THE ISO 50001 ENERGY MANAGEMENT STANDARD

One of the greatest needs for businesses, governments and the society itself nowadays is the need for provision with practical tools for all three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, environmental and social. These tools often take the form of international standards that are prepared, amongst other bodies, by the International Organization for Standardization, also known as ISO. One of these international standards is the fairly new standard for energy management namely ISO 50001.

Energy is critical to the operations of organizations and may be a major cost to them, whatever their activities. For example, for a company operating ships, energy management has become a critical part of ship operations, in part because fuel is an increasingly major cost factor. If one organization can improve the way it manages energy by maximizing the use of its energy-related assets, then rapid benefits may be realized in terms of both reduction of energy cost and consumption. The overall aim of the new ISO50001 standard is to enable organizations in the heavy industry to establish systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use and consumption. By correctly implementing the above, the organization can also make positive contributions towards reducing depletion of energy resources and emission of green house gases and mitigating worldwide effects of energy use, such as global warming.

International shipping has been providing the trade which is the lifeline of the global economy. The cost of energy, the international economic environment, the world financial crisis and finally the continuous pressure coming from the new regulations on the emissions control, constitute the basic factors for increased vigilance in the subject of effective and efficient energy management. As being energy efficient will become a legal requirement for shipping organizations, this standard is intended to provide a recognized framework for integrating energy performance into businesses management practices, which in turn will assist in reducing the environmental impact associated with carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur oxides from shipping operations.

An Energy Management System (EnMS) is a set of interrelated and interacting elements that establish an energy policy and energy objectives and the processes and necessary procedures to achieve these objectives. The energy policy has to include a commitment from top management to continual improvement in energy performance. Thereafter, an energy review has to be developed, recorded and maintained by analyzing energy use and consumption and an energy baseline has to be established, which is the quantitative reference that provides a basis of comparison of energy performance. The latter can be measured by the use of energy performance indicators. The ISO 50001 standard, when implemented, can be aligned or integrated with other management systems, such as the 9001 for quality and the 14001 for the Environment.

In connection to the Greek shipping industry, several companies have been awarded with the ISO50001 certification. The very first one was Maran Tankers Management which was certified by Lloyds Register and the second one was Arcadia Shipmanagement which was certified by Det Norske Veritas. According to Lloyds Register’s regional manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa based in Piraeus, the energy management and the improvement of energy-efficiency levels are clearly key success factors, particularly for achieving compliance with new regulations and gaining a competitive advantage in an increasingly complex shipping business environment.

By Xenofon Varias
AUEB iMBA Energy & Sustainability Club
Executive Member