SIGN IN

ESG Terms

 

Terms

Definition

B-Corp

A Certified B Corporation, or B Corp, is a profit company that voluntarily meets the social and environmental standards set out by B Lab. These commitments are reassessed every 3 years.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to the measure of natural variation from genetics to entire ecosystems, encompassing all of the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain and affect life on Earth.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy is a form of renewable energy derived from organic matter known as biomass. This can include anything from plants and timber to food waste and sewage.

Biofuels

Biofuels are liquid fuels which are converted from biomass such as sugar, starch and oilseed crops and animal fats. The most commonly used biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel which are first generation biofuels.

Biogas

Biogas is produced from the decomposition of organic matter such as food or animal waste in the absence of oxygen through a process called anaerobic digestion. This can occur naturally or as part of an intentional industrial process.

Biomimicry

Biomimicry is the emulation of natural processes or structures to address specific human challenges. For example, termite mounds inspired archectural design of passive cooling structures or the hooks on some plant seeds inspired the creation of Velcro.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes and then storing it deep underground where it is injected into geological formations for permanent storage. The CO2 is separated from other gases emitted in the industrial processes, compressed and transported via boat, truck, or pipeline to the storage site.

Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gases generated by all of an individual's or other entity's actions expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.

Carbon Offsetting

Compensation for emissions by paying others for their reduction in emissions or increase in carbon storage (such as through land restoration, planting trees, or protection of a specific ecosystem). This is managed through offset credits which convey the net benefit from one entity to another.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

CDP

The Climate Disclosure Project. The CDP is a non-for-profit charity that provides a global disclosure system for investors and companies up to states and regions which allows them to manage their environmental impact.

Circular economy

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that aims to keep waste to a minimum and extend the life cycle of everyday products through sharing, repairing, recycling and refurbishing materials and products for as long as possible.

Climate Action

This refers to the range of activities, mechanisms and policy instruments that aim to reduce the severity of human induced climate change and its impacts.

Climate change

The long-term change of temperature and weather patterns which could refer to a specific location or the planet as a whole. It often is used to refer to the recent rise in global temperatures as a result of human activity.

Climate Positive / Carbon Negative

Climate Positive and Carbon Negative share the same meaning: absorbing atmospheric CO2 emissions while reducing the impact of any new emissions as much as possible (net zero carbon emissions). Therefore, being Climate Positive requires an organisation to introduce new measures to balance out or reduce existing emissions such as carbon offsetting.

Consumption

The rate of using up a particular resource or material.

CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR refers to the policies or actions undertaken by corporations which are specifically intended to produce social benefits for the global community.

CSRD

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. An EU regulation that requires all large companies with operations in the bloc to disclose specific non-financial information relating to environmental and social impacts.

DEI

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, also known as DE&I is the effort that an organisation makes to support and welcome those from less-privileged or historically underrepresented backgrounds.

Double materiality

Double materiality is the concept of expanding accounting standards to include both climate-related impacts on an organisation and the impact of the organisation on the climate.

Downstream

The final stage in the production and sale of goods which is generally the consumer facing part of a company, although it can also be B2B sales. For example, for oil companies the downstream operations would include petrol stations or other retail outlets.

Due Diligence

Appraisal process usually undertaken by the buyer during the deal process to establish or verify a company's ESG commitments in real terms. This process helps to mitigate risk exposure and tends to measure long-term climate-resilience, any potential human rights abuses and environmental impacts among others.

Dynamic materiality

The concept that the financial materiality of an issue may shift based on expected or unforeseen circumstances. This was popularised by the World Economic Forum's white paper on the matter in 2020 regarding the impact of the pandemic.

E-fuels

A sustainable fuel alternative to fossil fuels that is made using renewable energy, water and CO2 from the air. As they release no additional CO2, they are climate neutral and can also be used in all modern ICEs.

Electricity

In line with the GHG Protocol, electricity is used to represent all emissions from electricity, steam and heating/cooling processes or purchases.

ESG

Environment, Social and Governance. These are the 3 key factors used when evaluating an organisation's sustainability performance. ESG gives investors and other stakeholders a holistic view of the organisation's performance, not just their environmental footprint.

ESG Integration

The incorporation of ESG data and performance into investment decisions in order to minimise exposure to climate and social risks.

ESG or Non-financial Reporting

The disclosure of information relating to non-financial performance of a company, usually in line with a specific framework or set of standards. (e.g. GRI, SASB)

EU Taxonomy

A classification system set out by the European Union that establishes a list of environmentally sustainable activities as well as criteria for sustainability at an organisation level. Its goal is to increase sustainable investment activity in Europe and to help implement the European Green Deal.

Feedstocks

The renewable, biological materials used in an industrial process or as a fuel source. For example, feedstocks for biodiesel would be animal fats, vegetable oils or algae.

Fugitives

Accidental emissions not caught by a capture system, often caused by equipment leaks, evaporation or windblown disturbances during industrial activity or other emissions intensive processes.

GHG Protocol

A comprehensive global standardized framework to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions.

Green Bonds

A type of debt issued by a private or public organisation to fund a project with specific commitments to climate- or environment-related KPIs.

