International Consumer Research & Testing
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
ICRT members co-operate in a programme of continuous testing on a wide range of popular consumer products such as digital cameras, mobile phones, television sets, cars, washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and light bulbs.
Safety has always been a topic of concern to consumer organisations. ICRT members have played a key role in promoting higher safety standards for consumer goods.
ICRT members join forces with motor clubs with the aim of testing cars, tyres and infant car seats. ICRT is a key player in European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) and a similar programme in Latin America.
Member organisations range in size from the largest consumer organisations worldwide with memberships between 200,000 and 7 million to smaller organisations with less than 10,000 members.
ICRT’s major members are: Which? (United Kingdom), Consumers Union Consumer Reports (United States of America), Stiftung Warentest (Germany), Association des Consommateurs Test Achats (Belgium), Union Fédérale des Consommateurs - Que Choisir (France), Consumentenbond (Netherlands). ICRT has member organisations in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa.
ICRT works closely with the two other international campaigning consumer organisations, to which many ICRT members also belong:
ICRT was formally set up as a not for profit association under United Kingdom law in 1990 but it is based on a long tradition of co-operation between independent consumer organisations since the 1960s.
- 1968 – The first joint tests between the Dutch and Belgian organisations included hairdryers, dishwashers, stereo receivers and model trains. A test of hotels in Majorca was also joined by Germany.
- 1972 – The name European Testing Group (ETG) was adopted.
- 1974 – By now twelve organisations were attending ETG meetings including those from The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK, France, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Austria.
- 1982 – ETG Secretariat moved to London and an increasing number of collaboarative tests were carried out each year
- 1990 – A new organisation – International Consumer Research & Testing was created to formalise the arrangements of the ETG.
- 1991 – First European Commission (EC)-funded project “Comparative Testing in Europe” completed. This laid the basis for discussion about future ICRT EC-funded comparative testing projects.
- 1992 – First ICRT Guidelines issued
- 1995 – ICRT became a founder member of the Euro NCAP crash test programme
- 1999 – Guido Adriaenssens appointed CEO. ICRT now has 26 members
- 2002 – Nordic Testing Group formed.
- 2004 – Consumers Union (USA) joins ICRT, Asia-Pacific Regional Group met for the first time
- 2007–2010 Capacity building in new EU Member States lead to formation of Central & Eastern Europe Regional Group in 2010
- 2008 – Worldwide test on breakfast cereals published – joined by 30 partners
- 2010 – Latin NCAP launched
- 2011 – ICRT has 43 member organisations, launch of Global NCAP