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Glossary of Sustainability Terms
|The subject of sustainability is a broad one containing many unfamiliar terms, acronyms, regulations and standards. This section of our site contains some of the more common sustainability terms and should act as a handy quick reference guide!|
|A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organisations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
The 'Rio declaration on environment and development' and the 'statement of principles for the sustainable management of forests in Environment and Development', were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations conference on environment and development held in Rio de Janerio on 3rd - 14th June 1992.
American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers refrigerant number.
Each chemical that can act as a refrigerant is assigned an alphanumeric code beginning with R. This is known as the ASHRAE number.
|Automatic Meter Reading (AMR)|
Developed for gas and electricity supplies not measured by traditional Half Hourly Market (HHM's)
These meters provide users with access to half hourly or hourly data of their energy consumption. As there is a wide range of AMR equipment available CRC will only capture AMR meters which are the main meters measuring the quantity of electricity or gas supplied to the premises, not a sub meter or clip on device. In CRC, AMR meters must be read remotely by customers. Voluntary installation of AMR meters is one of the factors measured in the early action metric .
|Solid , liquid or gaseous fuel obtained from relatively recent lifeless or living biological materials.|
|An eco label that confirms that certain environmental criteria has been met.|
|BS 8555:2003- Environmental Management Systems|
|A British Standard designed specifically to assist SMEs develop an auditable environmental management system (EMS) using a phased approach. It allows for a formal EMS in line with EMAS to be developed over five levels. A sixth level develops management systems which are in line with the ISO 14001 International standard.|
|Click here to view BSi's sustainability related standards.|
|BS 8900:2006 Guidance for Managing Sustainable Development|
|A standard designed to help organisations manage their sustainable development and their impact on society and the environment.|
|BS 8901- Sustainability Management System for Events|
|A British Standard developed as a direct result of Britain winning the 2012 Olympic Games bid. Designed specifically for the events industry, BS 8901 helps identify an event's affects on environmental, social and economic aspects and puts measures in place to minimise negative impacts.|
|British Standard for Sustainable Procurement. This standard is still in a consultation stage at time of writing (March 2010) with a final standard expected to be published in July / August 2010. A draft version is available to view on the BSi website for public consultation. Registration is required with the BSi to view this document.|
A concept enabling the measurement of greenhouse gases. The Carbon Trust defines carbon footprint as follows:
A ‘carbon footprint’ measures the total greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organisation, event or product.
The footprint considers all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
A carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). The carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) allows the different greenhouse gases to be compared on a like-for-like basis relative to one unit of CO2. CO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of the six greenhouse gases by its 100 year global warming potential (GWP).
The two main types of carbon footprint are:
Emissions from all the activities across the organisation, including buildings’ energy use, industrial processes and company vehicles.
Emissions over the whole life of a product or service, from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing right through to its use and final reuse, recycling or disposal.
|The Carbon Trust Website|
|A concept. An activity, organisation, or product that reduces atmospheric carbon.|
|The description given to an organisation, event, or activity whose carbon emissions have been completely offset.|
|The concept of neutralising carbon emissions by investing in an activity or project that will reduce carbon emissions elsewhere by at least the same quantity.|
|Carbon Trust Standard|
An independently assessed accreditation offered by the Carbon Trust for organisations who measure, monitor and reduce emissions year on year.
|CCAs- Climate Change Agreements|
Climate change agreements relate to the Climate Change Levy (CCL) which was put in place to encourage users to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Change Agreements allow energy intensive business users to receive a discount from the CCL in return for meeting energy efficiency or carbon saving targets.
|CCL- Climate Change Levy|
|CDP- Carbon Dislosure Project|
|An independent not-for-profit organisation which holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. The data is obtained from responses to CDP’s annual Information Requests, issued on behalf of institutional investors, purchasing organisations and government bodies.|
|CEMARS- Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme|
|Carbon reduction measurement standard developed by Achilles and formally recognised by the Environment Agency as a measure under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.|
|Chlorofluorocarbon. CFCs are a group of chemicals that contain chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms. They have been banned from uses such as propellants in aerosol cans and refrigerants, due to their persistence in the atmosphere and high ozone depletion potential.|
|Compact Fluorescent Lamps- Energy saving light bulbs. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapour. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.|
|A Green House gas that contributes to climate change.
