GS1 - The Global Language of Business

9 minute read

Gs1 introduced the barcode in 1974. We are a global, neutral, non-profit standards organisation that brings efficiency and transparency to the supply chain. Our standards are proven by industry and can help you achieve your public policy goals.

Designed by consensus, our standards are proven, open and benefit from collaboration with respected global companies as well as local SME’s. GS1 tools help organisations exchange critical data - from manufacturing all the way to the consumer - creating a common language that underpins systems and processes all over the world.



  • GS1 - How we got here

    Since 1973, we have opened offices in over 110 countries and amassed more than 2 million members using supply chain standards that make business easier. Learn about key dates in our history.

    • 1973: The barcode standard is agreed
    • 1974: The first barcode is scanned
    • 1977: The GS1 system is launched
    • 1983: Barcodes are used on wholesale multi-packs
    • 1989: GS1 moves beyond barcodes
      • With wide area networks making an impact on supply chains, we create our first international standard for electronic data interchange.
    • 1990: Responsibilities grow
      • The US and international arms of GS1 come together formally, creating a single organisation with a presence in 45 countries.
    • 1995: First healthcare standards created
    • 1999: The GS1 DataBar arrives
    • 2000: 90th local office opens
      • In just ten years, we double the number of countries in which we have a local presence.
    • 2002: Global standards forum launched
      • Our Global Standards Management Process is launched. This global forum gives GS1 members one place to discuss standards.
    • 2004: The first standard for RFID is created
    • 2007: GS1 enters the business-to-consumer world
      • As ecommerce grows, we begin to create open standards that give consumers direct access to key product information.
    • 2013: A 40-year celebration
      • With a presence in over 100 countries and more than a million members, we celebrate 40 years of the global language of business.


In a world of growing data, GS1 standards help you single out what really matters. They give you a common language to identify, capture and share supply chain data– ensuring important information is accessible, accurate and easy to understand.

Standards development

A neutral participant, GS1 facilitates dialogue and the development of standards-based solutions among business and technical people from nearly sixty countries. Industries represented include retail and consumer goods, fresh foods, healthcare, transport and logistics, governments and many more.

The GSMP (Global Standards Management Process) is a community-based forum for businesses facing similar problems to work together and develop standards-based solutions. Standards created by industry, for industry.

  • How we develop standards

    Our standards development team guide the regular upgrading of our standards through a document development life cycle whose rules everyone agrees to. The Global Standards Management Process (GSMP) enables us to reach consensus around the creation and adoption of new standards smoothly and rapidly!

  • GSMP Manual

    The GSMP 4-Step Process is designed to ensure that business needs and requirements are understood before standards and guidelines are developed, and that supporting materials are created afterward. Each step culminates in the completion of one or more outputs, created through a consensus-based process within a working group and with larger consensus confirmed through community review and eBallot.

  • Global Data Model (GDM) Governance Manual

    The retail landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate. In this connected world, consumers increasingly rely on product information for purchasing decisions. The purpose of the Global Data Model (GDM) is to simplify and harmonise the exchange of master data. The GDM will identify and define—in a globally consistent way—the set of foundational attributes needed to list/order, move, store and sell a product, both digitally and physically. By harmonising foundational data across the industry around the globe, it will enable an improved consumer experience and reduce complexity by delivering more reliable and complete product information to consumers.

  • GSMP Value Statement

    Are business challenges holding back your company’s full potential and growth? You are not alone. Business is easier when you speak the same language as your customers, suppliers and partners. Though we all work in our own way, problems and differences become solutions when we all work together. That’s where GS1 can help.

    The GSMP is a community-based forum for businesses facing similar problems to work together and develop standards-based solutions to address them. Standards created by industry, for industry.

  • Work Request System

    You can shape GS1 global standards by submitting a request to develop a new standard or enhance an existing one.

Global Working Groups

Standards Maintenance Groups (SMGs) improve existing standards

Mission-specific Working Groups (MSWGs) develop new standards

  • GSMP Digital Signature MSWG

    Provide a GS1 standard solution approach to digital signatures. Otherwise, there will be no open, brand owner determined digital signatures to set as an alternative to proprietary digital signature use in barcodes with GS1 standards.


    Since its initial ratification as an EPCglobal standard in 2007 and its subsequent integration into the GS1 “Share” portfolio, EPCIS and its companion standard the Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) have been updated twice (2014 and 2016) and published by ISO (as ISO/IEC 19987 and 19988, respectively). In the meantime, EPCIS and the CBV have gained importance as visibility enablers in various industries. Updates are needed to ensure the relevance of these standards into the coming decades.

  • GSMP GS1 Digital Link MSWG

    This group will define a standard structure for URIs that enables reliable encoding of GS1 identifiers and sub-identifiers, regardless of the domain name, such that those keys can be extracted without looking up information on (or even being connected to) the web.

  • GSMP GLN Modernisation MSWG

    This work group will update the GLN Standards to be more clear and concise and provide guidance to enable industry partners to create, manage, share, and use the GLN to meet their party and location use cases needs in a scalable, standardised manner.

  • GSMP Pharmaceutical Clinical Trial Processes MSWG

    Develop a GS1 standard and/or guideline that would detail the best practice approach to the implementation of GS1 standards in the pharmaceutical clinical trials supply chain. This would include identification of products, locations, patients and caregivers.

  • GSMP RFID Low-Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) MSWG

    This group will define and develop a revised version of the Low Level Reader Protocol (LLRP) Standard to clarify its use within the RFID community, identify and add new features needed to align with the Gen2V2 Air Interface standard while ensuring new features do not cause any disruption—and that the revised version of LLRP is backwards-compatible with existing deployments. Any additional functionality not currently included in the Gen2V2 standard is considered out of scope of this project.

  • GSMP Scan4Transport MSWG

    This Work Group will review the business requirements identified by industry and develop a GS1 standard to enable the industry to encode the minimum required transport data in a 2D barcode on a logistics label.The group will consider emerging standards such as uniform resource identifier (URI) for addressing the business needs.

Comments by Staticman and Identosphere

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *