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Everything you need to know about the ISO 50001 standard

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Energy management is a major challenge for businesses, with economic and environmental implications. According to figures from Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE), the French electricity transmission system operator, the average electricity consumption of businesses and professionals accounts for over 45% of energy consumption in France, and that of large industries is 16%. Alone, the economic actors of the country thus weigh more than 60% of the overall energy consumption of France. The majority of energy expenses in the tertiary sector are related to heating and computer equipment. ISO 50001 is one of the tools that professionals can rely on to achieve their energy reduction goals, and consequently, simultaneously reduce their expenses and improve their environmental performance.

What is the international standard ISO 50001?


The ISO 50001 standard is designed for businesses and organizations looking to improve energy use and management, through greater energy efficiency. It is one of the management system standards that provide organizations with requirements, guidelines, and models to follow to achieve their goals related to quality, risk management, environmental performance, safety, or energy management. The ISO 50000 series of standards is specifically dedicated to energy management.

ISO 50001 precisely defines requirements and recommendations for implementing an Energy Management System (EnMS). As a Type A standard, it can lead to ISO certification. Initially published in 2011, it underwent a revision in 2018. This latest version, which clarifies certain concepts and enhances the monitoring methodology, definitively replaced the first version in 2021. The ISO 50001 standard, the result of international collaboration involving 61 countries, could, according to ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), have a positive impact on 60% of global energy demand if implemented in all organizations.

The principles of ISO 50001 standard

The ISO 50001 standard aims at the continuous improvement of companies in terms of energy performance. It involves the necessity of developing a genuine energy policy within the organization. To achieve this, it provides tools for monitoring energy consumption and an analytical calculation methodology. It defines requirements that will enable companies to:

  • Develop a genuine energy efficiency policy.

  • Rely on reliable data to set rational objectives.

  • Implement concrete energy efficiency measures.

  • Measure the energy savings achieved.

  • Revise objectives upwards with a focus on continuous improvement.

The application of ISO 50001 is not subject to any mandatory constraints; it is an international voluntary standard that leads to a valid certification for 3 years. Annual follow-up audits must be conducted during these 3 years. The renewal of certification then involves a specific audit conducted by an accredited organization for management system certification.

Why implement the ISO 50001 standard within your company?

The advantages of ISO 50001 certification for a company are numerous. The application of the ISO 50001 energy management model first allows for a reduction in energy costs of around 20%, according to a study by Afnor. Moreover, carbon emissions from secondary sector companies can be reduced by 30%, facilitating the achievement of ambitious CSR objectives. A clear energy efficiency policy also helps rally employees around strong values and involves them in a sustainable energy management strategy.

How to implement the ISO 50001 standard?

To obtain ISO 50001 certification, the company must have the implementation of its energy management system attested by an independent auditor. The request must be made to an accredited organization such as Afnor, Bureau Veritas, or Ecocert. The certification process involves four main steps:

  • An initial assessment to outline the scope of the audit and raise the company's awareness of the certification issues, sometimes including a site visit.

  • An audit involving the analysis of the company's practices in energy management and its energy consumption data.

  • The submission of the audit report, including the conclusions of the analyses.

  • Maintenance audits for certification: annual monitoring and a renewal audit every three years.


By providing businesses with the framework to identify, measure, and track their energy consumption data, the ISO 50001 standard can be considered an effective stepping stone towards upcoming environmental regulations, particularly those outlined in future legislation.


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