Economic growth relies on
energy. As large parts of the developing world embark on industrial growth and
participation in global trade, rising energy costs and the foreseen sizeable
increase in demand make energy efficiency an important priority.
Firstly, energy efficiency
makes good business sense since it entails cost savings and improvements through
optimized use of resources and reduced waste. It leads to improved energy
performance; it increases the reliability of operations and processes; it
strengthens security of supply and reduces exposure to energy price rises and
fluctuations. Energy efficiency ultimately leads enterprises to higher profits
and additional benefits such as credibility, prestige and customer trust that
also have an important market value.
Secondly, energy efficiency
contributes to mitigating the negative impact of energy use and consumption on
the environment, both at local and global level. The endowment and renewal rate
of natural resources, including energy, cannot keep up with the current patterns
of economic growth; a more resource-conscious approach is needed to do more with
less, encouraging greater use of sustainable energy solutions and striking the
right balance between growth and resource utilization.
Energy costs are very often a
significant part of an SME’s budget. Managing and using energy efficiently can
contribute to substantial gains over time. While individual SMEs have a
relatively small energy consumption, their efficiency improvement potential is
usually much higher than that of large energy consumers. Considering the high
number of SMEs in any economic sector or supply chain, collective efficiency
improvement measures can have a major impact on energy costs for the sector and
the nation at large, as well as substantial beneficial effects on the
Despite sizeable opportunities
for cost-effective energy savings and efficiency improvements, SMEs lag behind
in implementing measures and reaping the benefit of potential reductions in
operating costs. SMEs very often lack information, competencies, methodologies
and resources to both identify and implement practical measures that can bring
about such substantial savings and gains.
With a view to helping SMEs
take actions to overcome many of the barriers that prevent them from
implementing practical measures and saving energy, ISO, ITC and UNIDO have
developed “ISO 50001: Energy Management Systems: A practical guide for SMEs”.
This guide intends to help SMEs understand the requirements of the ISO 50001
standard for energy management systems, become familiarized with the main
components of such systems and acquire the skills needed to identify and
implement concrete energy efficiency improvement measures.