See also GHGs - Green House Gases
|CoC- Chain of Custody|
To prove that wood is sustainably sourced, an audit trail must exist from forest or plantation to retailer.
|Climate Change Act 2008|
|UK Act of parliament to set a target for the year 2050 for the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions.|
|CO2- Carbon Dioxide|
The most prevalent of the Green House Gases that contributes to climate change.
See also GHGs- Green House Gases.
Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme.
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is the UK's mandatory climate change and energy saving scheme, due to start in April 2010. It is central to the UK’s strategy for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. It has been designed to raise awareness in large organisations, especially at senior level, and encourage changes in behaviour and infrastructure. The schemes amended title serves to better reflect the CRC’s focus on increasing energy efficiency.
|CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility|
|Considers the interest of society by understanding the impact of corporate policies and actions on all key stakeholders.|
DC10plus founded from ten local authority networks and their partners –all finalists in the 2007 government Digital Challenge competition.
DC10plus aims to promote social inclusion through the use of technology. It is a collaborative network of local authorities and their partners dedicated to creating partnerships, sharing best practice and developing new initiatives
|Degree-day figures quantify how hot or cold the weather has been as a single index number for the region and month (or week). They allow you to account properly for the effect of weather on energy consumption.|
|EAM- Early Action Metric|
|One of the measures for the CRC league table which takes into account actions you have taken before CRC.|
|A mark that a product or organisation is entitled to bear, having demonstrated that certain environmental criteria have been met.|
|Bi-annual conference of ICLEI focussing on sustainability issues in public sector procurement.|
|EMAS- Eco Management & Audit Scheme|
|The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.|
|An ecolabel that certifies that energy using products meet certain standards for efficiency.|
|ETS UK- Emmissions Trading Scheme|
|The UK Emissions Trading Scheme ended in December 2006, with final reconciliation completed in March 2007. The UK ETS was the world's first economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme.|
|EU ETS- European Emmissions Trading Scheme|
|The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is a Europe wide scheme which aims to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and combat the serious threat of climate change. EU ETS puts a price on carbon that businesses use and creates a market for carbon. It has been in place since 2005 and is the first scheme of its kind in the world. Now in Phase II - The second phase of the Scheme covers the Kyoto commitment period 2008-2012.|
|Participants in CRC must keep an evidence containing records of their organisations energy use.|
|FCA- Full Cost Accounting|
|FCO- Foreign & Commonwealth Office|
|The FCO is responsible for promoting British interests overseas and our relations with other countries.|
|A fluorinated greenhouse gas. HFCs, PFCs, and sulphur hexafluoride are fluorinated greenhouse gases.|
|A government sustainable procurement measure. A framework of key behavioral and operational change programmes against which the progress of incorporating sustainable procurement can be measured. It is the first of a series of "building blocks" described in the "Procuring the Future" document designed to assist public bodies in embedding sustainable procurement practices into their organisation.|
|An ecolabel. The official EU ecolabel that certifies that products meet certain environmental standards.|
Used in the Carbon Reduction commitment (CRC). Participants have to monitor 100% of their energy use over the course of a full year, known as the footprint year.
For the introductory phase the footprint year will be April 2010 to March 2011.
|Forward Commitment Procurement (FCP)|
|Similar to Pre-Commercial Procurement, this is a process that enables organisations to procure solutions that may not as yet exist. Innovation is encouraged by creating the market conditions and demand for a service that stimulate and enable the supply chain to deliver goods or services at an agreed cost. This system is commonly used in the area of technology.|
|OGC Innovation Pages (including information on FCP)|
|Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Archive Pages|
|FSC- Forest Stewardship Council|
|An ecolabel that certifies the wood and products made from wood are legally and sustainably sourced.|
|GHGs- Green House Gases|
|These are gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the infra red thermal range and are a major contrubutor to climate change.|
|The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions.|
Accelerating the SME - economic engine: through transparent, simple and strategic procurement (HM Treasury, 2008).
