Glossary of Environmental Terms
This is not intended to be a definitive reference. The list of topics below are defined below this list in an alphabetical order, the same order as in the list.
Environmental Terms Defined
Air Pollution The presence of particulates, noxious gases, or other impurities in the air that harm human, or environmental health. Air pollution can occur both outdoors and indoors. Some of the harmful effects of air pollution include smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and holes in the ozone layer. Air pollutants can be released from natural sources like volcanoes, but humans are responsible for most of the pollution in our air today. Air pollution leads to poor air quality which affects all living things; humans, animals and plants.
Air Quality Air quality is a measure of how good our air quality is in terms of the type and quantity of pollutants contained within it.
Agenda 21 The international policy agreed on at the Rio Conference in 1992. Under Agenda 21, countries agreed to work towards sustainable social, economic and environmental development
Biodegradable Any waste material that is made up of naturally occurring parts, can be decomposed by bacteria or fungi and will be absorbed back into the ecosystem. For example, food waste is biodegradable, while plastic is not.
Biodiversity Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or for the entire Earth. This variation is both in the number and variety of species.
Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) An internationally recognized program addressing threatened species and habitats and is designed to protect and restore biological systems. There are regional, county and local BAPs. The UK’s Biodiversity Action Plan launched in 2007, identified 1,149 species and 65 habitats in the UK that need conservation and greater protection.
Biofuel This is a term used to describe a type of fuel made from biomass, (any living or recently dead biological material). Most commonly, this means that plant matter (such as corn, soybeans, flaxseed, rapeseed, sugar cane or palm oil) is used to produce the fuel, but animal matter (such as cow dung) can also be used. Biofuels are used to ensure power supply and reduce the greenhouse effect, although they are usually thought of as being less carbon neutral than other forms of renewable energy.
Carbon Balancing Often confused with carbon offsetting, but generally more concerned with reducing personal carbon levels, rather than compensating for them. Carbon balancing sometimes refers to a new technology that will reduce overall greenhouse emissions.
Carbon Calculator A tool to help you to work out the size of your carbon footprint.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) A naturally occurring gas and one of the most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is also a by-product of industrial processes, burning fossil fuels and land use changes. Due to its ability to absorb some infrared wavelengths of sunlight and the fact that it stays in the atmosphere for a long time, it is an important factor in global warming.
Certified Emission Reduction (CER) Certified Emission Reduction – a carbon credit created by a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project. One CER corresponds to one tonne of CO2e emission reductions.
Carbon Footprint A carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organisation, event or product. For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. Average national carbon footprints vary greatly, from 0.04 tonnes in Cambodia to 19.8 tonnes in America. The average British footprint is 9.4 tonnes.
Carbon Negative While net zero means achieving a state of equilibrium in terms of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere. Carbon negative would mean that you remove more emissions from the atmosphere than you produce. One of the best ways to remove gases are through forests, also biochar, preserving seagrasses, and other natural carbon sinks. There are also technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
Carbon Neutral Carbon neutrality is a term generally used when a certain amount of carbon is offset by payment or by giving up other carbon-producing activities. For example, a flight from Edinburgh to Southampton produces 0.12 tonnes of CO2 per person, which can be offset by paying £5. Once this payment is made, the flight can then be referred to as carbon neutral for that individual.
Carbon Offsetting This is a term that refers to reducing carbon levels somewhere else in the world to compensate for your own CO2 emissions. A common example of offsetting is paying a company to plant trees to counterbalance the emissions produced by your air travel. However, some critics believe that paying for individual ‘eco-sins’ is the wrong way to reduce overall CO2 emissions and may even help to legitimize the continued production of greenhouse gases.
Carbon Offset Project Validation An independent assessment of the Carbon Offset Project design and baseline calculations by an accredited third-party auditor that takes place before the project activity is underway.
Carbon Offset Project Verification An independent assessment of quantification of actual emission reductions achieved by a carbon offset project, carried out by an accredited third-party auditor after the project is underway.
Carbon Trading This is an administrative approach to controlling carbon and one that provides financial incentives for lowering pollution levels. The system works by putting a cap on the total emissions levels for a particular country, and then giving various businesses tradable carbon credits that relate to the amount of CO2 they are allowed to emit. Businesses can then buy and sell these credits as they expect to fail or meet their emissions target. This system also allows corporations to retire their carbon credits in return for a tax deduction. Over time, the amount of carbon credits available will be lowered, therefore reducing the amount of emissions in the environment.
