Glossary of sustainability terms

Some clarification and a sea of acronyms

Sustainability glossary

When carbon emissions are reduced to the lowest possible amount and what cannot be eliminated is balanced by taking an equivalent amount out of the atmosphere.

ESG is an acronym for Environmental, Social, and Governance.

Often used in the financial services sector as a framework that helps stakeholders understand how an organization is managing risks and opportunities related to environmental, social, and governance criteria (which they call ESG factors).

Not increasing carbon emissions and achieving carbon reduction through offsets equivalent to the amount produced. This can include buying carbon reduction credits,

is defined as direct GHG emissions that are controlled by your organisation. This typically includes:

  • direct fuel consumption (heating from oil and gas, process equipment oil and gas consumption, company vehicles)
  • manufacturing direct emissions from burning fuel
  • refrigerant systems
  • on-site waste facilities
  • fugitive emissions (e.g. fire suppression systems, aerosols, solvent cleaning, foam blowing).

is defined as indirect GHG emissions that result from purchased electricity, heat, or steam used to power the facility’s lighting, HVAC equipment, water heaters, IT equipment etc.

is defined as indirect GHG emissions that a company can influence but does not control. This is often the largest scope and hardest to quantify. In this category are many things as per the diagram above, and typically transportation of raw materials, distribution of your products by suppliers, business travel, employees commuting to work in vehicles not owned by the company, and transportation of purchased fuels.

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial disclosures.  The UK is aiming for mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosures across non-financial and financial sectors of the UK economy by 2025, with a significant portion of mandatory requirements in place by 2023. For publicly quoted companies, large private companies and LLPs, It is now a legal requirement to make mandatory climate-related financial disclosures for all reporting years starting in or after April 2022

There are four key elements:  Governance, Strategy, Risks, Metrics and targets.

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).  Established in 2021 it is a global, market-led initiative with the mission to develop and deliver a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks and opportunities.

Normally related to building developments and construction projects, this is making sure the habitat for wildlife is in a better state than it was before development. 

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