Context of the Organization
Task 1: We determine the strategic issues that affect our ability to improve energy performance and achieve the goals of our 50001 Ready energy management system.
Detailed Guidance: An EnMS and Your Organization
- Identify the external and internal strategic issues that affect your organization’s ability to improve its energy performance and achieve the intended outcomes of the energy management system (EnMS).
- Record this information.
In this task, you develop information to ensure your energy management activities support your organization’s foundational needs, allowing you to more fully customize your energy management system (EnMS) to your business realities.
Understanding your organization’s overall strategic goals and objectives enables you to look broadly at what strategic issues may affect the EnMS. This information influences the design of the EnMS and ensures that it is more closely aligned with existing strategic priorities and direction. This, in turn, facilitates the successful integration of the EnMS into your organization’s existing business processes.
The information to be developed involves identifying, from a strategic perspective, the external and internal issues that may affect your organization’s ability to improve its energy performance or to achieve the intended outcomes of the EnMS. The intended outcomes of the EnMS are (or will be) what your organization plans to achieve by implementing its EnMS, such as reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions or meeting sustainability goals. Strategic issues can have a positive or negative impact on the EnMS.
The outputs of this process will be used in Task 7 Risks to EnMS Success to determine the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed by your EnMS.
This guidance is relevant to Section 4.1 of the ISO 50001:2018 standard.
To determine strategic issues that may affect your organization’s ability to improve its energy performance and achieve the intended outcomes of the EnMS, information about the organization’s strategic objectives and challenges are needed. This information may have already been identified as part of the organization’s strategic or long-term planning process. Having management input into the determination of the relevant issues is desirable, not only to expedite the process but also to show management that the EnMS considers strategic issues facing the organization. However, it is not unusual for management to not be involved in this process and for the energy team to develop this information on its own. In this case the information should be presented to top management for their review and input. This approach presumes that the energy team has access to the relevant information about the organization’s strategic direction, goals, and challenges.
Examples of strategic external issues may include:
- Economic and financial conditions
- Competitive circumstances
- Legal and regulatory requirements
- Technological developments
- Political, social, and cultural conditions
- Environmental conditions
- Restrictions on energy supply
- Effects of climate change
Examples of strategic internal issues may include:
- Core business objectives and strategies
- Governance and organizational structure
- Information flows and decision-making processes
- Organizational culture and knowledge
- Organizational policies
- Financial resources
- Technological maturity
- Sustainability goals
In performing this task, keep in mind that the relevant issues are those that may affect your organization’s ability to achieve the intended outcomes of your EnMS and energy performance improvement.
The Playbook worksheet is for your optional use. As with most of the optional Playbook worksheets in the Navigator, you can adopt this resource for your EnMS or simply use it to generate ideas on how you may want to capture the information generated by this task.
When reviewing the strategic issues that affect your ability to achieve the goals of your energy management system, you should keep in mind that these goals will likely include the reduction of energy-related GHG emissions.
The first step in integrating energy-related GHG emissions into the management system is to identify the issues that may affect your ability to achieve the intended outcomes of the management system, including the reduction of energy-related GHG emissions. Examples of the issues that may be relevant to your organization are provided in the “Full Description” tab for this task and in many cases will come from the organization’s strategic or long-term planning processes.
Organizations that are managing GHG emissions are likely to include climate change risks and opportunities in their planning processes. These risks and opportunities can include (adapted from the CDP Climate Change 2021 Questionnaire):
- Carbon pricing mechanisms
- Enhanced emissions-reporting obligations (e.g. future reporting of GHG content in products or services)
- Mandates on and regulation of existing products and services (e.g. future limits or bans on HFCs)
- Substitution of existing products and services with lower emissions options
Organizations that have substantial sustainability initiatives or significant GHG reduction goals may also include in their planning processes recommendations from the final report from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which includes a list of broader climate change risks and opportunities to consider. Some of the risks and opportunities listed in this report may not apply to your organization or to your EnMS.
As you complete this task, make sure to record the list of the issues relevant to your energy management system and to your energy-related GHG emissions. Subsequent tasks address the issues identified in this task.
If you do not have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to build one that also helps your organization manage energy-related GHG emissions, in this task you should follow the guidance in the “Full Description” tab keeping the following in mind:
- Determine the issues that may affect the EnMS. Ensure the external and internal issues you determine include those that affect your organization’s energy performance as well as your organization’s energy-related GHG emissions performance. Review your organization’s strategic or long-term planning documents, including strategic direction, goals, and challenges, and include any GHG emissions issues that are relevant to energy-related GHG emissions and the EnMS.
- Record this information. Make sure you keep a record that includes strategic issues relative to both energy performance and energy-related GHG emissions performance.
If you have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to adapt it to manage GHG emissions, you should:
- Review your existing strategic internal and external issues. Identify any additional internal or external issues that are relevant to your energy-related GHG emissions and include them in your documented list as needed. Consider how any broader GHG emissions issues can affect energy-related GHG emissions and the EnMS.
- Record this information. Make sure you document any changes you made to the list.
Task 1 Decarbonization Guidance Version: v0.9
Include changing regulations as an external issue. This is a low risk event but still impacts facility energy performance and must be considered.
See wastewater-specific example playbook for this task under “Playbook” tab.
ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 contain the same requirements to determine the external and internal issues that may affect an organization’s ability to achieve the intended outcomes of its management systems. There are, however, some minor differences that go beyond those of ISO 50001. ISO 9001 explicitly requires that the issues are monitored and reviewed. ISO 14001 requires that the issues include environmental conditions affected by or capable of being affected by the organization.
Despite these minor differences, the requirements for understanding the organization’s strategic goals and objectives and determining the relevant issues have the same intent across these standards. Because the external and internal issues are relevant to the strategic situation and direction of the organization, there should be some consistency in the types of issues identified if your organization has implemented some or all three of these management systems. Of course, there can be differences in exactly how the issues affect the ability of quality management, environmental management, and energy management to achieve their intended outcomes or results. A single approach to determining the issues could be used for each management system standard.
The ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management does not explicitly address the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, its strategic external and internal issues, and how they affect the ability of the management system to achieve its intended outcomes. Step 3.1 does discuss that a combination of short-term and long-term energy goals can be effective. It points out that long-term goals can be affected by internal rates of return, internal planning horizons and guidelines, organizational strategic plans, and commitment to voluntary environmental initiatives. Step 3.2, discusses the methods used by leading energy programs. These include linking to organization-wide strategic goals in addition to operational goals. This is consistent with ISO 50001 requirements to align the EnMS with the strategic direction of the organization.
Use this Notes section to save information for communication with other members of your project team, they will be able to see these Notes whey they are logged in to the 50001 Ready Navigator. Notes examples include dates of meeting with relevant personnel for completion of a portion of the task, decisions that have been made about task implementation, or perhaps a link to a file in your organization's shared drive that contains a completed worksheet or template. Please note, do not enter any information in here that you would not want shared with any members of the project team or the site's administrative staff.
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