ISO 50001: The Ultimate Guide to Energy Management Systems (EnMS)

What is ISO 50001 the ultimate guide to energy management systems (EnMS)

If there was a list of the “Top Ten Problems” facing humanity in the next few decades, what do you think would be at the top?

Well, it turns out Richard E. Smalley made such a list in 2003, and placed predictions about a looming global energy crisis at the top.

His prediction focused on the problem of the amount of energy being consumed, against the amount of energy being produced (as well as available sources of energy production) alongside the projected boom of human population to around 8-10 billion by 2050.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of attention placed on the topic of energy efficiency and the relationship between energy consumption and climate change.

It is an undeniable fact that our global climate is rising in temperature. The science is there to prove it; the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many other international organizations have acknowledged that recent years have been the hottest since records began.

As a result, intense weather like heat waves, hurricanes, heavy rains, tropical storms, and rising sea levels all becoming more and more commonplace.

Despite the rising tide of climate crisis, the demand for energy supply is at an all-time high. The global economy is insatiable in its demand for energy to sustain economic growth and development.

How should organizations prepare themselves for the inevitable challenge of sustainable adaptation, and for ensuring they have the tools in place to facilitate the systematic energy management approach that will be the core of efforts to improve energy efficiency in the future.

“Energy efficiency is the most promising means to reduce greenhouse gases in the short term,” – Yvo de Boer, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A systems-scale approach is necessary if organizations want to seriously engage with difficult problems facing sustainable business and adapt for the future of energy management.

ISO 50001 is a standard designed to help organizations establish efficient and effective energy management systems (EnMS) and improve energy performance.

Based on the principles of continuous improvement and popularized by the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management system standards, by implementing these standards companies stand to reduce energy efficiency costs, lower carbon dioxide emissions and prioritize the preservation and sustainable engagement with the environments in which they operate.

This article will provide an introduction to the ISO 50001 standard, with a simple explanation and tips for getting started with an implementation of your own using Process Street.

Thankfully, recent changes have made it easier than ever to implement ISO 50001 (and any ISO management system standard), so that will be a big focus of this article.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ll be covering here:

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ISO 19011:2018 Basics (8 Free Management System Audit Checklists)

internal audit

What exactly is an “audit“?

The International Organization for Standardization defines it as:

“[the] systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled.” – ISO, from ISO 19011:2018 – Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems

That’s another way of saying someone takes a look at what you’re doing, gathers some evidence, and compares that evidence to what you’re supposed to be doing (in other words, a set of clearly documented requirements).

In the case of ISO, these requirements are known as standards. ISO 9001 is a standard. ISO 14001 is a standard.

Importantly, this understanding of audit implies that there are a few main things being considered by the auditor:

  • What’s documented by the company (e.g. internal processes, policies, and SOPs)
  • Evidence gathered to support how these policies, procedures, and SOPs are implemented in practice
  • The requirements defined by the ISO standard being audited against (e.g. ISO 9001)

Audits performed by companies to assess and analyze their own management systems are known as internal audits. Many resources for guiding companies on how to perform internal audits exist, and foremost of these is the ISO 19011 standard.

For most management system standards, internal audits are an important requirement. Even guideline standards like ISO 26000 for social responsibility depend on reports to evidence the success of their implementations.

As such, ISO 19011 defines a set of guidelines; a framework for companies to plan, implement, and improve upon their audit programs, for auditing the implementation of management systems.

Since the first edition of ISO 19011 was published in 2002, many new management system standards have been published.

These standards often share a common structure, including certain requirements, terms, and definitions being used. That means ISO 19011 can be used to devise highly economic audit programs, wherein knowledge and processes can be shared and applied across various management systems.

By considering how they might take a broader approach to management system auditing and integration, companies implementing ISO management systems stand to save time, money, and confusion when preparing for and implementing internal audits.

The goal of this post is to provide a spring-board for understanding ISO 19011, and how to get started with internal ISO auditing. In this post, I’ll cover:

  • What is ISO 19011
  • 7 principles of ISO auditing
  • Different types of ISO audit
  • Key elements of an ISO audit
  • 8 free ISO audit templates

If you just want the free ISO audit templates, then here they are:

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5 Free ISO 14001 Checklist Templates for Environmental Management

Implementing an EMS, or any of the ISO 14000 standards used to be a confusing and intimidating process.

What’s more, in the past, companies that wanted to conform to and implement standards for environmental and quality management systems would be faced with the task of building out huge, complex manuals, with lengthy processes for changing how each task and procedure in the business was approached.

The result of this kind of EMS implementation would often be a huge, labyrinthine system of paper forms; slow to implement, difficult to navigate, and a nightmare update in tandem with real, changing business needs.

However, things changed with the recent ISO 2015 updates.

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ISO 26000 for Corporate Social Responsibility: How to Get Started

corporate social responsibility

Organizations, including businesses, do not exist in a vacuum. Every organization is embedded in a wider web of societal, political, and environmental systems, that spans from smaller local networks to expansive and complex global systems.

As IAG puts it:

“Sustainability is neither a program nor an initiative, it’s considered simply good management.”

This statement recognizes the link between an organization and the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the communities in which they operate.

An organization’s relationship to the society and wider environment in which they exist and operate is a key factor in their ability to succeed and thrive. It can also be an insight into their general performance.

ISO 26000 is a set of guiding principles for businesses and organizations to use to steer them in a more socially responsible direction.

In order to better contribute to the health and welfare of their supporting societies and environments, businesses must enforce principles of ethical and transparent behaviour.

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What is ISO 14000? EMS Basics & Implementation (Environmental Management)

iso 14000

If the United Nations Environment Programme is to be taken seriously, the current generation is the last generation with a realistic chance of kick-starting the processes necessary to halt or reverse the looming global crisis of climate change.

“We are clearly the last generation that can change the course of climate change, but we are also the first generation with its consequences,” Kristalina Georgieva, the CEO of the World Bank.

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