Charging Points A point that supplies electricity for the recharging of electric vehicles.
Circular Economy In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place. The circular economy is based on three principles, driven by design:
- Eliminate waste and pollution
- Circulate products and materials (at their highest value)
- Regenerate nature It is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy and materials.
A circular economy decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. It is a resilient system that is good for business, people and the environment. Here is a 20 minute video from The Story of Stuff on the linear economy
Climate This refers to averages and variations in weather and temperature over a particular timeframe. Climate can refer to the whole planet, a continent or a particular country.
Climate Anxiety Climate Anxiety is a growing issue with many people who are worried about what the future holds. Officially defined as "a chronic fear of environmental doom", Climate Anxiety levels are on the rise, particularly in young people who worry what their future will look like due to climate change. In 2021 Avaaz funded the biggest ever survey into Climate Anxiety and found that 95% of young people were worried about the climate. An article from Greenpeace UK on how to deal with Climate Anxiety. A helpful article by the BBC on how to turn your worries into action
Climate Change The overall changes in the Earth’s climate, whether looking at millions of years or just a few decades. These changes can be due to internal Earth processes, external forces (such as solar variation) or, in more recent times, human activity.
Climate Change Adaption In the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report in 2022, climate adaptation was defined as "the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects in order to moderate harm or take advantage of beneficial opportunities", in human systems. In natural systems on the other hand, adaptation is "the process of adjustment to actual climate and its effects"; human intervention may facilitate this. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) Wiki summary of IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Full Wiki summary of Climate Change Adaption
Compliance Carbon Market The segment of the carbon market for carbon offset transactions which meet regulatory requirements i.e. offsets purchased by governments and organisations to meet Kyoto targets.
Composting The process of breaking down biodegradable waste into mulch or compost to be used on a garden.
Earth Day Earth Day is an annual celebration that honours the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 in the United States and on either April 22 or the day the spring equinox occurs throughout the rest of the world.
Earth Overshoot Day Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits. To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year: (Earth’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot Day 2022 landed on July 28
Ecodesign Legislation There is worldwide demand for more efficient products to reduce the consumption of energy and other natural resources in line with improving overall sustainability. The EU legislation on ecodesign is an effective tool for improving the environmental performance of products by setting mandatory minimum standards for their energy efficiency.
This eliminates the least performing products from the market. Ecodesign also supports industrial competitiveness and innovation by promoting better environmental performance of products throughout the internal market.
An important change in the above-mentioned ecodesign rules, which started to fully apply in 2021, is the inclusion of elements to further enhance the reparability and recyclability of appliances. Several of the new measures include requirements, such as making spare parts more easily replaceable, and ensuring that key parts and repair and maintenance information are available for end users and professional repairers as appropriate, for a minimum duration of 7-10 years depending on the product. The changed ecodesign rules for washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and freezers, and electronic displays took effect on 1 March 2021. On 30 March 2022, the Commission proposed a new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation for more environmentally sustainable and circular products. It was published together with the Ecodesign and energy labelling working plan 2022-2024, which covers new energy-related products and updates and increases the ambition for products that are already regulated.
Ecological Footprint The Ecological Footprint is the only metric that measures how much nature we have and how much nature we use. Ecological Footprint accounting measures the demand on and supply of nature.
On the demand side, the Ecological Footprint adds up all the productive areas for which a population, a person or a product competes. It measures the ecological assets that a given population or product requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fibre products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions. The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of productive surface areas. Typically, these areas are: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land. On the supply side, a city, state or nation’s biocapacity represents the productivity of its ecological assets (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land). These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also serve to absorb the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel.
Both the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are expressed in global hectares—globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity. Each city, state or nation’s Ecological Footprint can be compared to its biocapacity, or that of the world. If a population’s Ecological Footprint exceeds the region’s biocapacity, that region runs a biocapacity deficit. Its demand for the goods and services that its land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what the region’s ecosystems can regenerate. In more popular communications, we also call this “an ecological deficit.” A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If a region’s biocapacity exceeds its Ecological Footprint, it has a biocapacity reserve.
Eco-Schools An international program of environmental and sustainable developmental education for schools.
