Skip to main content



Task 3: Our top management has expressed its commitment to the 50001 Ready system, and are aware of their roles and responsibilities

Log in to track progress

Detailed Guidance: Management Commitment

Getting It Done

  • Use the Business Drivers and the EnMS resource to identify business drivers and benefits applicable to your organization.
  • Prepare and deliver a briefing to top management on the identified business drivers and benefits, management roles and responsibilities, and how these responsibilities will be met.
  • Secure commitment from top management

Task Overview

The most critical key to the success of an EnMS is involvement and commitment by top management. In addition to providing the leadership needed to improve energy performance and the EnMS, top management must demonstrate that they perform the specific responsibilities assigned to them within the continual improvement framework of the EnMS (Plan-Do-Check-Act Components of ISO 50001 ). Not only does top management approve and authorize an EnMS, they are ultimately responsible for ensuring its ongoing suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.

At the completion of this task, you will have…

  • Identified the EnMS benefits and business drivers
  • Prepared a briefing for top management
  • Delivered a briefing to top management
  • Secured top management commitment
  • Briefed top management on their EnMS responsibilities
  • Planned for how top management will meet their responsibilities

This guidance is relevant to sections 4.2.1, 4.2.2, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, and 4.7.3 of the ISO 50001:2011 standard.

Full Description

Many organizations pursue energy efficiency and energy conservation, reduced environmental impacts, and sustainability initiatives because they are valued as the “right thing to do.” However, impacts to the bottom line and prospects for long-term viability are most often the determinants of proposed organizational initiatives, including those for energy management. The benefits of improved energy management and energy performance need to be identified and communicated to top management in terms they understand. Consequently, making the business case is an important part of establishing an EnMS.

As ISO 50001 gains traction in the marketplace, implementation case studies and other analyses are reporting the benefits of this systematic approach to energy management. These include:

  • Improved operational efficiencies
  • Decreased energy intensity
  • Energy data for fact-based decisions
  • Support for organizational and cultural change
  • Drivers for organizational integration
  • Reduced environmental impacts
  • Competitive advantages over firms that neglect resource management
  • Visible demonstration of social responsibility
  • Positioning for carbon accounting

Learn about the benefits that other organizations have experienced with their EnMS. Check the web for examples in your own or related industries. See, for example:

Consider the potential benefits of an EnMS within the context of your organization’s priorities and needs. To build the business case you must connect the benefits of the EnMS with the business drivers of your organization because management will want to know how the EnMS and improved energy efficiency affect those drivers.

The Business Drivers and the EnMS Resource Sheet discusses different types of business drivers and provides examples of how energy management can affect them. The management representative and the energy team members (see Energy Team) should review this information and identify the business drivers relevant to your organization. Then, work to ensure management understands the benefits by presenting information in terms that are important to them. If the management representative and energy team members have not been appointed, then identify someone willing to champion the initiative and accept this responsibility.

As part of preparing the business case, consider identifying “key internal influencers” within your organization. Internal influencers are individuals who do or could have interest or influence on decisions related to energy. To gain support for the development and operation of the EnMS, it can be helpful to identify these individuals from among management and employees. Identify how energy is important to them and what would encourage their support and participation. Each may have a different motivation; for example:

  • A Building Manager’s or Production Manager’s primary focus may be energy availability
  • A Purchasing Manager’s primary focus may be energy cost
  • A Maintenance Manager’s primary focus may be energy quality and availability
  • An Environmental Manager’s primary focus may be environmental impacts, such as pollution, from energy consumption

Ensure that the needs of the internal influencers related to energy use (i.e., application of energy) and energy consumption (i.e., quantity of energy applied) are understood and addressed within the business case. Key Internal Influencers Worksheet (example) illustrates how this information can be captured. A blank Key Internal Influencers Worksheet  is available for your use.

If management has not already committed to EnMS implementation, or if commitment is lacking, they will need to be convinced of the benefits so they can provide successful support.

Consider the following tips when preparing your briefing for top management:

  • The target audience is management. What drivers are important to them? Management is typically interested in the bottom line, but there may be other important drivers. Focus on these, and make the presentation complete but brief. Management frequently just wants to hear the major facts. Have additional data available if more detail is requested, but if presentation timelines are provided, stick to them.
  • Focus on what you are trying to convey. Present the background required to support the benefits of an EnMS, and don’t mix in unrelated issues or ideas. Focus on the continual improvement-based nature of the management system and the direct impacts on the organization’s well-being and improvement.
  • Present the benefits in management’s terms. Using the drivers already identified, present the benefits in terms of those drivers. Make sure management understands the benefits with respect to their key items of interest.
  • Understand the desired objective. What is the expected result of this presentation? Provide information to encourage that result or offer suggestions.

A helpful best practice to help in preparing the briefing is to first develop an elevator speech—a short summary used to get a point across quickly and simply. It should take no longer than two minutes to present. Use the Elevator Speech Worksheet to focus on the essential information, and then expand it to the time available. Regardless of the amount of time available, be sure to cover the important points at the beginning. To ensure that management hears what you want to share, an old adage is appropriate: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”

Brief top management using the information prepared in the previous task. Develop the presentation using the organization’s standard presentation tools or in another format that best displays the information.

