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ACCO Brands UK, World’s Oldest Pencil Manufacturer, Reduced Power Consumption and Improved Energy Efficency with Iso 50001 Certification

April 20, 2020
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ACCO Brands UK achieved certification to ISO 50001 in June 2019 – the international energy management standard that aims to help organizations continually improve their energy performance and in turn reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Certification covers five ACCO Brands UK sites, including The Cumberland Pencil Company in Lillyhall and Keswick, the distribution centre in Halesowen and offices in Aylesbury and Uxbridge.


SGS United Kingdom Ltd had already been ACCO Brands’ audit partner for a number of years, working across 34 locations in the EMEA region and in Shanghai. Rob Ponne, Vice President Procurement and ISO Programme Manager ACCO Brands EMEA, claims that having SGS as auditing partner engenders additional credibility with customers and other stakeholders.



All five ACCO sites had previously been successfully audited under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) Regulations 2014, which required all large businesses in the UK to undertake mandatory assessments of energy use and efficiency opportunities at least once every four years. It was considered to be a naturally more progressive and dynamic process to seek ISO 50001 certification, as it could be dovetailed with the ISO 14001 and 9001 certifications already in place at all sites. All of the latest versions of ISO standards are based on the high-level structure Annex SL, so therefore are designed to integrate with each other, a key benefit to organizations that are approaching multiple standards at the same time or have already experienced certification in at least one. All share an effective Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model.


A board-led, company-wide commitment to sustainability, five years of systematic energy reduction and familiarity with the requirements of achieving ISO certification made preparation for and passing the audit relatively straightforward. Mark Wilkinson, Regional Vice President, UK and Ireland commented: “Local management teams at all sites were crucial to delivering the practices and processes that lead to successful certification.”

The audit itself took place over five days across the five UK sites. Rob Ponne, Vice President Procurement and ISO Programme Manager ACCO Brands EMEA, recalls that the concerted and successful programme of energy performance improvement – supported by comprehensive usage of data and an ingrained culture of sustainability – had impressed SGS auditor Ted Rosser.

Ponne says: “Each site maintains a ‘storybook’ evidencing how it uses and manages energy, plus we have an overarching manual, all of which were used in the audit.

“Our ACCO Brands colleagues in Germany had been certified in 2016 and we also called on their experience in preparation.

“We did not receive any non-conformances, but did get some observations and improvement opportunities, which we are actively managing.”


As if there were not already a robust sustainability culture across the business, certification to ISO 50001 has provided formal recognition to both employees and supply chain partners. It has also lent further impetus to an ambition to reduce energy consumption by 10% over five years.

Barbara Murray, Technical Manager Operations at the Cumberland Pencil Company in Lilllyhall: “In the Cumberland Pencil Company, we have reduced daytime lighting power consumption by replacing solid roof panels with rooflights. The biomass boiler use also makes a positive impact on gas consumption, but we know we can get smarter still with further production process improvements.”

Carl Woods, European Technical Service Director at the ACCO Brands warehouse in Halesowen: “For Halesowen we have installed a new gas boiler and managed to reduce the m2 usage by improving working processes.”

Lee King, Director of Health and Safety at the ACCO Brands office in Aylesbury: “We have considerably reduced power consumption at Aylesbury by drastically reducing the number of servers, moving a lot of data into the cloud. This is from not only the servers themselves, but the air conditioning needed to cool the racks. But again, we are going to improve this even further by looking at our uninterruptible power supply cooling.”

Plans also extend to the company’s vehicle fleet in terms of introducing more low-emission models, which would have the additional benefit of lower running costs.

Previously, under ESOS, the focus was on headline figures, with big energy-saving projects requiring return on investment within two years. ISO 50001 has enabled the company to drill down to more granular savings, that combine to make the bigger savings it needs to achieve its goals. 

Energy reductions are included in ACCO Brands EMEA ‘Taking Care of Tomorrow’ annual sustainability report.

SGS auditor Ted Rosser sums up: “Certification to any ISO standard requires a strong degree of commitment. ACCO Brands’ culture of sustainability, improved energy performance and a reduced carbon footprint pervades from board level downwards and certainly played a major role in their successful audit.”

ISO 50001 implementation

ISO 50001 supports organizations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently, through the development of an energy management system.

ISO 50001:2018 provides a framework of requirements for organizations to:

  • Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
  • Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
  • Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
  • Measure the results
  • Review how well the policy works
  • Continually improve energy management

If your organization is already certified to the latest version of a number of ISO standards, much of the work necessary for auditing and certification will already be in place.

For further information please contact:

Yemisi Olutogun
Business Support
t: +44 (0)1276 697715

About ACCO Brands

ACCO Brands Corporation is a world leader in branded office products. Its industry leading brands include, GBC®, Rexel®, NOBO®, Derwent and Kensington®, among others. Under the GBC brand, the company is also a leader in the professional print finishing market.

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 94,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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