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Energy and Environment Management Systems – how close they are?

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

1.0 Introduction:

Energy and Environment are like two sides of a coin. Saving an energy unit is a great contribution to the environment.

Energy is essential to life and all living organisms. The sun is an abundant source of energy; also, directly or indirectly, is the source of all the energy available on Earth. Our energy choices and decisions impact Earth's natural systems in ways we may not be aware of, so it is essential that we choose our energy sources carefully.

2.0 The Sun, father of all energy sources:

Fig 1 – Sun, the father of all energy sources. The figure depicts how various other energy sources are its offspring.

Although the sun is the free source of primary energy and the father of all other energy sources yet all forms of energy are not freely available.

There is a distinct difference between commercial (i.e. which is traded) and non-commercial (i.e. which is not traded and does not have any market value) energy. Examples of non-commercial energy are firewood and agro waste; solar heaters; wind energy used for lifting water from well or solar & wind energy used for electricity generation for domestic use etc.

3.0 A Contributor for Efficiency Improvement:

Energy is an important input of any industrial process. Hence, energy can be a major contributor to efficiency improvement and profit enhancement in various ways like energy saving, usage reduction, use of cheap energy, use of non-commercial energy, sourcing energy from alternate sources, etc.

Saving in energy is not only going to increase the efficiency of the process but also help to reduce the process emission. Also, the implementation of Energy Management is expected to take care of direct & indirect energy wastages; thereby contributing towards environmental care.

4.0 Energy and Environment:

It is said that for your better tomorrow, save energy today. This is because saving energy does not only mean saving money but also saving the planet.

Fig 2 – The figure explains – how both energy and environment are interlinked with each other

So far as Management System is concerned both Environment Management System (EMS or ISO 14001) and Energy Management System (EnMS or ISO 50001) are very close to each other although their focuses are different.

  • Environment Management System focuses on:

    • Environmental protection

    • Pollution prevention

    • Waste management

    • Environmental performance

  • Energy Management System focuses on:

    • Energy efficiency

    • Energy conservation

    • Energy management

    • Energy performance

As a research topic, Energy and Environment research focuses on the generation, storage and efficient utilization of energy and natural resources and the assessment of the interaction between the environment and energy technologies in order to establish clean and renewable energy.

5.0 Energy as a Complement to Environmental Care:

The Energy Management System can contribute its pie for environmental care to bring in Business Sustainability. Please refer to Figure 3.

Fig 3 – Pyramid type Structure to understand Sustainable Business Performance (SBP)

3Ps (People, Planet & Profit), which is also known as the Triple Bottom Line, is the foundation of the sustainable business. This 3Ps or the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ can be strengthened by adopting management systems - ISO9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and ISO 45001 (Health & Safety), as quality is the contributor to Profit, Environment is about Planet and Health & Safety is for the People.

Once, a strong foundation is achieved, the organization must look next for the implementation of the Energy Management System (ISO 50001), which is to supplement both profits through efficiency improvement and the planet through the reduction of the environmental impact.

Also, organizations can meet overall climate change mitigation goals by reducing their energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

6.0 The Final Words:

Energy and Environment are so closely related that our every step would affect both. We must save energy for obtaining a better world by saving our environment. This will call for behavioral change. We also may need to shift our focus towards renewable and non-commercial sources. And focus on Energy Management System (ISO 50001) along with Environment Management System (ISO 14001) shall be considered a good step towards it.

1 Comment

Sudhir Karkhanis
Sudhir Karkhanis
Jun 14, 2023

A good writeup Ghosh. Very nicely shown that ISO14001 and ISO50001 have the same focus. Your following last sentence says it all, :- "we must save energy for obtaining a better world by saving our environment, which calls for a behavioral change"

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