4.1.1. Energy Management Aspects in ISO 14001:2015
Although energy could be included as an aspect in the majority of organizations with a certified EMS based on ISO 14001:2015 [28
], the standard makes little reference to the use of energy. Generally speaking, energy aspects are often overlooked and organizations concentrate on the more obvious environmental aspects, such as chemicals, water and waste.
Some specific aspects have to be underlined. In ISO 14001:2015 there are direct and indirect references to the use and saving of energy. In Section 3.2.7 of the standard—Prevention of pollution, the standard states that: “Use of processes (3.3.5.), practices, techniques, materials, products, services or energy to avoid, reduce or control (separately or in combination) the creation, emission or discharge of any type of pollutant or waste, in order to reduce adverse environmental impacts (3.2.4)”. The footnote to this section remarks that, “Prevention of pollution can include source reduction or elimination; process, product or service changes; efficient use of resources; material and energy substitution; reuse; recovery; recycling, reclamation; or treatment”. The standard suggests reducing energy consumption in processes to minimize environmental impact, eliminating or replacing it with clean energy.
In addition, in Section 5.2—Environmental Policy, the standard states that: “…b) includes a commitment to the protection of the environment, including prevention of pollution and other specific commitment(s) relevant to the context of the organization”. The footnote to this section remarks that, “Other specific commitment(s) to protect the environment can include sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and protection of biodiversity and ecosystems”. In this part, the standard also promotes the use of renewable energy.
In Section A.6.1.2—Environmental aspects, it states that: “When determining environmental aspects, the organization considers a life cycle perspective. This does not require a detailed life cycle assessment; thinking carefully about the life cycle stages that can be controlled or influenced by the organization is sufficient. Typical stages of a product (or service) life cycle include raw material acquisition, design, production, transportation/delivery, use, end-of-life treatment and final disposal. The life cycle stages that are applicable will vary depending on the activity, product or service”. The following information is included in this section: “When determining its environmental aspects, the organization can consider: (a) emissions to air, (e) use of energy and (f) energy emitted (e.g., heat, radiation, vibration (noise), light), between others”. In this case it is also clear that the standard recommends controlling the use of energy to minimize emissions.
Finally, in Section 8.1—Operational planning and control, the standard states the following: “The organization shall ensure that (an) outsourced process (es) is (are) controlled or influenced. The type and extent of control or influence to be applied to the process (es) shall be defined within the environmental management system. Consistent with a life cycle perspective, the organization shall consider the need to provide information about potential significant environmental impacts associated with the transportation or delivery, use, end-of-life treatment and final disposal of its products and services”. In this case, the standard suggests controlling all the processes from the raw materials to the end of life of the product. Energy is one aspect of this control.