Summary This article seeks to highlight the emerging linkage between the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). This relationship is seen against a background of liberalisation, and more generally of profound changes in the structure of global governance. Indeed, after having promoted deregulation on a massive scale, the time seems to be ripe to reintroduce regulation, albeit in a new format. Standards, especially environmental standards, appear to provide new forms of global regulation. As a result, we witness the emergence of new forms of actor arrangements, dominated by private, as opposed to public actors.