Stay within the time frame provided and stick with the planned presentation. Be prepared to answer questions and provide more detail if requested.

Management may ask the following types of questions:

  • What do we currently spend each year on energy?
  • What are the estimated cost savings that potentially we could realize in one to two years?
  • What will be the time commitment by the energy management team?
  • What are the biggest challenges to implementing an ISO 50001 EnMS?
  • What will you need from us (top management) to make this program successful?

The intent of the presentation is to briefly provide the information needed for management to make necessary decisions, and to provide additional details as required. If the topic begins to stray, put the presentation back on track by bringing the group’s attention back to the presentation materials. The Management Briefing Agenda (example) can help you stay on track. Adjust the agenda based on the time available.

One of the most important tasks to accomplish before you start implementing your management system is to obtain top management support. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your top management on board?
  • Have they assigned the responsibilities and authorities to implement an EnMS?
  • Has top management approved and allocated the resources needed to successfully implement an EnMS?

Top management commitment needs to be followed by a clear understanding of their responsibilities and appropriate actions. When top management is active and visible in the EnMS, employees and others perceive the value and importance of energy management and energy performance improvement to the organization. For example, simple actions from top management such as adding energy topics to meeting agendas and sending e-mail updates on energy performance help to keep the whole organization involved.

A project plan that outlines the actions, schedule, and resources necessary to implement the EnMS can help garner management support because it clearly defines expectations for the effort. Consider creating a project planning for EnMS implementation using the approach outlined in Project Management for EnMS Implementation .

Top management must support the effort not just during initial EnMS implementation, but also after the system is implemented and operational. Management must take a number of actions to follow through on their commitment to the system. These actions are detailed below and in Scope and Boundaries, Energy Policy, Energy Team and Communications of this 50001 Ready Navigator.

Once top management is committed to the EnMS, make sure they understand the ten key responsibilities they must meet to demonstrate commitment to continual improvement of both energy performance and the EnMS. The only top management responsibilities in the list below that can be delegated to other management are items 6, 7 and 9. Top management’s responsibilities include the following:

  1. Defining and deploying an energy policy and updating it as needed
  2. Appointing a management representative and authorizing an energy team
  3. Allocating the resources needed to set up, operate, and improve the EnMS and energy performance
  4. Approving the EnMS scope and boundaries
  5. Communicating the importance of energy across the organization
  6. Ensuring that energy performance improvement objectives and targets are established
  7. Ensuring the use of appropriate energy performance indicators (EnPIs)
  8. Considering energy performance in strategic planning
  9. Ensuring the measurement and reporting of results at defined intervals
  10. Conducting management reviews

Briefing top management on their EnMS responsibilities is typically done by the management representative. An effective approach can be to schedule the briefing as part of an existing management meeting. Alternatively, the briefing could be part of an ISO 50001 training event including top management.

One outcome of the briefing to top management should be a plan for how top management will meet their responsibilities during initial EnMS implementation. For example, in most initial EnMS implementations, the energy team develops proposed energy performance indicators (EnPIs) and proposed energy objectives and targets. These are then reviewed and approved by top management before becoming a formal part of the EnMS. A project management best practice for the initial implementation is for project milestones to include submission to top management of final work products (outputs) for specific elements of the EnMS. (See Project Management for EnMS Implementation for information on the basics of project planning.)

After initial implementation, top management will demonstrate most of its responsibilities through management review (see Calculate Energy Savings).

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.

Activity (0 Comments)


Name Type Description
Business Drivers and the EnMS docx This Resource is helpful to understand the different types of business drivers for the development of an EnMS amd to help organizations to think about energy, energy management and improved energy performance within the context of an organization and its current and future business priorities and needs.
Key Internal Influencers Worksheet  docx A worksheet to identify individuals in the organization whose responsibilities or activities would affect or be affected by the organization’s energy use and consumption.
Key Internal Influencers Worksheet (example) pdf An example worksheet used to identify individuals in the organization whose responsibilities or activities would affect or be affected by the organization’s energy use and consumption.
Elevator Speech Worksheet docx A worksheet used to develop the presentation for “selling” the energy management system (EnMS) to top management and other key decision makers.
Management Briefing Agenda (example) pdf This resources details an example agenda for an energy management system business case briefing to be delivered to senior leadership.
Project Management for EnMS Implementation pdf This resource details the steps that need to be taken to establish the structure for EnMS implementation at an organization. The four steps described in this resource are: Step 1 - Set the timeframe for implementation Step 2 - Develop the implementation plan Step 3 - Establish communication channels Step 4 - Celebrate success often
ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management pdf ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management guidance document.
The Business Case for Energy Efficiency link
The Benefits of ISO 50001 link The DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office ISO 50001 Frequently Asked Questions webpage.