Confused about what all those sustainability buzzwords and terms really mean? Earlier this year we released the guide Sustainability Buzzwords, Abbreviations and Acronyms You Need to Know, in this blog post, we summarize some of the buzzwords and terms most commonly used. A number of them are probably familiar but one or two might be new. Don't hesitate to reach out if you think there are any terms and expressions that we should add to the guide.
You can, of course, download the glossary and share it with your colleagues at any time!
7 common Sustainability terms
ISO 14001 has become the international standard for designing and implementing an environmental management system. The standard is published by ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), an international body that creates and distributes standards that are accepted worldwide. The most recent version of the environmental management system requirements was published in 2015, and is referred to as “ISO 14001:2015.” The standard was agreed upon by a majority of member countries before being released and updated, and as such it has become an internationally recognized standard accepted by a majority of countries around the world.
A new approach to corporate reporting that integrates financial information and non-financial (environmental and social) information into a single document to show how a company is performing. The International Integrated Reporting Framework is used to accelerate the adoption of integrated reporting across the world.
Further reading: International <IR> Framework
Materiality assessments are an exercise in stakeholder engagement designed to gather insight on the relative importance of specific ESG issues. The insight is most commonly used to inform sustainability reporting and communication strategies, but it also is valuable to strategic planning, operational management and capital investment decisions. Further reading: What is Materiality? The Basics of Defining What Matters
In order to calculate a carbon footprint, three types of emissions are differentiated: Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions produced by the burning of fuels of the emitter. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions generated by the electricity consumed and purchased by the emitter. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions produced by the emitter activity but owned and controlled by a different emitter from the one who reports on the emissions.
Sustainable Procurement is a process whereby organizations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimizing damage to the environment. Further reading: Drivers of Incorporating Sustainability in Procurement Organizations
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
The work and recommendations of the Task Force help companies understand what financial markets want from disclosure in order to measure and respond to climate change risks, and encourage firms to align their disclosures with investors’ needs. Further reading: Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures
Triple Bottom Line
A phrase first coined by John Elkington in 1994, it describes the separate financial, social and environmental ‘bottom lines’ of companies. In principle it is designed for companies to value their social and environmental profits and losses, as well as the financial ones. Further reading: What's the Triple Bottom Line?
Want to dig a bit deeper? Download the guide to learn all of the expressions and buzzwords!
Related blog posts you might like:
- The Sustainability Buzzwords, Acronyms and Abbreviations You Need to Know - Part 1
- Why SMEs should be reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals
- More Businesses Need to Report Their Climate Impact, Here's Why