Effective climate management requires the preparation of a greenhouse gas inventory (GHG inventory) in accordance with ISO 14064-1. The quantification of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2 emissions) is a central task that can tie up considerable technical and human resources. Companies that already have a certified energy management system in accordance with the international ISO 50001 standard can benefit from synergies.
- Two important standards for climate management
- Energy management - Starting point for sustainability management
- Where are synergies between ISO 14064-1 and ISO 50001?
- ISO 50001 - Data from the scope of EnMS
- Which energy data are relevant for a GHG inventory
- From energy management to carbon footprint
- Conclusion - Sustainable Energy Management with ISO 50001
- DQS - The expert at your side
Two important standards for climate management
Specification ISO 14064-1
Specification ISO 14064-1 provides guidance on the quantitative determination and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals (GHG). It thus provides an essential basis for effective climate management in companies. The specification is part of the ISO 14064 series of standards and was thoroughly revised in 2018. A key innovation is the quantification of indirect GHG emissions.
ISO 14064-1:2018 - Specification with guidance at the organizational level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals
Energy management standard ISO 50001
The international standard ISO 50001 specifies requirements for an energy management system (EnMS). At the same time, it provides formal guidance on its implementation in Annex A. ISO 50001 underwent a comprehensive revision in 2018. Among other things, the common basic structure of all newer ISO management system standards (High Level Structure - HLS) was introduced. In addition, additions and clarifications of text passages from the previous version of 2011 were made in the course of the revision. In addition, new concepts were introduced, e.g. "normalization".
The standard is applicable to all corporate activities with an effect on energy-related performance. It focuses on the continuous improvement of energy efficiency or the reduction of energy consumption. However, it does not explicitly focus on the use of renewable energy.
ISO 50001:2018 - Energy management systems - Requirements with guidance for use
Energy management - Starting point for sustainability management
With a view to the topic of sustainability, a hierarchy of different management areas emerges for companies. Taken together, they can form a kind of integrated sustainability management system. This is because an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001, with its focus on energy efficiency, can be the starting point and part of an effective climate management system, e.g. along the lines of the ISO 14064 series of standards.
The implementation of climate management is in turn embedded in a holistic sustainability activity in the sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is suitable for companies of all kinds and goes well beyond environmental management, for example. Within this management system, a company's EnMS can primarily take on the role of a "data supplier" for GHG accounting.
Where are the synergies between ISO 14064-1 and ISO 50001?
In order to identify synergies between the specification and the standard for companies using the standard, a brief overview is required of the requirements ISO 14064-1 imposes on the preparation of a GHG balance sheet, which may be relevant in relation to ISO 50001:
- Organizational boundaries: Chapter 5.1 of the specification refers to the definition of organizational boundaries necessary for correct quantification. This also includes GHG sources and sinks that are located outside the organization, i.e. in financially or operationally controlled organizations or in participations of the reporting organization.
- Reporting boundaries: Chapter 5.2 addresses the definition of an organization's reporting boundaries. This includes identifying all direct and indirect GHG emissions and removals. Chapter 5.2.4 calls for their classification into categories, including differentiation by type of emission (anthropogenic, biogenic, etc.).
- Quantification of GHG emissions: Chapter 6.1 contains requirements for quantification of GHG emissions and removals. Quantification requires the identification and documentation of relevant GHG sources and sinks and their categorization (see chapter 5.2). For quantification, the company must apply an appropriate approach. In other words: a process to collect primary and secondary data and to determine GHG emissions from a source or GHG removals from a sink.
ISO 50001 - Data from the scope of the EnMS
ISO 50001 defines the scope of an EnMS as a "set of activities that an organization addresses through an energy management system". Note 1 on the "term" adds that the EnMS can include multiple boundaries and also transport operations. However, in Chapter 4.3 "Defining the scope", there is a limitation with regard to a GHG inventory. It states, "The organization shall ensure that it has the authority to manage its energy efficiency, energy use, and energy consumption within the scope and boundaries." These limits are set by the company itself. Meaning:
"Synergies between ISO 14064-1 and ISO 50001 relate to the collection of energy data and thus GHG emissions at the organizational level."
However, no initial distinction is made as to whether the data relates to conventional or renewable energy. However, this is relevant to the GHG inventory. GHG emissions data from financially or operationally controlled organizations, from investments held by the reporting entity, and from upstream and downstream processes may not be covered by ISO 50001. The standard also does not include requirements to provide data that could serve as evidence of direct or indirect GHG sinks.
What energy data is relevant for a GHG inventory?
Energy data from the scope of an energy management system according to ISO 50001 are subject to the requirements for documented information (chap. 7.5.1). This applies when the energy data is "necessary for the effectiveness of the energy management system and for demonstrating improvement in energy-related performance." Data relevant for GHG balancing will generally fulfill this requirement. Thus, they have the great advantage of being up-to-date, comparable with previous energy data, and available virtually "at the push of a button." Along with the data, the EnMS also provides the GHG balance with the identification and documentation of the respective GHG sources and their classification into categories - as far as they concern the energy management system.
From energy management to carbon footprint
An energy management system collects energy-related data in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs or consumption. The focus is on data collected by measuring equipment in the area of so-called SEU (Significant Energy Use). The abbreviation SEU stands for locations where energy use accounts for a significant proportion of energy consumption and where there is correspondingly great potential for improvement in terms of energy-related performance. According to the standard, this refers to "plants/sites, systems, processes or facilities". The materiality determined by the company for the EnMS will generally coincide with the materiality for its GHG inventory, which means that there is no need for a materiality assessment in this respect.
Data available from the EnMS can be, on the one hand, consumption data from energy purchases, i.e. purchased grid-bound energy, e.g. electricity, steam, heating or cooling (upstream, indirect emissions). It can also be data related to direct emissions from the company. Examples include stationary or mobile equipment, etc. The appropriate processes, equipment and methods to collect this activity data are then already in place. This means a substantial saving of resources. Only the choice of the quantification approach behind it still needs to be explained and documented.
The energy data of past years available in the train of documented information can facilitate the selection of the so-called "historical base year" to which the current GHG balance should refer. This "historical" data must be representative and verifiable, which the EnMS can ensure for its scope.
Conclusion - Sustainable energy management with ISO 50001
An energy management system according to ISO 50001 can be the starting point for effective climate management. It can be leverage in the fight against global warming, which in turn should be considered as part of a holistic, integrated sustainability management system. Companies that already have a certified energy management system can therefore benefit from synergies, e.g. in the preparation of a GHG inventory in accordance with ISO 14064-1.
From the documented information required by the energy management standard, all essential energy data from its scope can be used. The data, which can be retrieved "at the push of a button", also contains information on the identification and documentation of the respective GHG sources and their classification into categories. A key benefit is that processes, equipment and methods for collecting activity data are already in place, which can save resources when preparing a GHG inventory. Another benefit can be the use of the documented information of the EnMS for the choice of the "historical base year".
Looking at the entire value chain, an energy management system captures direct emissions (Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 1) and indirect purchased emissions (GHG Protocol Scope 2). Data on upstream and downstream emissions (GHG Protocol Scope 3) are not required by ISO 50001.
DQS - The expert at your side
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