A standard is a "document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose." (ISO, 2013) A code is a collection of standards; for example, the Canadian National Building Code. Standards and codes that are incorporated into law are often referred to as regulations.
Organizations that develop standards are called standards developing organizations (SDOs) or standards setting organizations (SSOs). This includes organizations, committees, companies, governmental agencies and other groups. There are hundreds of thousands of standards and codes in force worldwide.
Standards apply to everything from Christmas trees to nuclear power stations and children's toys to medical scanners. Standards are why a smartphone made in South Korea will work on a North American cell phone network.