Green Tariff

A program used in consumer markets in which suppliers will match a certain amount of the energy a customer purchases with the amount they buy from renewable sources. The aim is that as more customers opt for the Green Tariff, there will be more renewable electricity available in national power networks.

Greenhouse gases

Gases that contribute directly to the greenhouse effect by trapping infrared radiation in the atmosphere.

Greenwashing

The process of creating a false image or misleading impression of a company's sustainability beyond its real commitments.

GRI

Global Reporting Initiative. A non-for-profit organisation which provides a standardised reporting framework to help companies and other organisations be transparent about their sustainability.

Human rights

Universal rights that are inherent to every person reagardless of nationality, race, religion or any other status and which allow for a minimum acceptable quality of life.

Impact Investing

Investments made with the intention to create positive environmental and social impacts alongside the financial return.

Low-carbon energy

Energy that is generated using sources that emit little carbon into the atmosphere such as wind, solar or nuclear energy.

Materiality Assessment

The process of identifying the potential ESG risks and opportunities facing an organisation and its stakeholders. It is often the first step that a company will need to take towards improving their sustainability.

Metric tons of CO2

The volume of excess CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by a given process, often energy generation or industry, measured in tons (1000kg).

Metric tons of CO2-equivalent

The number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential as one metric ton of another greenhouse gas.

Midstream

The intermediate stage in the production and sale of goods which tends to include the processing, storage and transport of the product.

Mitigation

The process of reducing the severity of the outcome of a given situation. For example, the mitigation of climate change by investing in green projects.

Modern Slavery

The trafficking or exploitation in any capacity of an individual through the use of force, coercion, or otherwise against their will. A more detailled explanation can be found in the Modern Slavery Act.

Natural capital

The World's stocks of all organic life and other natural assets such as soil, air, geology, and water.

Nature positive

Describes processes or investments that help to restore and regenerate nature rather than damaging it.

Net-Zero

A trending term that refers to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by an organisation, region or country through either the reduction of direct emissions or by balancing emissions with the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Paris Climate Agreement

A legally binding international treaty that guides all nations towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions which is reviewed every 5 years, and also provides financing for developing economies to promote sustainable growth and resilience to climate related risks.

Planetary Boundaries

A concept that sets out nine boundaries within which humanity will be able to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.

QHSE

Quality, Health, Safety and Environment.

Qualitative scenarios

Verbal and/or visual communication as a means of reporting data; often used for describing KPIs or areas of business where quantitive data may not be available or applicable. They are usually in the form of diagrams, phrases or outlines.

Quantitative scenarios

These use numerical data to report on the status or progress of KPIs. These usually take the form of modelss or simulations which use assumptions in the form of model equations and inputs or coefficients.

Renewable energy

Energy that comes from natural sources that will not be depleted when it is used, such as wind, wave or solar power.

Reporting Frameworks

A standardised set of guidelines that outlines a system for an organisation to disclose non-financial information but does not have specific metrics or data requirements.

SASB

Sustainable Accounting Standards Board.

Science-Based Target

Targets that provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with what climate science considers necessary to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

Scope Emissions

As part of the GHG Protocol, harmful emissions are broken down into 3 groups called scopes:

Scope 1: all direct emissions from the organisation's activities or operations such as on-site fuel combustion or the use of fleet vehicles among others

Scope 2: emissions caused indirectly by an organisation or its operations such as electricity purchased for use in its facilities

Scope 3 : all emissions that do not fall under scopes 1 & 2 but that the organisation is still indirectly responsible for, such as corporate travel using a public or private transport methods

Sustainability

Meeting our own environmental and social needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. This applies largely to natural resources but economic and social resources are equally important.

Sustainability Risk Management

A strategy that aligns an organisation's financial goals with its environmental policies. Ultimately the goal is for the company to promote growth while also protecting the environment.

Sustainable Bonds

Loans used to finance projects that have a clear environmental and/or socioeconomic benefit.

Sustainable Development Goals

A list of 17 objectives laid out by the UN in 2015 aiming to "end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity."

Sustainable Finance

Sustainable finance refers to the process of taking environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into account when making investment decisions in the financial sector, leading to more long-term investments in sustainable economic activities and projects.

TCFD

Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The TCFD was created by the Financial Stability Board "to develop consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies, banks, and investors in providing information to stakeholders."

TNFD

Task force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures. The TNFD was created on June 4th 2022 and has been endorsed by G7 Finance Ministers. It aims to provide a framework to allow organisations to report on and address environmental risks and opportunities and increase investment into nature positive projects.

Upstream

The earliest stage in the production and sale of goods which includes exploration, drilling and extraction.

Value Chain

The full range of activities and operations that lead to the value creating activity, such as the sale of a product or a service.




CDP

Carbon Disclosure Project

CSR

Corporate Social Responsability

CSRD

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

FASB

Financial Accounting Standards Board

G20

Group of 20

GHG

Greenhouse Gases

GRI

Global Reporting Initiative

IEA

International Energy Agency

ISSB

International Sustainability Standards Board

OECD

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

SASB

Sustainable Accounting Standards Board

SFRD

Sustainable Finance Reporting Directive