ESG and sustainability glossary

1.5 Degrees Celsius 

The concept of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels refers to an ambitious target outlined in the Paris Agreement, an international treaty aimed at addressing climate change. This target reflects the recognition that a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius would significantly reduce the severity of climate impacts, such as more frequent and severe heatwaves, extreme weather events, sea level rise, and ecosystem disruptions.

2 Degrees Celsius

The goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is another key target set by the Paris Agreement. This threshold represents a critical threshold to avoid some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change. While a 2-degree rise still poses substantial challenges, it is considered a safer limit compared to higher temperature increases.


Avoided Emissions (or Scope 4 emissions)

Scope 4 emissions are the emissions that have been avoided as a result of the adoption of more efficient products (goods and services) that replace less efficient alternatives. For instance, a cloud data storage provider can potentially reduce emissions by transitioning customers from on-premises data storage solutions to cloud-based alternatives.



Biodiversity encompasses the variety of life forms, species, and ecosystems present within a specific region or globally, highlighting the intricate interdependence of organisms and the critical role of ecosystems in maintaining ecological balance.

Biodiversity Footprint

The biodiversity footprint quantifies the ecological impact of human activities on biodiversity, reflecting the extent of species loss, habitat degradation, and ecosystem disruption linked to various human actions.


Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, and plays a central role in climate change.

Carbon Footprint

The carbon footprint represents the cumulative amount of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and other gasses, generated directly and indirectly by the operations, processes, and activities of an entity, reflecting its environmental impact.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutral, often referred to as "climate neutral," describes a state in which an entity, such as a company, individual, or event, takes measures to balance the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces with an equivalent amount of emissions removal or reduction.

Circular Economy

A circular economy is an economic model that prioritizes reducing, reusing, recycling, and repurposing materials to minimize waste, conserve resources, and reduce environmental impact.

CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive)

The CSRD, a proposed EU directive, seeks to advance sustainability reporting standards for businesses, facilitating more comprehensive and consistent disclosure of ESG information.



Decarbonization is the process of reducing carbon emissions, often through transitioning to cleaner energy sources and implementing technology and practices that minimize carbon production.

Direct emissions

Direct emissions, also known as Scope 1 emissions, refer to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) directly into the atmosphere from sources that are owned, controlled, or managed by an entity. These emissions originate from activities within the boundaries of an organization's operations, such as on-site fuel combustion, industrial processes, and transportation owned by the company.

Double Materiality 

Double materiality is a concept in sustainability reporting that acknowledges two dimensions of materiality: financial materiality and impact materiality. Financial materiality pertains to the significance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors on a company's financial performance, while impact materiality relates to the influence of the company's operations on the broader economy, society, and environment. 

Downstream Emissions

Downstream emissions encompass greenhouse gas emissions arising from the use, disposal, or end-of-life treatment of products by consumers or other entities, underlining the broader impact beyond the initial production phase.


ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)

ESG factors encompass a range of environmental, social, and governance criteria that companies consider to assess their overall sustainability performance, guiding investors and stakeholders in evaluating an organization's impact on the environment, its societal responsibilities, and its operational practices.

Ethical Sourcing

Ethical sourcing involves procuring goods and services in a manner that considers both social and environmental impacts, ensuring that products are produced responsibly and sustainably.


Financed Emissions

Financed emissions refer to the carbon emissions associated with investments made by financial institutions or entities, reflecting the environmental consequences of the allocation of funds.


Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

GHG emissions refer to the release of various gasses, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gasses, into the atmosphere as a result of human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, deforestation, and agriculture. These gasses accumulate in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect, trapping heat from the sun and causing global warming and climate change.

GHG Protocol (Greenhouse Gas Protocol)

GHG Protocol serves as a widely adopted standard for quantifying and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, enabling consistency and comparability in emissions accounting.

Global Warming

Global warming refers to the long-term increase in Earth's average surface temperature due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, causing climate changes and associated impacts.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases are atmospheric components, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, that trap heat from the sun and contribute to the greenhouse effect, leading to global warming.

GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)

The GRI develops sustainability reporting standards and guidelines, aiding businesses in transparently disclosing their economic, environmental, and social impacts and practices.


Indirect Emissions

Indirect emissions, also known as Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions, encompass the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that result from activities outside of an entity's direct control.


Low Carbon Economy

A low carbon economy emphasizes reduced carbon emissions, often achieved through clean energy sources, energy efficiency, and sustainable practices, contributing to environmental protection and economic growth.


Materiality Assessments 

Materiality assessments involve the systematic evaluation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues to determine their significance to a company and its stakeholders. By understanding which issues are material, companies can prioritize their efforts, allocate resources effectively, and provide transparent disclosure of ESG matters to stakeholders, aligning their sustainability strategies with key concerns.


Net Zero

Net zero implies achieving equilibrium between the total greenhouse gas emissions produced and the emissions removed from the atmosphere, thereby preventing further contribution to global warming.


Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international accord aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, fostering global cooperation to address climate change.

PCAF (The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials) 

PCAF is a collaborative initiative among financial institutions, including banks, investors, and asset managers, aimed at developing a standardized methodology to measure and disclose the carbon emissions associated with their lending and investment portfolios.


Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy sources, also known as clean or green energy sources, are natural resources that can be replenished naturally and sustainably over time. These sources, such as sunlight, wind, water (hydropower), geothermal heat, and biomass, provide a consistent and environmentally friendly supply of energy that contrasts with finite fossil fuels.

Responsible Investment

Responsible investment involves making financial decisions that consider ESG factors, aligning investments with sustainability goals while aiming for both financial returns and positive impact.


Science-Based Targets

Science-based targets are emissions reduction goals aligned with scientific findings on climate change, aiming to limit global temperature rise and contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Scope 1 Emissions

Scope 1 emissions pertain to the direct greenhouse gas emissions originating from sources owned, controlled, or managed by a company, such as emissions from on-site fuel combustion and industrial processes.

Scope 2 Emissions

Scope 2 emissions encompass the indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the generation of purchased energy that a company consumes, such as electricity and heat acquired from external providers.

Scope 3 Emissions

Scope 3 emissions encompass the broadest range of indirect greenhouse gas emissions, including those originating from a company's value chain, encompassing supplier activities, product use, transportation, waste generation, and other interconnected processes.

SFDR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation)

The SFDR, a European regulation, mandates financial institutions and companies to disclose ESG-related information, enhancing transparency and ensuring better-informed investment decisions.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals, established by the United Nations, constitute a set of global objectives designed to address diverse societal, economic, and environmental challenges, guiding efforts toward a more equitable and sustainable world.


Sustainability encapsulates the principle of meeting the present needs of society while ensuring the protection of natural resources and the well-being of future generations; it involves balancing ecological, social, and economic considerations to create lasting positive impacts and mitigate negative ones over time.

SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is an independent nonprofit organization that develops and disseminates industry-specific sustainability accounting standards for companies to use in disclosing financially material, industry-specific environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information to investors. 


TCFD offers recommendations for organizations to disclose financial risks and opportunities associated with climate change, enhancing transparency and preparedness for potential impacts.


United Nations Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary initiative that encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, aligning their operations with ten universally accepted principles in areas such as human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UNSDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 interconnected global objectives established by the United Nations in 2015 to address a wide range of pressing societal, economic, and environmental challenges. These goals aim to create a more sustainable future by 2030. They cover a broad spectrum of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, affordable energy, decent work, climate action, and more.

Upstream Emissions

Upstream emissions represent greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the processes and activities of suppliers and partners within a company's value chain, emphasizing the environmental impact related to the sourcing and production of materials and components.

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