Known as the “Glover Report” after the chair of the report panel. A report on how to reduce the barriers facing SMEs in respect of public sector procurement. It offers twelve recommendations under the four headings of Transparency, Simplicity, Strategic Procurement and Measurement, to reduce the barriers confronting SMEs.
|A compliance logo. The Green Dot is used on packaging to indicate that the producer of the packaging has contributed towards the costs of recovery or recycling. It does not indicate recycled content or recyclability. In some countries, it demonstrates compliance with legal requirements (this is not the case in the UK).|
|An American ecolabel that certifies that environmental criteria have been met by a variety of products.|
|A Concept. The name used when a product or service with poor or average environmental credentials is made to look environmentally superior through questionable labelling or marketing techniques.|
|GWP- Global Warming Potential|
|The potential for a one kilogram of gas to cause a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere over a defined period (usually 100 years), relative to carbon dioxide, which has been given an arbitrary score of 1.|
|Hydrochlorofluorocarbons. A group of chemicals that contain hydrogen, carbon, chlorine, and fluorine atoms. Their ozone depleting potential is far lower than CFCs, but HCFCs also possess a relatively high global warming potential.|
|Hydrofluorocarbons. A group of chemicals that contain hydrogen, carbon, and fluorine. HFCs are F gases, where there is a maximum of six carbon atoms per molecule (legal definition).|
|ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability|
An international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organisations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.
Founded in 1990 as the 'International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives', ICLEI now comprises 1098 cities, towns, counties, and their associations worldwide. ICLEI works with these and hundreds of other local governments through international performance-based, results-oriented campaigns and programs.
ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level.
International environmental management standard.
ISO14001 is an optional standard for an management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate and improve their environmental performance.
International sustainable events management standard in development
ISO 20121 derives from the British Standard for sustainable event management BS 8901. As at April 2010 it is at working draft stage.
|LED- Light Emitting Diode|
|A technology used for low energy display screens and lighting.|
|LEQ- Local Environmental Quality|
|This is measured under local government performance framework NI 195.|
|Marrakech Task Force|
|The Marrakech Process is a global process to support the elaboration of a 10-Year Framework of Programmes on sustainable consumption and production, as called for by the WSSD Johannesburg Plan of Action. To implement this, seven "Task Forces" have been formed, one of which aims to have sustainable public procurement strategies in place in 10% of countries in all regions by 2010.|
|View the Marraketch Task Force on Sustainable Public Procurement webpages here.|
|View or download the MTF brochure|
|View or download the MTF factsheet|
|Metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Unit of measurement for Green House Gases. One MtCO2e of a Green House Gas would have the same global warming potential over a specified timescale as one metric ton of CO2.|
|MTCS- Malaysian Tree Certification Scheme|
|An ecolabel that certifies the wood and products made from wood grown in Malaysia are legally sourced.|
|MWh- Mega Watt Hours|
|Measurement of electricity usage. A user of at least 6000 MWh of electricity per year will be included in phase 1 of the Carbon Reduction Commitment.|
|N2O- Nitrous Oxide|
|A greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.|
|National Indicators (NI)|
The National Indicator set which constitutes the indicators for the Local Area Agreements.
The national indicators are the measures on which central Government will performance manage outcomes delivered by local government working alone or in partnership. Not all indicators are reported on in LAAs, although reporting some indicators is mandatory.
|Non Governmental Organisation|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. This is a mandatory reporting indicator. One of the measurements taken as part of the local government performance framework. The aim of this indicator is to measure the progress of local authorities in reducing CO2 emissions from the relevant buildings and transport used to deliver their functions and to encourage them to demonstrate leadership on tackling climate change.|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. This is a broader measurement than NI185 that some authorities choose to report on. One of the measurements taken as part of the local government performance framework. The aim of this indicator is to measure the per capita CO2 emissions in the LA area.|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Designed to measure progresss in preparedness in assessing and addressing the risks and opportunities of a changing climate. The indicator has been developed in consultation with the GO, UKCIP, the Local Government Association, the Environment Agency and the Audit Commission.|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Measurement for residual domestic waste per household.|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Measurement for household waste reused, recycled and composted|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Measurement for municipal waste land filled|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Measurement for air quality – percentage reduction in NOx and primary PM10 emissions through local authority’s estate and operations.|
|DEFRA National Performance Indicator. Measurement of Local Biodiversity improvement– proportion of Local Sites where active conservation management is being achieved.|
|An ecolabel. A label that certifies that a product has met certain specified environmental criteria.|
