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ISO 50001 Highlights from COP22

The Clean Energy Ministerial Advances a Key Tool for Climate Action

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ISO 50001 Highlights from COP22

ISO 50001 was highlighted as a tool for climate action during COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM’s) Energy Management Working Group (EMWG) and its work to raise the visibility of ISO 50001 as a key tool for climate action were featured at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22), held November 7–18 in Marrakech, Morocco.

COP22 events showcased real actions by government, the private sector, and other key stakeholders that are underway to implement the Paris Agreement, and multilateral cooperation on climate change is moving full speed ahead. A key tool for energy management—a crucial climate strategy—is the ISO 50001 international energy management system standard, which was highlighted in several CEM and other COP22 sessions. Established in 2011, ISO 50001 transforms the way organizations manage energy, offering companies a comprehensive approach to continually improve energy performance, sustainability, and their bottom line. In the context of the Paris Agreement, the standard—which was jointly developed by over 50 countries—has value both as a best practice model and as a global benchmark for climate and clean energy action.

At the COP22 Blue Zone event “Driving NDC Implementation through the Clean Energy Ministerial” on November 14, Canada’s Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna discussed the CEM’s Energy Management Campaign, an effort of the EMWG to drive action from governments, business, industry, and other key partners to adopt ISO 50001. Minister McKenna iterated Canada’s commitment to supporting industry efforts to adopt ISO 50001 and working closely with regional leaders in the United States and Mexico through the campaign to accelerate adoption on a regional level.

To date, 16 governments, including Canada, have joined the Energy Management Campaign, and an additional 6 private sector leaders and 4 key stakeholders have pledged concrete actions to help accelerate ISO 50001 adoption.

Campaign partners and other global leaders raised the value of ISO 50001 for climate action at several other COP22 events:

  • On November 11, the United States Department of Energy hosted the “Revolution Now and Beyond” event, during which Clay Nesler, Vice President of Global Energy and Sustainability at Johnson Controls, provided the private sector perspective in driving the clean energy revolution. Speaking of his own company’s experience, Mr. Nesler shared that as a result of promoting energy management practices, including ISO 50001, in its 200+ manufacturing facilities globally, Johnson Controls has reduced its energy intensity by 40% and its annual energy costs by over $100 million dollars since 2002, making significant progress towards sustainability goals like the United States Department of Energy Better Plants Challenge while contributing positively to the bottom line. Analysis by Johnson Controls of effective drivers of energy performance improvement indicated that company facilities implementing the ISO 50001 standard along with real-time energy metering systems performed much better than facilities with a less structured approach to energy management.
  • At the “Unlocking ambition: How non-party stakeholders are contributing to the low carbon transition” on November 12 in the Blue Zone, Tom Baumann, representing the International Standards Organization (ISO), presented on the role of ISO standards in complementing greenhouse gas management strategies that can help companies, investors, and governments contribute to the Paris Agreement. ISO 50001 was highlighted as one of the key ISO standards that have proven to be effective tools to help companies reduce energy use and curb carbon emissions. Mr. Baumann also highlighted the CEM’s Energy Management Leadership Awards Program, which last year recognized 35 businesses across 20 countries that implemented ISO 50001, received certification, and developed case studies that help build global insight on the benefits of energy management systems in industrial and commercial facilities. Session attendees were encouraged to share the case studies and promote applications for the 2017 Awards.
  • The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), an Energy Management Campaign partner, worked closely with the Moroccan government and the Global Environment Facility to launch a low-carbon public buildings initiative around Marrakech. The initiative features energy management systems in line with ISO 50001, along with renewable energy technologies, in its strategy to optimize energy consumption in four of the city’s public buildings. The selected buildings have already saved 88,200 KWh and have greater potential to save a total of 125,700 KWh. At the initiative launching ceremony, which took place during COP22, UNIDO’s Director General LI Yong announced that the Regional Direction for Environment, one of the selected buildings, combined energy management systems and renewable sources to become the first energy-self-sufficient public building in Marrakech. The four buildings will serve as demonstration pilots to provide experience and data for a planned larger-scale implementation. The private sector is encouraged to partake in the scaling-up efforts through the Greening Marrakech online platform to transform the city into an example at the global level.

Drawing from results from award winners and other data, EMWG analysis shows that broad implementation of ISO 50001 across commercial and industrial sectors globally could drive cumulative energy savings of approximately 62 exajoules by 2030, saving over $600 billion in energy costs and avoiding 6,500 Mt of CO2 emissions. The projected annual emissions savings in the year 2030 are equivalent to removing 215 million passenger vehicles from the road.

Since 2010, the EMWG has been driving the global dialogue on ISO 50001 through forums such as the CEM, Group of 20, and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation.

In addition to facilitating government-led dialogue on best practices, ISO 50001 policies, and technical approaches among 17 countries, the EMWG brings together the private sector and civil society to drive greater voluntary action to adopt ISO 50001 through the Energy Management Campaign. The goal of the Campaign is simple—drive action to reach 50,001 global certifications to ISO 50001 by 2020.

To learn more about the EMWG, visit the CEM webpage. To learn more about the Campaign and how to join, visit