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Clean Energy Ministerial focuses on ISO 50001 for low-carbon development

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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At the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) held this week in San Francisco, USA, world energy leaders announced ambitious actions to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. These actions include efforts to address energy efficiency using ISO 50001 on energy management systems. This year's participants comprise energy ministers, global business leaders, entrepreneurs, experts from laboratories and academia, and leaders from civil society organizations to discuss barriers to progress and identify potential solutions to energy challenges.

CEM7 also recognized the winners of the 2016 CEM Award of Excellence in Energy Management, an international competition that rewards companies successfully using ISO 50001. The Award is an initiative of the Energy Management Working Group (EMWG) at the Clean Energy Ministerial, which seeks to accelerate broad use of ISO 50001 in industry and commercial buildings.

The results of the Award Programme underscore the strong climate and business benefits of investing in energy efficiency. Participating companies reported annual energy cost savings of up to USD 13.5 million and annual greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 238 000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 51 000 passenger vehicles off the road per year.

To get a better idea, we spoke with Graziella Siciliano, Coordinator of the EMWG at the Clean Energy Ministerial. Here, she shares the efforts being made to accelerate broad use of ISO 50001 and the benefits of its wide adoption around the world.

The winners of the CEM Energy Management Leadership Award Programme were recognized at CEM7. What can you tell us about them?

Energy management systems that meet the global ISO 50001 standard are delivering energy, economic and sustainability benefits to businesses, communities and the world. We salute all of the industrial and commercial facilities that entered this competition. Collectively, they are building a resource to help facilities of all types and sizes understand this cost-effective approach to improve energy performance and reduce carbon emissions.

The Award of Excellence in Energy Management recognizes not only savings but also organizations’ efforts to transform the way they are using energy. This year’s top winners include:

  • Cummins, Inc. With nine ISO 50001-certified sites across India, the UK and the USA, Cummins designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel engines and related technology around the world. Establishing an energy management system through a corporate enterprise approach has helped the company exceed savings goals in cost, energy and carbon emissions.
  • LG Chem Ltd., Ochang Plant. LG Chem is the biggest manufacturer of large-sized polarizers in the world market and makes many kinds of batteries, including lithium-ion batteries. LG Chem’s Ochang plant is certified to ISO 50001, helping the company meet domestic and international energy and greenhouse gas targets, including the Korean government’s goal to reduce national carbon emissions by 30 % by 2020.
  • New Gold Inc., New Afton Mine. New Afton is the first mine in North America to implement ISO 50001. With lower gold and copper prices over the past few years, improved energy performance is one of the few areas that can improve profitability. ISO 50001 also aligns well with energy and greenhouse gas emissions protocols, allowing the mine to focus on ISO 50001 as a means to comply with several programmes at the same time.

What actions are being taken by the EMWG to accelerate the adoption and use of ISO 50001?

The ISO 50001 standard is a framework to help companies manage and continually improve their energy performance and realize cost and emissions reductions. Regardless of a company’s size or sector, this framework helps achieve energy and cost savings year after year. In addition, the standard is a product of international collaboration, drawing on best practices from over 50 countries.

EMWG member countries collaborate to build domestic capacity to accelerate adoption of ISO 50001. The 16 member governments, and critical partners such as ISO and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), take part in peer sharing and support the definition of solutions for governments to expand and enhance national policies and programmes.

To broaden the reach and impact of ISO 50001, the EMWG launched the Energy Management Campaign at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7). This campaign aims to achieve 50 001 global certifications to ISO 50001 by 2020. In pursuit of this goal, the EMWG and campaign partners are recruiting government, industry and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments to accelerate investment in ISO 50001, and collaborate internationally according to the key principles above for the robust and consistent implementation of ISO 50001 globally.

Infography: How ISO 50001 helps to improve energy efficiency

What are some of the ongoing obstacles to energy efficiency improvements worldwide?

Despite clear benefits and favourable payback periods, energy efficiency opportunities remain untapped. The overarching problem is that energy efficiency is not integrated into daily management and operational practices. Most energy efficiency in facilities or buildings can be achieved through changes in how energy is managed, rather than through new technologies. Effective energy management can lead to more efficient energy use without reducing production, quality or employee morale, and without compromising safety and environmental standards.

ISO 50001 is the international best practice for energy management; however, companies need access to qualified professionals to maximize impacts. The most effective ISO 50001 professionals possess a highly specific blend of education, skills and experience with energy efficiency projects as well as with business management systems and procedures. Currently, there is a global shortage of professionals with both of these critical skill sets to support widespread adoption of ISO 50001.

Building global ISO 50001 expertise is one the EMWG’s top priorities. The EMWG facilitates collaboration to develop and diffuse professional credentials for ISO 50001 experts and an understanding of the training required to prepare professionals for certification.

As the EMWG coordinator, what, in your view, are the benefits of international collaboration with ISO?

Standards have a critical role in helping meet climate goals. They create a level playing field and provide transparency, reliability and accountability. The international ISO 50001 energy management system standard is a key example. Broad implementation of ISO 50001 across the commercial and industrial sectors globally could drive cumulative energy savings of approximately 62 exajoules by 2030, saving over USD 600 billion in energy costs and avoiding 6 500 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions1.

The projected annual emissions savings in 2030 are equivalent to removing 215 million passenger vehicles from the road. Now is the time – post-COP21 – to better position ISO 50001 as a key mechanism for engaging large-energy users on national and international energy and climate goals. Strong international cooperation focused on implementation of the ISO 50001 family of standards and guidance contributes to the dissemination of best practice approaches, and enables robust and consistent outcomes.



1 “Analysis of Global ISO 50001 Savings Potential through 2030”, Energy Management Working Group, Paper Release Date - July 2016