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Proposed changes in ISO 50001:2019 as a result of Annex SL High Level Structure

ISO Standards, Management Systems

Like all management systems standards, a review of ISO 50001:2011 was conducted in 2016, five years after its publication to review it for relevancy. ISO reviewed the standard and decided to update the standard to conform to the Annex SL and its High Level Structure. A meeting was held in Stockholm in June 2016 where ISO formed a new Technical Committee, TC 301, to develop the new Energy Management System Standard. TC 301 is currently working on the Committee Draft of the standard with the final version scheduled for release in January 2019. In the following article, we will discuss the proposed effects of the adoption of Annex SL on ISO 50001.

Annex SL was developed to ensure that all new/revised (post 2012) ISO management system standards would share a universal format, irrespective of the specific discipline to which they relate, such as energy, quality and environment.  Annex SL outlines a high-level structure, identical core text, and common terms and core definitions. This new structure means that even when requirements are largely unchanged between ISO 50001:2011 and ISO 50001:2019, they are often found under a new clause/sub-clause heading, in order to fit the new structure.

Having the common requirements specified by Annex SL allows management system standard writers (TC 301) to focus their time and efforts on only developing the discipline-specific requirements.

Annex SL allows easier implementation and integration of multiple management systems (e.g. energy management, environmental management, health and safety management, quality management etc.) as these standards have an identical structure and identical core requirements. This will streamline implementation and the on-going maintenance of such systems.

Applying a new structure to management systems through Annex SL may result in challenges initially, until those responsible for implementing and maintaining ISO 50001 adjust to the new requirements outlined in ISO 50001:2019.

For organisations who currently have the principles of ISO 50001:2011 embedded in their operational processes, the transition to the new standard should be reasonably straightforward. However, organisations who are barely conforming to the requirements outlined in the current standard, will face a considerable challenge to meet the requirements outlined in the new standards, most notably relating to the organisation’s culture and approach to management systems. For example, top management will be required to take a more hands on approach in the newer version to ensure conformity of the EnMS.

Changes within ISO 50001:2019 mean organisations will need to review and where necessary refresh their current cultures. The behaviours of interested parties related to the EnMS, including those operating at the most senior levels, will come under increased scrutiny.

A summary of the principal changes as a result of moving from ISO 50001:2011 to ISO 50001:2019 are outlined below:

Context of the organisation (Clause 4)

This requires the organisation to identify any external and internal issues that have the potential to impact the ability of their EnMS to deliver energy performance improvements. The organisation must also determine the relevant needs and expectations of their relevant interested parties – i.e. those individuals and organisations that can affect, be affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by, the organisation’s decisions or activities.

Leadership (Clause 5)

Top management must now demonstrate that they engage in key EnMS activities rather than simply ensuring that these activities occur. This requires top management to actively involve themselves with the operation of their EnMS and be accountable for its results. References to the role of “management representative” are removed in an effort to reinforce the requirement to see the EnMS integrated into strategic and operational ‘processes, rather than it being operated as an independent system, with a separate management structure and processes.

Risk-based thinking (Clause 6)

The organisation must evidence that they have determined, considered and, where deemed necessary, taken action to address any risks and opportunities that may impact (either positively or negatively) their EnMS´ ability to deliver energy performance improvements.

In addition, references to ‘preventive action’ have been removed from the standard, however the core concept of identifying and addressing potential nonconformities before they happen remains intact.

Communication (Clause 7)

Communication with interested parties plays an important role in an effective EnMS. The organisation needs to be sure that the information provided both internally and externally is consistent with the information generated by the EnMS.

Improvement (Clause 10)

As in the current standard, organisations have been required to improve their EnMS and their energy performance. Now in the proposed standard they are required to improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the EnMS. This can be achieved by implementing energy saving opportunities, reviewing the results of analysis and evaluation, management review outputs, use of the energy policy, energy objectives, reviewing the results of analysis and evaluation, audit results, corrective actions and management review.

Terminology (Clause 3)

This clause contains the terms and definitions used in the standard, regardless of whether they come from Annex SL or were added by TC 301.

