Implementing ISO 14001 & ISO 50001 - Similarities & Differences - Antaris Consulting

Implementing ISO 14001 & ISO 50001 – Similarities & Differences

This blog series will investigate the similarities and differences between ISO 14001: 2015 and ISO 50001:2018. The intent is to help organisations who are looking to get certified to either one or both of these standards to gain an understanding of the benefits and level of effort involved in utilising an integrated approach to obtain certification.

The first steps in implementing a management system are to determine the scope and context of the system and obtain support from top management to implement and maintain it.

Context & Leadership – Clauses 4 and 5 of ISO 14001 and ISO 50001


Clause 4

Determining the context and the needs and expectations of relevant interested parties are common requirements from both standards. Similar approaches can be used for both standards such as PESTLE, SWOT analysis for determining context. A stakeholder analysis can be used to outline relevant stakeholders and their relevant requirements.

ISO 50001 differs in Clause 4.2 as it requires organisations to identify and have access to its relevant legal and other requirements. This requirement is found in Clause 6.1.3 in ISO 14001.

Examples of issues that may be common to both system may include competence of staff, condition of machinery, changes in legislation, etc. Similarly, the list of relevant interested parties for both ISO 14001 systems and ISO 50001 systems will be very similar although their needs and expectations will differ slightly. An example of interested parties may be customers, and their energy needs may relate to energy conscious provision of goods and services; their environmental needs may relate to provision of goods and services using sustainable/recyclable materials.

The scope requirements for both standards are quite similar. The scope and boundaries are required to be documented. For ISO 50001, the organisation must have the authority to control its energy efficiency, energy use and energy consumption within the scope and boundaries. Energy types within the scope and boundaries cannot be excluded. For example, if the scope and boundaries include a site with two buildings that consume electricity and gas, electricity from one of the buildings cannot be omitted from the scope the EnMS.

For ISO 14001, all activities, products, and services of the organization within the defined scope need to be included in the EMS. For example, if the scope and boundaries include a site with two buildings that produce two types of products (Type A and Type B); Type A cannot be excluded from the scope of the EMS.

The final subclause under Clause 4 requires organisations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an environmental/energy management system, including the processes needed and their interactions. In both instances, this may result in the organisation documenting its processes and their interactions in a document such as an Energy Manual or Environmental Manual.

Clause 5

Leadership and commitment for both ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 outline how commitment to the respective systems can be demonstrated. Where the standards detail that top management must ‘ensure’ something, this means the task can be delegated by Top Management.

It is important to note here also that Top Management is defined as the most senior level of management within the documented scope and boundaries of the EMS and EnMS.

For ISO 50001, top management are required to demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to continual improvement of its energy performance and the effectiveness of the EnMS.

ISO 14001 only requires top management commit to continual improvement of the effectiveness of the EMS.

The list of commitments for ISO 50001 (13 requirements) is more prescriptive than that of ISO 14001 (9 requirements). The additional requirements include:

  • ensuring the formation of an energy management team;
  • ensuring that the EnPI(s) appropriately represent(s) energy performance;
  • ensuring that action plans are approved and implemented; and
  • ensuring that processes are established and implemented to identify and address changes affecting the EnMS and energy performance within the scope and boundary of the EnMS.

Auditors typically ascertain whether these commitments have been implemented throughout the audit of the system and can supplement this evidence by interviewing a member of the Top Management as part of their audit.

Both the energy and environmental standards require policies to be put in place. These policies are designed to communicate the high level commitment and intentions of the organisation towards energy or environment to staff and other interested parties.

The environmental policy focuses on enhancing environmental performance, whereas the energy policy requires a commitment to continually improve energy performance.

The commitments for both policies are almost identical save for a few exceptions, notably that ISO 50001 requires the policy to (i) support the procurement of energy efficient products and services that impact energy performance; and (ii) supports design activities that consider energy performance improvement.

Such is the similarity between the policy requirements, for an organisation seeking to implement both standards, it may make sense to develop a single policy to meet the combined requirements.

Both standards require organisational roles, responsibilities, and authorities to be assigned and communicated within the organisation. The responsibility outlined for ISO 50001 refer specifically to the energy management team and are more descriptive than those found in ISO 14001.

Organisations seeking to implement both standards may decide to elect a ‘green team’ who have responsibilities for both the EnMS and the EMS.

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