|Oxides of Nitrogen. The various oxides of nitrogen are pollutants that arise from processes, such as burning fossil fuels. NOx collectively refers to Nitrogen Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide, Dinitrogen Trioxide, Dinitrogen Tetroxide, and Dinitrogen Pentoxide.|
|OCC- Office of Climate Change|
|Role : to support ministers to develop future UK strategy and policy on domestic and international climate change. Following the creation of the new Department of Energy and Climate Change in October 2008, the Office of Climate Change will continue to work as normal whilst plans for the new Department are developed.|
|ODP- Ozone Depletion Potential|
|The potential for a gas to deplete the ozone layer relative to trichlorofluoromethane, which has been given an arbitrary score of 1.|
|OGC- Office of Government Commerce|
|An independent office of HM Treasury, established to help Government deliver best value from its spending.|
|A Green House Gas that contributes to climate change.|
|Publicly available specification to specify requirements for assessing the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions|
|Publicly available specification outlining requirements for carbon neutrality, aiming to give greater consistency, transparency and credibility to carbon neutrality claims.|
|PEFC- Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification|
|An ecolabel that certifies the wood and products made from wood are legally and sustainably sourced.|
|Perfluorocarbons. Perfluorocarbons are chemicals that contain only carbon and fluorine atoms. PFCs are F gases, where there are a maximum of six carbon atoms per molecule (legal definition).|
|PM10 has become the generally accepted measure of atmospheric particulate material in the UK and in Europe. The PM10 (particles measuring 10µm or less) standard was designed to identify those particles likely to be inhaled by humans. The main sources of primary PM10 are road transport, stationary combustion (domestic coal combustion has traditionally been the major source of particulate emissions in the UK) and industrial processes.|
|PPLC- Public Procurement Leadership Collaboration|
|Former name of CDP Public Procurement|
|Procuring the Future|
Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan.
The UK Government's National Action Plan for Sustainable Procurement published in June 2006. It provides six recommendations, together with the Flexible Framework to achieve sustainable public sector procurement.
|Product Carbon Footprint|
|According to PAS 2050: "the term 'product carbon footprint' refers to the GHG emissions of a product across its life cycle, from raw materials through production (or service provision), distribution, consumer use and disposal/ recycling."|
|Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals. EU legislation requires chemical products to be registered under REACH. Chemicals are evaluated for safety (with regard to health and the environment) under REACH.|
|The RO is the main support scheme for renewable electricity projects in the UK. It places an obligation on UK suppliers of electricity to source an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources.|
|Social Accountability 8000. An auditable standard for a third party verification system, setting out the voluntary requirements to be met by employers in the workplace. Areas covered include workplace conditions, workers rights and management systems.|
|A company. Salix Finance provides interest free funding for energy efficiency projects to public sector organisations in the UK.|
|SCLC- Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration|
|Former name of CDP Supply Chain|
|SFI- Sustainable Forestry Initiative|
|An ecolabel that certifies the wood and products made from wood are legally and sustainably sourced.|
|SME- Small to Medium Sized Enterprise|
|Medium-sized enterprises <250 employees, turnover <€50m; small enterprises <50 employees, turnover €10m, micro enterprises <10 employees, turnover €2m|
|SOGE- Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate|
|A set of mandatory sustainability targets and requirements for all government departments and executive agencies.|
|Oxides of Sulphur. The various oxides of sulphur are pollutants that arise from processes, such as burning fossil fuels. SOx collectively refers to Sulphur Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphur Trioxide.|
|Sustainability / Sustainable Development|
Development which takes into account social, economic and environmental issues in balance, not one at the expense of another.
The commonest definition of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, arising out of the Brundtland Report of 1987, a WCED commissioned report.
|Food that is produced and sourced in a way which promotes a better environment and healthy and prosperous communities.|
|TBL- Triple Bottom Line|
|TCA- True Cost Accounting|
|Method for gathering and presenting data as it relates to the environmental, economic and social impact of public sector policy and practice. Also known as Full Cost Accounting.|
|UKCIP UK Climate Impact Programme|
|UKCIP is mainly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Other contributors include: Environmental Change Institute (Oxford University) and the Government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme.|
|UNFCCC- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change|
|An international treaty to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. The Kyoto protocol is an extension of this treaty.|
Most water is used in ways that are not immediately visible to us - e.g in the production of goods. The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
|WEED - World Economy, Ecology and Development|
|A German based organisation that aims to move the responsibility of the imbalanced international economy and global environmental issues away from developed nations and more towards the centre of the work of social movements and NGOs.|
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive January 2007.
Aims to both reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.
|WRAP- Waste Reduction Action Programme|
|Government funded not for profit organisation with the remit to assist organisations and individuals in the UK to reduce waste, develop sustainable products and promoting resource efficiency.|