Sustainability Definitions 

  • Audit
    An audit is a systematic and documented process for obtaining evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which predetermined criteria are fulfilled.
  • CDP
    The Climate Disclosure Project is an international non-profit organization which assesses and scores companies annually based on their performance in the areas of climate change, forestry, and water.
  • CO2e
    The universal unit of measurement to indicate the global warming potential (GWP) of each greenhouse gas, expressed in terms of the GWP of one unit of carbon dioxide. It is used to evaluate releasing (or avoiding releasing) different greenhouse gases against a common basis.
  • CSR
    Corporate Social Responsibility refers to a form of corporate self-regulation in which a business embraces responsibility for its actions and encourages positive economic, social and environmental impacts through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, supply chain, communities, and other stakeholders.
  • GRI
    The Global Reporting Initiative is an international and independent non-profit standards organization that provides a reporting framework for companies to communicate their impacts on sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. 
  • Eco-design
    Eco-design refers to the use of specific product design principles with the aim to minimize the negative environmental impact of products. Examples include product manufacturing that requires less energy and resource consumption, use of more durable materials to extend product lifespan, or designing products that are easily disassembled to promote recycling when the product is no longer in use.
  • Emission factor
    A factor that converts activity data into GHG emissions data (e.g., kg CO2e emitted per liter of fuel consumed, kg CO2e emitted per kilometer traveled, etc.).
  • EPR
    Extended Producer Responsibility is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
  • ESG
    Environmental, Social, and Governance refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a company or business.
  • External assessor
    An external assessor is an organization that analyses corporate sustainability work and provides a score or rating. Examples include CDP, MSCI, ISS, and Sustainalytics.
  • GHG emissions
    Greenhouse gas emissions refer to the six greenhouse gases covered by the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
  • GHG inventory
    A quantified list of an organization’s GHG emissions and sources.
  • GHG Protocol
    The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions.
  • ISO
    ISO refers to the International Organization for Standardization, which establishes requirements, specifications, and guidelines for a range of management standards. For example, the ISO 14000 standards for Environment, the ISO 9000 standards for Quality, and the ISO 45000 standards for Occupational Health and Safety.
  • LCA
    A lifecycle assessment is a compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs, and the potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its lifetime. This comprehensive examination of environmental impacts throughout a product’s lifetime includes raw material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, use, and disposal.
  • Paris Agreement
    The Paris Agreement refers to a 2016 agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5°C through greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
  • Renewable electricity
    Renewable electricity refers to purchased electricity that is generated from renewable sources, such as wind, hydro, or solar and/or is certified with a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), Guarantee of Origin (GoO), or equivalent. 
  • Renewable energy
    Renewable energy refers more broadly to purchased fuel, heating, and electricity that is generated from renewable sources. 
  • RoHS Directive
    The Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive is an EU regulation which bans the use of specific hazardous substances in electrical and electronic goods. 
  • Scope 1 emissions
    Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas emissions from owned or controlled sources. For example, the greenhouse gas emissions from fuel burned in a manufacturing facility or from diesel used in a company car.
  • Scope 2 emissions
    Scope 2 emissions are indirect greenhouse emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heating and cooling. For example, the greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal to create electricity used at a manufacturing site or from burning natural gas to create heating used at an office.
  • Scope 3 emissions
    Scope 3 emissions are all indirect greenhouse gas emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions. For example, the greenhouse gas emissions from raw materials and other goods from suppliers, purchased logistics services, business travel, product use and employee commuting. 
  • SDGs
    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals covering the sustainability areas of economy, environment, and society and providing a framework for companies to set targets supporting these goals. 
  • Supply chain
    A network of organizations (e.g., manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers) involved in the production, delivery, and sale of a product to the consumer.
  • Tier 1 supplier
    A supplier that provides or sells products directly to the reporting company. A tier 1 supplier is a company with which the reporting company has a purchase order for goods or services.
  • Tier 2 supplier
    A supplier that provides or sells products directly to the reporting company’s tier 1 supplier. A tier 2 supplier is a company with which the reporting company’s tier 1 supplier has a purchase order for goods and services.
  • UN Global Compact
    The United Nations Global Compact is an international and voluntary initiative that companies can join to support and report on 10 sustainability principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.
  • Value chain
    A value chain refers to all of the upstream and downstream activities associated with the operations of the reporting company, including the purchased materials, logistics, use of sold products by consumers, and the end-of-life treatment of products after consumer use.
  • WEEE Directive
    The Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is an EU legislation, which requires the creation of collection systems where consumers return their waste free of charge and companies which sell electronic goods pay fees to support such systems.

Sources:

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard

GRI Standards

Naturskyddsföreningen

Presidio University

USA EPA