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What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001?

August 10th, 2022 By Amywright

Climate change continues to disturb the planet, with weather patterns periodically adjusting and the ice caps melting. Consumers are increasingly demanding organisations to become more environmentally friendly.

According to Forbes, 88% of consumers are more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues, and the overall sales revenue of any business will increase up to 20% due to corporate responsibility practices.

ISO 14001 is a member of the ISO 14000 family of international standards, which provide requirements for businesses looking to manage their environmental impact through implementing an environmental management system (EMS) framework.

ISO 50001 is an international energy management system (EnMS) standard which allows organisations to take a systematic approach to continuously improving their energy performance, efficiency, and conservation.

Both ISO standards offer differences and similarities in what they aim to achieve. ISO 14001 seeks to reduce the impact they have on an environment by reducing waste, resources, and pollution, whereas ISO 50001 aims to improve the usage of their energy sources. Both standards aim to tackle climate change and conserve resource use.

What is an EMS?

An environmental management system is a tool which implements measures to reduce waste and overall environmental impact; this is accomplished by improving a business’s efficiency and waste management. The environmental management system is the internationally recognised standard for establishing this type of system.

ISO 14001 is increasing in popularity and need because of the growing climate concerns and pressure from social groups. Many businesses have a corporate environmental and social responsibility to act on climate change. A company can continuously identify areas where improvements in environmental performance can be made, making your organisation more efficient and reducing your environmental impact.

Across 17 countries, 63% of global shoppers say that climate change is ‘very serious’, and 81% of global online survey respondents feel that companies should help improve the environment.

Getting ISO 14001, which implements an environmental management system, could potentially increase the number of clients your business receives due to your business’s adherence to being environmentally responsible.

What is an EnMS?

An energy management system is a framework in which organisations in all sectors can manage their energy use. The model is based on the continuous improvement management system used in other standards such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001.

An energy management system allows companies to identify and adopt energy-saving opportunities and technologies. The methods encouraged by the establishment of an energy management system reduces the carbon footprint produced by energy usage and will positively contribute to the improvement of our planet.

The performance of an energy management system reduces the reliance on costly energy usage that may be unnecessary and causing environmental damage. A prime example would be a business which switches to renewable energy sources, solar panels, or wind energy in comparison to fossil fuels.

What is the difference between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001?

Although ISO 14001 references energy, the standard is focused on improving overall environmental performance – which is accomplished through the reduction of waste, and cleaner methods. A key difference is ISO 14001 does not look at the decrease in energy use or management of costs, which ISO 50001 does.

ISO 50001 is concerned with how a business can enhance its energy performance through the reduction of needless energy usage consumption. Also, ISO 50001 does not consider essential issues such as carbon emissions, which ISO 14001 does. ISO 14001 is focused on business’s direct impact on the environment – such as carbon footprint and sustainability.

A significant difference between both standards is ISO 50001 has a more extensive list of mandatory documented information. This list includes topics not included in ISO 14001, such as energy planning, energy baseline, and energy performance indicators (EnPIs).

There are also similarities between ISO 14001 and ISO 50001. Both standards have legal and compliance requirements and focus on the monitoring, measurement, and analysis of an environmental management system and energy management system. These standards also consider non-conformity, correction, and preventive action regarding resource reduction and waste management.

Which ISO standard would benefit my business the most?

Businesses can implement both ISO standards alongside each other. It is essential to consider what your goals are as a business: do you want to become more energy efficient, or do you want to reduce your environmental impact?

ISO 14001 describes what you can do to reduce your environmental impact and allows you to reduce waste, increase resource efficiency, and reduce costs around being sustainable. ISO 14001 is suitable for most small, medium, or large businesses.

Many economic benefits, such as increased conformance with legislative and regulatory requirements, are achieved with ISO 14001. Other advantages include:

  • Reduction of waste, consumption or resources, and operating costs
  • Competitive advantage
  • Increased company reputation with consumers
  • Legal compliance
  • Reduced insurance costs

ISO 50001 benefits larger businesses which are increasing their energy use and wish to reduce their energy consumption. A company with large energy usage may be better suited to ISO 50001 as well as ISO 14001. Your organisation may use a more than average amount of heating, power, and lighting, which you wish to reduce. Having ISO 50001 is usually desirable if a company wants to:

  • Reduce costs and the impact of rising costs
  • Use untapped energy efficiency potential
  • Permanently reduce CO2 emissions
  • Meet legislative or self-imposed carbon targets
  • Reduce reliance on fossil fuels
  • Enhance the corporation’s reputation as a socially responsible organisation
  • Contribute to environmental and climate protection
  • Discover potential savings and competitive advantages
  • Use data to understand and make decisions concerning energy use and consumption

In conclusion, both standards support the environment and aim to achieve an overall increase in environmental sustainability.

I’m interested in ISO certification

If you are interested in ISO 14001 or ISO 50001 for your business, you can contact IMSM and book a consultation to discuss your options in greater detail and what is best suited to your business needs. At IMSM, we have a transparent fixed fee and flexible approach. We work to make gaining ISO certification efficient and straightforward with whichever certification body you select.

Get your free quote today

Contact Us

For a free quotation or remote presentation by an ISO specialist, contact us today.

IMSM Ltd Head Office
The Gig House
Oxford Street
SN16 9AX

Tel: +44 1793 296704

Contact Us

For a free Quotation or On-Site presentation by an ISO Specialist, contact us today!

IMSM Ltd Head Office The Gig House
Oxford Street
SN16 9AX

Tel: 01666 826 065