New definitions from Annex SL include, for example:

  • continual improvement – recurring activity to enhance performance
  • documented information – information required to be controlled and maintained by an organisation and the medium on which it is contained
  • risk – effect of uncertainty

Documented Information (Clause 4 – 10)

References to requirements for documents and records have been replaced by the term “documented Information”, which has to be “maintained” in the case of documents and “retained” in the case of records.

 There are other non-structure related changes being proposed for the new version of the standard also, topics covered during the Stockholm meeting included:

  • the definition of energy performance, relating to improvements in energy ‘use’ from the current definition the use of renewable technology and measures to reduce GHG could be considered energy performance improvements
  • terminology relating to the energy review and how this is different from the energy audits
  • links with auditing standards such as ISO 50002 and EN16247 and their use with ISO 50001 (Nijjhar, 2016)

Proposed structure of ISO 50001:2019 compared to ISO 50001:2011

ISO 50001:2019

ISO 50001:2011

Clause title Clause




Clause title
Introduction 0 0 Introduction
Scope 1 1 Scope
Normative references 2 2 Normative references
Terms and definitions 3 3 Terms and definitions
Context of the organisation (title) 4    
    4 Energy management system requirements (title)
Understanding the organisation and its context 4.1
Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties 4.2
Determining the scope of the energy management system 4.3 4.1 General requirements
Energy management system 4.4 4.1 General requirements
Leadership (title) 5
Leadership and commitment 5.1
Energy Policy 5.2 4.3 Energy policy
Organisational roles, responsibilities and authorities 5.3 4.2 Management responsibility
Planning (title) 6 4.4 Energy planning (title)
Actions to address risks and opportunities 6.1
General 6.1.1
Energy review 6.1.2 4.4.3 Energy review
Legal Requirements and other requirements 6.1.3 4.4.2 Legal requirements and other requirements
Energy baseline 6.1.4 4.4.4 Energy baseline
Energy performance indicators 6.1.5 4.4.5 Energy performance indicators
Planning action 6.1.6
Energy objectives and planning to achieve them 6.2 4.4.6 Energy objectives, energy targets and energy management action plans
Support (title) 7
Resources 7.1 4.2.1 Top management
Competence 7.2 4.5.2 Competence, training and awareness
Awareness 7.3
Communication 7.4 4.5.3 Communication
Documented information 7.5 4.5.4 Documentation
General 7.5.1
Creating and updating 7.5.2
Control of documented information 7.5.3
Operation (title) 8 4.5 Implementation and operation (title)
Operation planning 8.1 4.5.1 General
Design 8.2 4.5.6 Design
Procurement of energy services, products, equipment and energy 8.3 4.5.7 Procurement of energy services, products, equipment and energy
Performance evaluation (title) 9 4.6 Checking
Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation 9.1 4.6.1 Monitoring, measurement and analysis
General 9.1.1
Evaluation of compliance 9.1.2 4.6.2 Evaluation of compliance with legal requirements and other requirements
Internal audit 9.2 4.6.3 Internal audit of the EnMS
General 9.2.1
Internal audit programme 9.2.2.
Management review 9.3 4.7 Management review (title)
General 9.3.1 4.7.1 General
Management review inputs 9.3.2 4.7.2 Input to management review
Management review outputs 9.3.3 4.7.3 Output from management review
Improvement (title) 10
General 10.1
Nonconformity and corrective action 10.2 4.6.4 Nonconformities, correction, corrective action and preventive action

Continual improvement


ISO 50001 has already proven to be a popular standard with a 77% increase in organisations globally achieving accreditation to this standard in 2015. Revision and inclusion of Annex SL in this standard will ensure that the same benefits gained by the 2015 revisions of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 will also be gained for energy management systems.

It is important to note that the Standard is currently at Committee Draft Stage and substantial changes to its content can still be made at this point. If you wish to have your say in how this standard is being developed, please contact your National Standards Body.

We will track the progress of the revision of ISO 50001 until its release and more blogs will follow on this when more significant developments occur.

Please feel free to comment below to let us know what YOU think should be changed in ISO 50001.



Nijjhar, R. (2016, September/October). What’s brewing in ISO 50001. Environment & Energy Management, pp. 24-25.

Annex SL , Energy Management System , ISO 50001 , ISO 50001:2019 , ISO Standard Revision , ISO standards
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