Electric Vehicles (EV) Electric vehicles produce no exhaust fumes and use minimal energy if charged from renewable sources. EVs include, but are not limited to, road and rail vehicles, surface and underwater vessels, electric aircraft and electric spacecraft. An EV is a shortened acronym for an electric vehicle. EVs are vehicles that are either partially or fully powered on electric power. Electric vehicles have low running costs as they have less moving parts for maintaining and also very environmentally friendly as they use little or no fossil fuels (petrol or diesel). While some EVs used lead acid or nickel metal hydride batteries, the standard for modern battery electric vehicles is now considered to be lithium ion batteries as they have a greater longevity and are excellent at retaining energy, with a self discharge rate of just 5% per month. There are two main types of electric vehicles (EV); fully electric and plug-in hybrids: Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) Compared to an internal combustion engine, battery powered electric vehicles have approximately 99% fewer moving parts that need maintenance. Advantages of a BEV:
- Creates very little noise
- No exhaust, spark plugs, clutch or gears
- Doesn't burn fossil fuels, instead uses rechargeable batteries BEVs can be charged at home overnight, providing enough range for average journeys.
However, longer journeys or those that require a lot of hill climbs may mean that the fuel cells require charging before you reach your destination, although regenerative braking or driving downhill can help mitigate against this by charging the battery packs. The typical charging time for an electric car can range from 30 minutes and up to more than 12 hours. This all depends on the speed of the charging station and the size of the battery. Range is one of the biggest concerns for electric vehicles, but this is quickly improving. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) Rather than relying solely on an electric motor, hybrid electric vehicles offer a mixture of battery and petrol (or diesel) power. This makes them better for travelling long distances as you can switch to traditional fuels rather than having to find charge points to top up the battery. The same disadvantages that apply to combustion engine vehicles also apply to PHEVs, such as the need for more maintenance, engine noise, emissions and the cost of petrol. PHEVs also have smaller battery packs, which means a reduced range.
Energy Labels The EU energy labelling and ecodesign legislation helps improve the energy efficiency of products on the EU market, and has been estimated to bring energy savings of approximately 230 million tonnes of oil equivalent by 2030. For consumers, this means an average saving of up to €285 per year on their household energy bills.
Moreover, energy efficiency measures will create €66 billion in extra revenue for European companies. Ecodesign sets common EU wide minimum standards to eliminate the least performing products from the market. The energy labels provide a clear and simple indication of the energy efficiency and other key features of products at the point of purchase. This makes it easier for consumers to save money on their household energy bills and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the EU. As a result of the development of more and more energy efficient products, and because the difference between A++ and A+++ is less obvious to the consumer, the EU energy label categories will be gradually adjusted to reintroduce the simpler A to G scale.
Environment Policy An agreed written statement outlining an organisation’s stance towards the environment in which it operates. This is the cornerstone of an organisation’s intent to improve its impacts on the environment, including areas such as reducing its carbon footprint, improving recycling rates, reducing packaging, minimising waste etc.
Ethical Consumer/Ethical Consumption We all need to meet our basic needs, to buy food and clothes and entertainment, financial products, broadband and many other products and services. There is a growing movement of people who want to do this while making as little negative impact on the environment as possible, or even making purchases that have a positive long-term impact. For a longer discussion of the concept, go to: ethicalconsumer.com
Food Miles The distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer. It is one dimension used in assessing the environmental impact of food. The concept of food miles originated in 1990 in the United Kingdom.
Fossil Fuels Any type of fuel that is made from the fossilised remains of dead animals and plants. This includes oil, natural gas and coal, which are also commonly referred to as non-renewable natural resources.
Global Warming Potential (GWP) Global warming potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, as a multiple of the heat that would be absorbed by the same mass of carbon dioxide (CO2). GWP for CO2 is 1. For other gases it depends on the gas and the time frame.
Carbon dioxide equivalent is calculated from GWP. For any gas, it is the mass of CO2 that would warm the earth as much as the mass of that gas, providing a common scale for measuring the climate effects of different gases. It is calculated as GWP times mass of the other gas. Methane has GWP of 27.9 (over 100 years), meaning that, for example, a leak of a tonne of methane is equivalent to emitting 27.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Similarly a tonne of nitrous oxide, from manure for example, is equivalent to 273 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A substance's GWP depends on the number of years over which the potential is calculated. A gas which is quickly removed from the atmosphere may initially have a large effect, but for longer time periods, as it has been removed, it becomes less important.
Greenhouse Effect The warming effect of the Earth's atmosphere by a process that raises the temperature of air in the lower atmosphere due to heat trapped by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone.
Greenhouse Gas(GHG) Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit infrared radiation. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse gas effect. The main greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Some of these gases occur naturally, while others are the result of human activity. The range of greenhouse gases the Kyoto Protocol now require Governments to report on, has expanded from Carbon Dioxide to also include Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and F-gases [Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)]. Main emission sources of each GHG:
Methane GWP - landfilled waste (35.6% in 2010) agriculture (43.6% in 2010) fugitive emissions (16.9% in 2010)
Nitrous Oxide - agricultural soils (74% in 2010) fuel combustion (12% in 2010) nitric acid production (3.7% in 2010). In the 1990s the chemical industry was a significant source F-gases (HFCs, PFCs & SF6) sulfur hexafluoride has a GWP of 22,800 over 100 years
Green Procurement Green purchases are those that have a low environmental impact and are more sustainable in terms of the materials they're made from and the sourcing and manufacturing practices that make them. Green procurement also considers the immediate and future impacts of purchases throughout its life cycle. In green procurement, an enterprise is concerned more about the environmental impact of its purchasing decision than the cost of goods and services. Considered a component of sustainable procurement, green procurement also aligns with an enterprise’s corporate social responsibilities.
Green Rooves A roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane.
Greenwashing Earth.org descirbes Greenwashing as, "Greenwashing is essentially when a company or organisation spends more time and money on marketing themselves as being sustainable than on actually minimising their environmental impact. It's a deceitful advertising method to gain favour with consumers who choose to support businesses that care about bettering the planet." Greenpeace goes on to explain, "Greenwashing lets companies keep business as usual, while pretending they’re doing better.
So all the planet-polluting, habitat-harming things they do carry on. And there may be very few attempts to change this. This locks in a harmful social and economic system that takes more from the Earth than we can sustain. Greenwashing delays or stops the action we need to move to better systems for people and the planet. A false eco-branded product or carbon offsetting may make us feel we’re doing well.
But these efforts are small compared to the changes we need to make together. When companies greenwash, they distract us. They divert our attention. We’re led into the belief that everything is fine, when it’s not. And that environmental problems are being handled or solved by someone else, when they’re not. Greenwashing means we miss supporting the companies who are reducing their environmental impact. And that we won’t come together to pressure the rest to change the way they do things." Two websites that explain Greenwashing: Greenpeace Investopedia
Hybrid Car A hybrid vehicle combines a conventional engine with an on-board energy storage system. This secondary motor tends to be electric and gains its charge by capturing the kinetic energy produced during braking. This engine combination allows the vehicle to achieve a greater fuel economy without having the limited mileage range of a fully electric car.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The job of the IPCC is to evaluate the risk of human-induced climate change by considering all the available scientific and technical literature.
The IPCC does not carry out research or directly monitor climate change. The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. It also produces Special Reports on topics agreed to by its member governments, as well as Methodology Reports that provide guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories.
Kyoto Protocol An amendment to the international treaty on climate change – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that requires industrialised country signatories to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 5% relative to their 1990 levels. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997. Owing to a complex ratification process, it entered into force on 16 February 2005. Currently, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol first commitment period came to an end in 2012, when a new agreement of a GHG reduction of 18% on 1990 levels was agreed for the second commitment period, this was called the Doha Amendment, which lasted from 2013 to 2020. At the end of 2020 new commitments were made. One of the amendments made was a revised list of green-house gases that are to be reported on. https://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol
The Kyoto mechanisms One important element of the Kyoto Protocol was the establishment of flexible market mechanisms, which are based on the trade of emissions permits. Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms: L-International Emissions Trading L-Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
- Joint Implementation (JI)
These mechanisms ideally encourage GHG abatement to start where it is most cost- effective, for example, in the developing world. It does not matter where emissions are reduced, as long as they are removed from the atmosphere. This has the parallel benefits of stimulating green investment in developing countries and including the private sector in this endeavour to cut and hold steady GHG emissions at a safe level. It also makes 'leap-frogging' — that is, the possibility of skipping the use of older, dirtier technology for newer, cleaner infrastructure and systems, with obvious longer-term benefits — more economical.
Landfill This is a site where waste materials are buried in the ground as a form of disposal. Landfills are sometimes referred to as the ‘dump’ or ‘tip’. Increasingly, waste is being diverted from landfill through Council-run recycling collections, green waste collections, projects that rescue items thrown away to be re-used, re-purposed, or re-cycled. In some places waste is being incinerated with a by-product of creating electricity and sometimes the heat is also re-used.
Local Agenda 21 Local government projects to carry out sustainable development under Agenda 21. This charter developed out of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio, Brazil in 1992.
Low Emission Zone A geographically defined area which seeks to restrict or deter access by specific polluting vehicles or only allow low (as regular or plug-in hybrid) or zero emission (as all-electric) vehicles, with the aim of improving the air quality.
