ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele indicated that “Energy is no longer a technical issue, but is a management issue that has an impact on the bottom line and we need to address the issue now”. Many of our environmental problems today arise from the types of energy we use, and that the increased burning of fossil fuels will accelerate climate change. Energy conservation technologies and facilities/equipment are only part of the approach to improve energy efficiency. Today, systematic management and changing behaviours are the focus of efforts to improve energy efficiency.

Energy Management System Standard – ISO 50001:2011

ISO 50001:2011 was developed as the International Standard for Energy Management by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 2008, and was published on June 15, 2011. It is anticipated to affect up to 60 percent of the world’s energy consumption and has the potential to become a global trade catalyst for industrial energy efficiency, in the same way that ISO 9001 has for quality. This standard is expected to achieve major, long-term increases in energy efficiency (20% or more) in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide.

The Energy Management System Standard (ISO 50001:2011) provides an organisational framework to integrate energy efficiency into existing industrial or commercial management practices, including fine-tuning production processes and improving the energy efficiency of industrial systems. An energy management standard is needed to influence how energy is managed in an industrial facility, thus realising immediate energy use reductions through changes in operational practices, as well as creating a favourable environment for adoption of more capital-intensive energy-efficiency measures and technologies. It enables organisations to establish the systems and processes to improve energy performance and increase cost savings.

The framework of ISO 50001:2011 encompasses a combination of technical and strategic management aspects and is based on continuous improvement, as well as the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approaches utilised in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 to provide compatibility and integration opportunities.

ISO 50001:2011 Requirements

Successful implementation of ISO 50001:2011 within an organisation requires a change in existing institutional practices toward energy, a process that may benefit from technical assistance from experts outside the organisation. Internal staff familiar with management systems (i.e. quality, safety, and environment) understands the dynamics of establishing a management system and its successful integration into the organisation’s corporate culture. However, they have little or no expertise in energy efficiency. In contrast, industrial energy-efficiency experts are highly specialised in energy efficiency, but are trained and orientated toward the identification and execution of energy-efficiency projects without a management system context. Thus, the appropriate application of ISO 50001:2011 requires significant training and skill. There is a need to build not only internal capacity within organisations seeking to apply the standard, but also external capacity from knowledgeable experts to help establish an effective implementation structure. The suite of skills required to provide the technical assistance needed for energy management is unique, since it combines both management systems and energy efficiency.

The ISO 50001 Energy Management System Model is based on the continuous improvement and PDCA approaches utilised in the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 management systems standards to provide compatibility and integration opportunities. Implementing these standards should lead to reductions in energy costs with a positive effect on an organisation’s bottom line, while minimising greenhouse gas emissions and overall negative impact on the environment.

General ISO 50001:2011 requirements include:

  • A strong commitment to continual improvement of energy efficiency.
  • Appointment of a qualified person for energy management.
  • Development of an energy management plan by the organisation. Without a plan in place, opportunities for improvement may be known but may not be promoted or implemented because energy management is not part of the organisational culture and the normal planning process.
  • Assessing major energy uses in the organisation to develop a baseline of energy use and set targets for improvement.
  • Selection of energy performance indicators and objectives to help shape the development and implementation of an action plan.
  • Staff, and those who work on behalf of the organisation who need to be aware of energy use and performance objectives need training in both skills and day-to-day practices to improve energy performance.
  • Results should be regularly evaluated and communicated to all personnel, recognising high achievement.

In summary, the ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management System Standard provides the following benefits:

  • Strategic planning that requires measurement, management, and documentation for continuous improvement to achieve energy efficiency and cost savings.
  • Addressing policies and procedures based on all aspects of energy purchase and use.
  • Demonstrating continuous improvement in energy efficiency.
  • Creating documents that are useful for additional energy saving projects that will be undertaken, as well as developed into policies.
  • Identifying key performance indicators, unique to the company, that are tracked to measure progress.
  • Assisting organisations to make better use of their existing energy-consuming assets
  • Offering guidance on benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy performance improvements and their projected impact on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Creating transparency and facilitating communication on the management of energy resources.
  • Promoting energy management best practices and reinforcing good energy management behaviours.
  • Assisting facilities to evaluate and prioritise the implementation of new energy efficient technologies.
  • Providing a framework to promote energy efficiency throughout the supply chain.
  • Facilitating energy management improvements in the context of greenhouse gas emission reduction projects.

A Success Story - Coca-Cola Enterprises (UK)

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has reached a new environmental milestone, becoming the first company in the global food and beverage industry to achieve a new official standard that recognises energy management practices. CCE’s largest manufacturing site, based at Wakefield in Great Britain, has been certified to the challenging new international energy management standard, ISO 50001, by SGS United Kingdom Ltd. This world first for the food and beverage industry demonstrates the Wakefield site’s industry leading commitment to maximising energy efficiency and sustainability across its supply chain and manufacturing operations.

Ian Johnson, Coca-Cola Enterprises Operations Director at Wakefield said:  “Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) is at the heart of our business, and we are committed to growing a low carbon, zero-waste business.  It is fantastic that an internationally recognised external body has confirmed that at Wakefield we are deploying the right systems and employing the right approaches to deliver on our stretching CRS and energy goals.”

Daniel Watts, Management Systems Implementation Manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises said: "ISO has been the respected global organisation for setting international standards for decades.  We’re very proud to be the first facility in the Coca-Cola system, and indeed in the global food and beverage industry, to successfully achieve this new energy management standard.”  

Wakefield achieved its ISO 50001 certification following an in depth certification audit by SGS. Since 2007, CCE has invested around £50million to make Wakefield one of the fastest, most efficient and sustainable producers of soft drinks in the world. CCE’s Wakefield was the first facility in Europe to work with SGS on achieving ISO 50001. 

In a Nutshell

Energy Management System is one of the ISO certifications that showed signification increase in recent years. Up to the end of December 2011, 6 months after the standard was released, at least 461 ISO 50001:2011 certificates were issued in 32 countries and economies.

ISO 50001:2011 specifies requirements for an organisation to establish, implement, maintain and improve an energy management system. It enables an organisation to take a systematic approach to achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption.


  1. International Energy Agency, Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, 11 June 2012.
  2. McKane, et al. Thinking Globally: How ISO 50001 – Energy Management can make industrial energy efficiency standard practice.
  3. ISO
  4. Coca Cola Enterprise Facebook
  5. Rob Steele, 21 June 2011, ISO 50001 energy management launch event, Press Release