31 January 2023. The World Wide Web Consortium began the year 2023 by forming a new public-interest non-profit organization. The new entity preserves our member-driven approach, existing worldwide outreach and cooperation while allowing for additional partners around the world beyond Europe and Asia. The new organization also preserves the core process and mission of the Consortium to shepherd the web, by developing open web standards as a single global organization with contributions from W3C Members, staff, and the international community.
The Web Consortium builds on 28 years of expertise
Since its founding almost three decades ago by Web Inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed the foundational technical standards upon which the web has flourished.
The Web Consortium has a track record of delivering globally recognized standards, including HTML and CSS upon which the web is built. W3C and its Members have made advances of important social and economic value: nearly five hundred open standards have powered the creation of 2 billion websites. The Consortium has also been fundamental in the emergence of transformative phenomena like social media, e-commerce, video on the web, video conferencing, which have transformed all our lives. W3C's work empowers people with disabilities to access the web, supports websites in languages and cultures all around the world, and improves web security through strong authentication. These successes are possible because W3C standards may be used by anyone, and at no cost thanks to the royalty-free W3C Patent Policy.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Consortium
"In 1994, the decision to form the World Wide Web Consortium came at the urging of many companies investing increasing resources into the web." said Sir Tim Berners-Lee, "I started leading the essential work of the Web Consortium team to foster a consistent architecture accommodating the rapid pace of progress in web standards for building websites, browsers, devices to experience all that the web has to offer. Today, I am proud of the profound impact W3C has had, its many achievements accomplished with our Members and the public, and I look forward to the continued empowering enhancements W3C enables as it launches its own public-interest non-profit organization, building on 28 years of experience.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee has long promoted the Consortium as a neutral forum where organizations around the world come together to create the technologies to most fully realize the potential of the web.
When the Consortium was established and running well Sir Tim was able to put his focus elsewhere and founded other organizations like the World Wide Web Foundation, the Open Data Institute London and his newest layer of the web, the Solid Protocol, and the company Inrupt bringing it to fruition. Sir Tim has gradually stepped away from being directly involved with most W3C decisions. Today, to ensure that Sir Tim's vision continues, he retains a permanent seat on the Board of Directors and has been actively advocating and supporting the evolution of the organization he founded.
Greater means, stronger governance are fueling the need for change
Going beyond the incremental changes that over the years enabled the Web Consortium to keep pace with the web's evolving technologies and uses, the newly adopted structure affords increased transparency and accountability, and greater responsiveness to fast moving changes.
The new structure will allow continuity as well as further development of the Consortium. It also puts governance at the fore. A Board of Directors with W3C Member majority will guide the operations and strategic direction, aiming for clearer reporting, greater transparency and continued global cooperation, including with new international Partners from the former Hosts.
As required of all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, our bylaws and a number of documents will be public, such as tax documents as well as specific financial statements disclosing our operating activities, balance sheets, statement of cash flows, and income statement. Our financial statements will be annually audited by an independent external auditor.
Preserving our world-class standards development process
We will continue to use our proven standards development process.
W3C processes promote fairness and enable progress. Our standards work will still be accomplished in the open, under the W3C Process Document and royalty-free W3C Patent Policy, with input from the broader community. Decisions will still be taken by consensus. Technical direction and Recommendations will continue to require review by W3C Members – large and small. The Advisory Board will still guide the community-driven Process Document enhancement. The Technical Architecture Group will continue as the highest authority on technical matters.
Vision for the future
Our vision for the future is a web that is truly a force for good. A World Wide Web that is truly international and more inclusive, more respectful of its users. A web that supports truth better than falsehood, people more than profits, humanity rather than hate. A web that works for everyone, because of everyone.
About the World Wide Web Consortium
The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on ensuring that all foundational Web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security, and privacy. W3C also provides the standards that undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses leveraging the Web, in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the groundbreaking W3C Patent Policy.
W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologi