The ISO 50001 Standards – Meaning & Definition
Published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2011, the ISO 50001 standards provide organizations and companies around the world with a clear framework for setting up an effective and sustainable ‘energy management system’ (EMS). Its objectives and methodology complement the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards for quality management and environmental management respectively. On the basis of a preliminary energy diagnosis, ISO 50001 offers the conditions and modalities of a strategy of economy and rationalization in accordance with the requirements of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The ISO 50001 Standards – Purpose & objectives
The ISO 50001 standards is mostly focused on improving the energetic performance of organizations, helping to reduce their energetic consumptions and therefore helping to cut on costs with energy. Nevertheless, ISO 50001 does not offer practical turnkey solutions. Instead, it proposes a methodology what organizations (according to their own characteristics) can follow, encouraging them to:
- Optimize the use of energy consuming resources;
- Support the best organizational behaviors and practices and strengthen them;
- Promote communication and transparency in energy management;
- Guide production and/or exploitation towards technological choices with high energetic performances;
- Integrate energy efficiency criteria upstream and downstream of production and operation (e.g. supplies, transport, etc.);
- Strategically connect the management energy policies in more global and meaningful frameworks such as the preservation of resources or the fight against global warming;
- Connect energy management practices with other standard-setting procedures related to quality management, safety or the environment.
The ISO 50001 Standards – Methodology & principles
In the same way the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards facilitate the integration of coherent global management – ISO 50001 also adopts the cyclic method of the Deming wheel, also called PDCA ( Plan, Do, Check, Act – that can also be seen as: Plan, Unroll, Control, Improve). Taking this methodology and using it the energy management area means that companies should develop the following actions:
- Define a more efficient energy policy;
- Select the appropriate targets for an optimal application of this policy;
- Collect and analyze relevant data needed to make more objective decisions;
- Evaluate the results obtained in correct and critical ways;
- Reflect on the policies that are being pursued to achieve a more efficient energy management system.
The ISO 50001 Standards – Getting the certification
Like all ISO standards, turning an ISO 50001 certified organization is a voluntary commitment. In fact, many organizations apply many of the principles and methods of this and other ISOs without initiating a proper certification process. They internally make a simple self-declaration of conformity showcasing their best practices. Nevertheless, effective certification has the advantages of being officially recognized as part of a broader ISO certification process, giving access to a broader network and gives better guarantees about the transparency of the process. In this perspective, if organizations wish to get the ISO 50001 certification, they should request it to entities such as the ANSI (American National Standards Institute), the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) or other independent accredited bodies.
The ISO 50001 Standards – Downloading the norm
Synthetic information about energy management and the ISO 50001 is available on the ISO website. Nevertheless, the complete ISO 50001 standards (with the latest 2018 version) is only available upon payment and can be found on the online store of the International Organization for Standardization or in other official bodies’ websites.
[box]More information about other ISO norms decrypted by e-CSR: