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  • Writer's pictureMatt Holden

Glossary of Terms

Updated: Feb 17

  1. Carbon accounting: The process of measuring, monitoring and reporting an organization's carbon footprint, which is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by the organization's activities.

  2. Carbon footprint: The total amount of greenhouse gases produced directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product.

  3. Carbon Ledger: The backbone ledger of GHG Transactions. Each Emission and Offset transaction will be posted to the Carbon Ledger, which records the emissions in gas and in Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2E).

  4. Carbon Offset: A reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.

  5. CDP: (Carbon Disclosure Project) is a non-profit organization that runs a global disclosure system for companies and cities to report on their environmental impacts, specifically their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies.

  6. CO2E: stands for "carbon dioxide equivalent." It is a metric used to measure the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by a particular source or activity. It is calculated by converting the emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, into the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would produce the same amount of warming. CO2e is used to compare the relative climate impact of different emissions sources and to track progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  7. CSRD: (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive). EU law requires all large companies and all listed companies (except listed micro-enterprises) to disclose information on their risks and opportunities arising from social and environmental issues, and on the impacts of their activities on people and the environment. This helps investors, civil society organizations, consumers and other stakeholders to evaluate the sustainability performance of companies, as part of the European green deal.

  8. Emission Factor: An emission factor is a representative value that relates the quantity of a pollutant emitted to the activity that gave rise to the emission. Emission factors are used to estimate emissions from various sources, such as vehicles or industrial processes.

  9. Emission Source: an asset, entity, product, or activity that generates greenhouse gas emissions. Each scope can have different sources:

  10. Scope 1: Vehicles, Furnaces, industrial processes

  11. Scope 2: Buildings

  12. Scope 3: Employees, Items, business processes

  13. Emissions: The release of a substance, such as a greenhouse gas, into the environment.

  14. ESG reporting: The process of measuring, disclosing and being accountable for an organization's environmental, social and governance impacts.

  15. GHG Inventory: This refers to the process of quantifying and reporting the total greenhouse gas emissions from a company or organization.

  16. GHG Protocol: GHG Protocol is a set of standardized guidelines and protocols for quantifying and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  17. GHG Transaction: one instance of an Emission Source generating greenhouse gas emissions. GHG Transactions can be recorded monthly, daily, or in real time. For example, a Truck is an Emission Source, and the miles that it drives are the GHG Transactions.

  18. Greenhouse gases (GHGs): A group of gases that trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change. The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases.

  19. Greenwashing: Greenwashing is the practice of making false or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a product or service in order to gain a competitive advantage.

  20. GRI: (Global Reporting Initiative) is a non-profit organization that provides a framework for sustainability reporting.

  21. IASB: The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is an independent organization that develops and publishes International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), which are a set of accounting standards used by companies around the world.

  22. IFRS: (International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation) is an independent organization that is responsible for developing and publishing the IFRSs.

  23. Impact Investing: Impact investing is an investment strategy that aims to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.

  24. IPCC: (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a scientific body established by the United Nations to assess the science related to climate change.

  25. ISSB: (International Sustainability and Social Impact Standards Board) is an independent organization that is working on developing global sustainability standards.

  26. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): A methodology for evaluating the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal.

  27. Materiality: Materiality refers to the significance of an item to the financial statements and sustainability reporting of a company, organization, or government. Materiality is used to determine what information should be included in financial statements and sustainability reporting and how it should be disclosed.

  28. Net Zero: Net zero refers to a balance between the amount of greenhouse gases emitted and the amount removed from the atmosphere, resulting in no net increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.

  29. RECs: A renewable energy credit (REC) represents the environmental attributes of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from a renewable energy source.

  30. SASB: (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) is an independent organization that develops and publishes industry-specific standards for sustainability disclosure.

  31. SBTI: (Science Based Targets Initiative) is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that helps companies set science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

  32. Scope 1 emissions: Direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the organization, such as emissions from combustion of fossil fuels in boilers or vehicles.

  33. Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling used by the organization.

  34. Scope 3 emissions: Other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the organization, such as emissions from the production of purchased goods and services, employee commuting, and waste disposal.

  35. SDGs: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

  36. SEC Climate Mandate: The SEC has issued interpretive guidance to companies on how to disclose the financial risks associated with climate change, including the impact of climate change on their operations and financial condition.

  37. Sustainability: The ability for a company to sustainably maintain resources and relationships with and manage its dependencies and impacts within its whole business ecosystem over the short, medium, and long term.

  38. TCFD: (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) is an organization established by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is a group of central banks and regulators, to develop recommendations for how companies should disclose information about the financial risks they face from climate change.

  39. Triple Bottom Line (TBL): A framework for measuring an organization's performance in terms of economic, social and environmental outcomes.

  40. VRF: (Value Reporting Foundation) is an independent non-profit organization that promotes transparency and accountability in the reporting of financial and non-financial performance.

  41. Zero Waste: Zero Waste is a philosophy and a design principle for the 21st century that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.

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