Natural Resources A term given to any naturally occurring product that is useful and/or valuable in its unaltered state. Mining, oil extraction, fishing, hunting, and forestry are generally considered natural-resource industries. Natural resources are generally grouped into renewable, flow renewable and non-renewable.
Nature Reserve An area of land managed to conserve wildlife or plant habitat or other natural features
Noise Pollution A displeasing human, animal or machine-created sound that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is transportation systems, including motor vehicle noise, aircraft noise and rail noise. Other sources of indoor and outdoor noise pollution are car alarms, emergency service sirens, office equipment, factory machinery, construction work, groundskeeping equipment, barking dogs, appliances, power tools, lighting hum, audio entertainment systems, loudspeakers, and noisy people.
Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change A one page document for UK local authorities to voluntarily make a public commitment to tackling climate change locally. The Declaration itself is signed by the political and organisation heads of the signatory authority. Signatories acknowledge the evidence, welcome the various benefits that can come from tackling climate change and the opportunity for local government to lead locally.
One Planet Council The One Planet Council is an independent voluntary body supporting One Planet Development in Wales and beyond. We provide a bridge between applicants and local planning authorities, with guidance and tools to support anyone making the transition to this more sustainable way of life. oneplanetcouncil.org.uk
One Planet Development One Planet Development is a forward-thinking planning policy in Wales which provides a genuinely affordable and sustainable way for people to live and work on their own land, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits.
- Welsh Assembly Government Technical Advice Note “Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities”, July 2010
- The Lammas Project also have a document based on the TAN 6 Guidance Note (see image above):
- The One Planet Development Wiki – an online community/forum, with an active group in West Wales
One Planet Living A global initiative based on 10 principles of sustainability developed by BioRegional and WWF.
Recycling Collecting, cleaning and reusing waste materials is part of a circular economy. The hierarchy that most people know is 'reduce, reuse, recycle'. This has now been developed into the '7Rs' - Redesign, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Renew, Recover, and Recycle. Read more about the 7Rs here
Recycled Products Recycled products are made from manufactured materials that have been reclaimed and reprocessed to create new products. Paper, glass, aluminium and wood are among the most commonly recycled materials. Seek out products that are made using recycled materials and support the Circular Economy and take the pressure off natural resources.
Renewable Energy Renewable energy is energy that can be replenished at the same rate as it is used. Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale. It includes sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Although most renewable energy sources are sustainable, some are not. For example, some biomass sources are considered unsustainable at current rates of exploitation. Renewable energy sources currently account for 14% of the world’s energy consumption and, due to the fact they produce little to no greenhouse gases, this figure is likely to rise in the future.
Smart Driving Smart Driving is driving in a more efficient way. By making small changes to driving technique, smart driving can improve a vehicle’s fuel consumption by around 15%, which reduces carbon emissions and saves car owners money.
Supply Chain The overall system that covers the flow of material and information from a business to its customer.
Sustainability Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable Consumption The use of services and related products which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimising the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardise the needs of future generations.
Sustainable Design The philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability.
Sustainable Development Sustainable Development is development that is planned to meet the needs of the present generation without negatively impacting the ability of future generations to meet their needs, e.g. the need for basic environmental, social and economic services. Sustainable development includes using and maintaining resources responsibly.
Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership.
Sustainable Living This is a lifestyle that can be sustained without exhausting any natural resources. It can be applied to individuals or whole societies. The philosophy behind sustainable living is a series of life choices favouring sustainability, such as decisions about transport, diet or accommodation.
Triple Bottom Line Refers to the practice of being accountable for three results: financial, planet and profit.
Verified Emission Reduction (VER) Verified Emission Reductions (VER) – a carbon credit created by a project which has been verified outside of the Kyoto Protocol. One VER corresponds to one tonne of CO2e emission reductions.
Voluntary Carbon Market The segment of the carbon market for carbon offset transactions outside of government-related regulatory schemes i.e. offsets purchased by organisations wishing to offset their carbon on a voluntary basis.
Waste Hierarchy An order of preferred waste management options. The hierarchy that most people know is 'reduce, reuse, recycle'. This has now been developed into the '7Rs' - Redesign, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Renew, Recover, and Recycle. Read more about the 7Rs here.
Wildlife Living creatures that are neither human nor domesticated.
Zero Carbon Any activity (whether an operation, plan or policy) where absolute carbon emissions are zero.
Page last modified: 23 Nov 2022, 10:22