Businesses seeking greater environmental responsibility are increasingly turning to ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) to help them; But on the other hand, there is a separate standard called ISO 50001 energy management, which confuses businesses that are not sure which standard to use.
To determine which standard is best for you, and both may be right for your business, let’s look at what each standard is designed to do and what the differences are between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001.
What is ISO 14001?
ISO 14001 is the environmental management standard and sets the standards for the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS). The goal of ISO 14001 is to help businesses manage their environmental responsibilities.
This standard is designed to help businesses assess and improve their environmental impact to ensure that their business practices have the least impact on their environment. This could include efforts to limit landfilling, provide more sustainable materials, and reduce the potential for contamination of local water resources.
Obtaining ISO 14001 can save money for businesses by reducing energy and water consumption and by limiting the amount of waste sent to landfills.
What is ISO 50001?
ISO 50001 is the energy management standard and sets the standards for the implementation of an energy management system (EnMS). The goal of obtaining ISO 50001 is to improve energy efficiency and reduce its use.
This standard is designed to help tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions, improving efficiency and reducing consumption. This could include efforts to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, as well as the supply of energy from renewable sources.
ISO 50001 can help businesses reduce energy costs by reducing energy consumption and evaluating energy resources.
How do ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 overlap?
The biggest overlap that can confuse the two standards is that they are interrelated in terms of sustainability, energy consumption and the environment. The use of energy affects the sustainability of natural resources (oil, gas, fossil fuels, etc.) and can increase greenhouse gas emissions as well as encourage global warming. By-products of energy production can also have a major impact on the environment. Given this, it can be argued that a business should only focus on ISO 14001 instead of ISO 50001, especially if their goal is to reduce environmental impact.
In general, standards have a similar approach to implementing a management system. Both standards focus on the Planning Check Act. They also encourage monitoring, measuring, and analyzing issues to reduce the root cause and prevent similar problems in the future.
Another similarity is the structure of the standards. Like all updated ISO standards, both ISO 14001: 2015 and ISO 50001: 2018 use the Annex-SL structure. This means that it is much easier to implement these two standards together and with other similar standards.
What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001?
When it comes to the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, the main difference is in the range of standards. While both standards provide businesses with ways to protect the environment through policies, objectives and processes, ISO 50001 limits its focus on energy consumption, while ISO 14001 focuses on environmental protection in general.
ISO 14001 deals with resource utilization, waste management and pollution, while ISO 50001 is interested in the energy performance indicators of a business. Therefore, while energy consumption falls under ISO 14001, it is only covered to the extent that it affects environmental performance. However, with ISO 50001, energy consumption is monitored by looking at the design of equipment, systems and processes used to reduce their impact on poor energy performance.
Another difference is that there is a larger list of documented information under ISO 50001 compared to ISO 14001. This includes documents and records on topics such as the energy planning process, energy review, energy baseline, energy performance indicators (EnPIs).
ISO 14001 vs. ISO 50001 – How to make a decision?
To decide which standard is best for your business, you need to consider which one plays a more important role in your business: reducing environmental impacts or becoming more energy efficient, or both?
For small or medium-sized businesses, ISO 14001 probably addresses all of these goals. Provides the tools needed to reduce environmental impact and encourages businesses to think about energy efficiency in relation to that goal.
For larger businesses, especially those with high energy consumption, ISO 50001 is likely to be the best choice, especially if reducing energy consumption is the main goal. Reducing environmental impacts will be another advantage in terms of energy consumption.
If reducing environmental impacts is also a goal for larger businesses, implementing ISO 14001, furthering or merging with ISO 50001 is also an option. Both standards can be easily adopted and implemented together due to their common structure.
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