. Si vous l'ignorez, vous risquez d'être hors-jeu...
Standards are usually seen as constraints rather than dynamic tools to disseminate innovation and best practices and facilitate market access. There is a lot of confusion between regulation and standards. With the globalization of trade and of many other issues, the need for and the production of international standards has significantly increased. They should form an integral part of the overall management and strategies of companies and organizations. If you ignore it, you could well be out of the game...

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