ISO stands for International Organisation for Standardisation. ISO is an organisation that outlines acceptable standards and levels of operation and industry (including guidelines for health, safety and environmental conformity) for many sectors, including scientific sampling. This international standardisation and recognition allows businesses working under ISO standards to all start from a level playing field, so to speak. Competition, then, results from how far companies exceed ISO standards, raising the overall quality of goods and services provided within an industry. While ISO is not a governmental organisation, many of its standards are (or become) the basis for laws, so its influence upon industry is significant. Many accrediting bodies use ISO standards as the bases for awarding accreditation.