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Mark K. Jones: What Is the Potential Impact of the ISO 50001?
Mark K. Jones: What Is the Potential Impact of the ISO 50001?

The ISO 50001 standard for energy management is seeing a rapid increase in popularity since its launch earlier this year. Many companies are seeing the benefits of obtaining a certification proving that their energy management systems have undergone an audit and been approved. The international standard is a great tool for businesses that are looking to become more environmentally friendly.

The increase in interest for the certification comes as a response to international politics being more and more concerned with the state of the global environment and a collective responsibility for sustainability. As negotiations about international climate agreements are an on-going sage, it is time for private businesses to step up and get themselves prepared for future laws and regulations, as well as prove to their customers that they are interested in complying with those regulations already in place.

One of the key elements of the ISO 50001 is its quick implementation process following the 'plan - do - check - act' principle of most ISO standards. This means that the business will first of all establish its baseline, find out how it is currently doing. This will help establish the existing energy policy, as well as allowing management to publish official statements about the future commitment of the business to managing its energy emissions. The energy performance indicators, often called EnPIs, are tracked against the baseline, allowing a manner of measuring progress. The company's energy objectives and targets are then set and the company will have to make adjustments and arrangements accordingly, before the audit is performed. The audit will check the points of the action plan and ensure that all operational controls and procedures are complying with the requirements of the standard.

The initiatives taken to reduce energy use and cost tie in nicely with potential corporate sustainability programs and the investment in becoming a 'green business'. It is a way for businesses to market themselves as more environmentally friendly, and when exporting it can be crucial to hold a certification like the ISO 50001. The standard can even facilitate external financial incentives, which can be a great help, especially for smaller businesses or start-ups. These incentives can come in the shape of tax benefits, third party financing of the changes that needs to be made or help with electric utility. The certification will bring significant cost saving with it as the company's energy bills will be reduced, and the carbon emissions made will be controlled.

 

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