Sustainability Dictionary

Carbon Credit - When companies create carbon offsetting initiatives, they receive a transferable or tradeable carbon credit, or token. A credit represents the right to emit greenhouse gas and make up for it elsewhere. A credit represents one ton of carbon dioxide reduced or removed from the atmosphere. In practice, taking advantage of these credits lets owners reduce green house gas emissions to get closer to net zero. The term also refers to purchased credits that will fund emission-reducing projects. 

Carbon Footprint - A carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon dioxide and methane produced by individuals, organizations, products or practices. 

Carbon Inset - Carbon insetting is when a company invests in sustainable practices within their own supply chain. This can include reforestation, agroforestry, renewable energy, and regenerative agriculture. Carbon insetting is different from carbon offsets, which are when a company pays for projects to capture carbon dioxide elsewhere.

Carbon Offset - A carbon offset is an activity or purchase that is intended to compensate for carbon emissions produced by individuals and organizations. Carbon storage through tree planting or land restoration is a common example. Businesses that create carbon offset programs receive carbon tokens.

Carbon Registry - A carbon registry system is a platform that allows organizations to track, manage, and trade greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions). It tracks ownership, issuance, retirement, and transfer of carbon credits. Carbon registries are essential for companies and governments to measure, report, and verify emission reductions. They also ensure the integrity and credibility of the voluntary carbon market. Carbon registries are essential because they provide a way for companies and governments to measure, report, and verify emission reductions.

CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) - Allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.

CO2e - Carbon dioxide equivalent, standardization of the climate effects of various greenhouse gases to an equivalent amount of CO2. A measurement that includes all significant greenhouse gases emitted, including:

Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Nitrous oxide(N2O)
Methane (CH4)
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

Decarbonization - Reduction or elimination of carbon dioxide emissions from a process such as manufacturing or the production of energy.

ESG - Environmental, Social, and Governance - A framework used to assess an organization's business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues.

GHGs - Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, which trap and hold heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Much of human activity emits greenhouse gases, such as burning fossil fuels for energy and transport, farming land for food production, and deforestation.

GLEC (Global Logistics Emissions Council) - A voluntary coalition of over 150 organizations that work to reduce emissions and improve efficiency in global supply chains. The GLEC was established in 2014 and is led by Smart Freight Centre.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol - A globally recognized set of reporting and accounting frameworks for managing greenhouse gas emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions.

Greenwashing - Greenwashing is a form of marketing that uses false or misleading claims to convince consumers that a company's products are environmentally friendly. Greenwashing is a play on the term ‘whitewashing,’ which means using false information to intentionally hide wrongdoing, error or an unpleasant situation in an attempt to make it seem less bad than it is.

ISO 14083 - Focuses on the 'quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions arising from transport chain operations.’ It will look to give structure to the management of greenhouse emissions from your supply chain, otherwise known as scope 3 emissions. 

MRV - Measurement, Reporting, and Verification - Measurement, Reporting, and Verification of greenhouse gas (GHG)  describes the process of measuring (and monitoring) GHG emissions; compiling and reporting this information to a system, program or body; and then subjecting this reported data to a party review and verification process.

Net Zero - The result of lowering greenhouse gas emissions as close as possible to zero and balancing remaining emissions with removals.

RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) -  A market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource.

Scope 1, 2, and 3 - Developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, scopes give organizations a way to categorize their emissions. Organizations may find it easier to control scopes 1 and 2, but scope 3 emissions are the most difficult to track.

Scope 1 emissions - The direct emissions generated by an organization's operations. Running machinery, manufacturing products, driving vehicles, heating buildings and providing power to devices generate emissions.

Scope 2 emissions - The indirect emissions generated by an organization's energy purchase and usage. Investment in renewable energy sources may help lower these emissions.

Scope 3 emissions - The indirect emissions generated by an organization's customer and supplier activities.

Supply Chain - The multitude of companies involved in the entire process of creating a product or facilitating a service, for example manufacturers and providers of constituent ingredients used in a final product. Activities from a company's supply chain constitute its Scope 3 emissions.

Sustainability - Sustainability is a balance of society, economy and environment for long-term resilience. The ability to meet present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. In practice, sustainability aligns environmental protection, human well-being and economic development.

Tank to Wheel (TTW) - A method for calculating the energy consumed and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the point at which fuel is transferred to a vehicle to the moment it is discharged. TTW emissions are associated with burning the fuel to power a vehicle.

TTW efficiency is the ratio between energy output from the wheels and the energy content of the fuel in the tank. TTW efficiency is determined by the total amount of losses, which in a combustion engine comprise thermal losses, pump losses and mechanical losses.

Verified Carbon Standard - World’s most widely used greenhouse gas (GHG) crediting program. Individual projects and jurisdictional programs can be registered under the VCS Program.

VCU (Verified carbon units) - Carbon credits issued by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Each VCU represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been reduced or removed from the atmosphere. VCUs are issued to projects that have been certified as meeting the VCS Program rules.

Well to Tank (WTT) - The energy required to extract, produce, and transport a fuel from its original source to a storage tank at a fueling station. This includes all the energy used in the extraction, processing, and transportation of the raw materials. 

Well-to-tank emissions are all greenhouse gas emissions from the production, transportation, transformation, and distribution of the fuel used to power a vehicle. Well-to-tank emissions exclude emissions from the manufacture of the vehicle.