Glossary of terms

The world of sustainability, climate change and offsetting can be a confusing place. Our mission is to accelerate the progress towards a carbon-negative world but it doesn't help if we don't understand the words being used to get there, so we have created a list of frequently used terms to help you.

1.5° Degree Pathway

Scientists estimate that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would reduce the odds of initiating the most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change.

CO2

Carbon dioxide, a gas consisting of one part carbon and two parts oxygen.

CO2e

Carbon dioxide equivalent. It is a way of accounting for all green house gas emissions through one simple figure. It includes all the molecules that capture heat and warm our atmosphere.

COP26

The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference.

CSR

Corporate Social Responsbility - A company’s commitment to manage the social, environmental and economic effects of its operations responsibly and in line with public expectations.

Carbon Avoidance

Carbon avoidance projects contribute to climate action by preventing carbon that would have been released into the atmosphere.

Carbon Calculator

A tool to calculate you or your business' carbon footprint. The results can be used to take action to avoid and reduce your carbon impact.

Carbon Credits

A generic term for a permit which allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions and which can be traded if the full allowance is not used.

Carbon Dioxide

A colourless, odourless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration.

Carbon Emisions

The release of carbon into the atmosphere.

Carbon Footprint

The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

Carbon Retirement

Retiring a carbon credit means that when it is purchased it is taken off the market forever—never to be traded or swapped again. This way, only the purchaser of the carbon credit can ever claim to have reduced emissions.

Carbon reduction

The process of directly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon-Negative

This means removing more CO2 from the air than is emitted.

Carbon-Neutral

Having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

Carpooling/Liftsharing

Carpooling is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car, and prevents the need for others to have to drive to a location themselves.

Circular Economy

A systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment.

Climate Change

Long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil and gas), which produces heat-trapping gases.

Climate Crisis

A term used to show a greater sense of emergency and urgency about climate change.

Climate Positive

Activity that goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Conservation

The protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity.

Deforestation

The reduction in forest areas across the world. It is caused by both natural and human activities, although it is undeniably accelerated by humans via actions such as urbanisation, mining and agricultural farming.

ESG

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.

Ecological Footprint

The impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources.

GHC

The abbreviation for greenhouse gases.

GHG Protocol

A globally recognised standard for measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from companies and their value chains, as well as emission reduction measures.

Global Warming

A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants.

Gold Standard

An organisation that is globally recognised for their verification of carbon credits.

Green House Affect

A process that occurs when gases in Earth's atmosphere trap the Sun's heat. Too much of these greenhouse gases can cause Earth's atmosphere to trap more and more heat. This causes Earth to warm up.

Green Miles

Distance travelled that has been offset and is carbon-negative.

Green Receipt

Planting trees for every purchase made at a hotel, restaurant, for a service.

Greenwashing

A form of marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization's products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.

Keeping 1.5°C alive

The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 was based on several reports that idenitified two horizons, +1.5 & +2 degrees Celius above the pre-industrial levels of the 1950-1900. By many of the worlds scientists, +1.5 is now unavoidable, and along with it will be the unavoidable destruction to the way we live across the world. For them the level of change that would be required by the worlds population is too great to avoid it. The notion of keeping +1.5 alive is ensuring that individuals realise that we can still make an impact on our future, and if we make a bigger enough change we might just avoid +1.5.

Low Emissions

Generating greenhouse gases at a lower rate than business as usual. Examples include switching from coal-fired to gas-fired power to generate the same amount of electricity, but with fewer emissions.

Net-Zero

The term net zero means achieving a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon removed from it. This balance – or net zero – will happen when the amount of carbon we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed.

Offset

To counteract (something) by having an equal and opposite force or effect

Organic

Not using artificial chemicals in the growing of plants and animals for food and other products.

Organic Agreculture

Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production.

Recycling

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products or reusable materials.

Reforestation

The process of replanting an area with trees.

Science Based Targets

Endeavoring to add science to measure whether the actions an organisation is taking towards climate change is enough to keep 1.5 alive.

Scope 1

Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles).

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.

Scope 2

Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. Although scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, they are accounted for in an organization's GHG inventory because they are a result of the organization's energy use.

Scope 3

Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain.

Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly impacts in its value chain. ... Scope 3 emissions, also referred to as value chain emissions, often represent the majority of an organization's total GHG emissions.

Sustainability

Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance, without depleting resources for the future.

UN Climate Goals

NOT IN GLOSSARY SHEET

Vera

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), or Verra, is a standard for certifying carbon emissions reductions.

Verified Carbon Credits (VCC)

Verified Carbon Credits are a carbon avoidance that has been verified by a 3rd organisation. An example might be the prevention of deforestation, or through direct carbon capture & storage.

Verified Carbon Offset (VCO)

A VCC that has been retired on hehalf of your business. e.g. Company A buys a VCO from Company B. Company B is a holder of VCCs and is in a position to retired a VCC accordingly.

Zero Emissions

Achieving zero emissions means releasing no greenhouse gases to the atmosphere—that is, no carbon dioxide (CO2), no methane, no nitrous oxide or other greenhouse gases.

Zero-Waste

The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health.

Zero-Waste to land fill

The common interpretation is that at least 99 percent of generated waste is diverted away from landfill. Which means that all waste produced is either reused, recycled, composted, or sent to energy recovery.