When reading about sustainability, it seems that abbreviations, acronyms and buzzwords are everywhere. Some are commonly used, like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Others, like Social Impact Bonds, are less so. But which ones are which?
It’s not easy. That’s why we came up with The Worldfavor Guide to Sustainability Abbreviations, Acronyms and Buzzwords – to help you remember some of the most common ones you will come across.
Let's start with some easy ones...
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives, while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders. Further reading: What is CSR?
A sustainability report is a report published by a company or organization about the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities. Further reading: Standards in Sustainability Reporting
A promise of value to be delivered, applied to products, services or an entire organisation. For a growing number of organisations, sustainability is an important aspect of their value proposition. Further reading: How to Write a Great Value Proposition (Infographic)
Next, let's get a bit more technical...
Carbon Capturing Storage (CCS)
CCS is a technology that can capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Further reading: Carbon Capture & Storage Association
Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by purchasing credits through emissions reduction projects or carbon trading schemes.
Further reading: A Complete Guide to Carbon Offsetting
Carbon sequestration can be defined as the capture and secure storage of carbon that would otherwise be emitted to or remain in the atmosphere. The idea is to keep carbon emissions produced by human activities from reaching the atmosphere by capturing and diverting them to a secure storage or to remove carbon from the atmosphere by various means and storing it. Further reading: Science Direct
Then some of the models...
An alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use and dispose) in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible, the maximum value extracted from them whilst in use, and then products and materials recovered and regenerated at the end of each service life. Further reading: Towards the Circular Economy
The most sustainable economic system, where the inputs used to create a product are the same as its end-of-life outputs. It is a zero waste system that completely reuses, recycles or composts all materials. When a company says it uses a closed-loop system, it’s referring to its supply chain. Under a closed-loop system, businesses reuse the same materials over and over again to create new products for purchase. It’s a way to conserve natural resources and divert waste from the landfill, and increasingly, more companies are adopting it. Further reading: From linear to circular
Cradle to Cradle
Whereas Cradle to Grave accounts for the impact of producing a product – from creation to end use (take natural resources to make products and then throw them away at the end of their lifespan) – Cradle to Cradle involves using the end use product (waste) as the source for a new product: a circular economy. All products can be designed for continuous recovery and re-utilisation. Further reading: The Life Cycle Assessment – Cradle to Grave Sustainability
And finally, some of the most trending ones...
Green Bonds are funds raised from fixed-income investors to support lending for eligible projects that seek to mitigate climate change or help affected people adapt to it. As products, green bonds respond to specific investor demand for a triple-A rated fixed income product that support projects that address the climate challenge. Further reading: World Bank – Green Bonds
A management principle that seeks market opportunities for business to solve social problems. ‘Creating Shared Value’ was first introduced in the Harvard Business Review in 2011, based on the principle that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. Further reading: Creating Shared Value - Harvard Business Review
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
In 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change entered into force, addressing the need to limit the rise of global temperatures. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it's important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030. Further reading: About the Sustainable Development Goals
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- Why SMEs should be reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals
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- Why you should use data du ensure a sustainable supply chain