Use of 50001 a ‘slow burner’

8th September 2016

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Joe Nightingale

Auditors had mixed views on whether uptake of ISO 50001 as a route to complying with the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS) would increase in the next compliance round.

The data from the scheme’s regulator, the Environment Agency, on submissions for round one revealed that just 325 out of an estimated 10,000 companies used the standard for all their sites. A further 109 firms used 50001 for some sites.

The energy management standard is widely seen as the more complex and costly route to compliance, but also more effective than ESOS audits.

Tom Johnston, general manager at certification services firm Exova BM TRADA, said: ‘It’s still a slow burn on 50001.’ He cited the low price of oil and uncertainty over the UK’s position on ESOS after Brexit as possible reasons for companies ‘having their heads in the sand’ on energy efficiency.

Darryl Mattocks, managing director at energy management consultancy Enistic, said most firms regard ESOS as a ‘box-ticking exercise’. ‘Judging by their public persona, even companies that should care more about their energy use don’t,’ he said. ‘We have dealt with some companies with energy spend in the tens of millions of pounds and they just weren’t interested at board level. Senior directors accept energy as a cost of doing business.’

He said 50001 needed a stimulus, such as tax incentives. Alternatively large companies or public sector bodies could require certification in commercial tenders and push it down the supply chain.

Hugh Jones, managing director of advisory at the Carbon Trust, believes take-up of 50001 will ‘increase substantially’ in future rounds of ESOS. ‘It’s particularly attractive to organisations with multiple sites in the EU as all of them need to meet the Energy Efficiency Directive,’ he said.


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