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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of commonly used sustainability terms within the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability and The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.


Find below a list of terms used throughout The Ceres Roadmap and The Road to 2020.

ASSURANCE: A process whereby an independent third party assesses and provides feedback on the quality of a company’s sustainability disclosure and efforts. This includes the communication of the feedback to the public.

C-LEVEL EXECUTIVE: Members of a company’s executive leadership team including the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief technology officer and chief sustainability officer.

CLOSED-LOOP MANUFACTURING: An approach to manufacturing whereby industrial outputs, waste or products are reused in the same manufacturing process.

CLOUD COMPUTING: Technology for convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services). Demand for processing power is moved from an individual user’s computer into internet-based applications.

CRADLE-TO-CRADLE: A concept where industry models on nature’s processes and systems, and seeks to create business practices, products and processes that are efficient and essentially waste free.

ENTERPRISE RISK MANAGEMENT (ERM): A management framework for systematically identifying, assessing, responding to and monitoring risk company wide.

EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY: An approach to environmental policy that holds manufacturers and importers of products responsible for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product life-cycle, including upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from manufacturers’ production process itself, and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products.

LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS (LCA): An analytical process for identifying comprehensively the environmental footprint of a product. The process takes into account everything from the extraction of raw materials to the transportation, biodegradability and reusability of components and the finished product.

MATERIALITY ANALYSIS: The process of using stakeholders to identify and prioritize a company’s significant sustainability issues and impacts.

NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS: Defined in US SEC rules on executive compensation disclosure, NEOs include the CEO, the principal financial officer and the company’s three other most highly compensated executive officers.

OPEN SOURCE: A philosophy of methodology of making a product’s source materials – usually intellectual property – accessible to others.

PUBLIC POLICY ENGAGEMENT: Lobbying of legislators and regulators and financial aid to political campaigns, regarding issues directly, or the election campaigns of candidates for political office who hold particular positions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION: The generation of electricity from renewable sources without generating greenhouse gases. Renewable sources typically include solar, wind, wave, geothermal and run-of-the river hydro.

RIGHT-SIZING: Ensuring that the size and efficiency of a vehicle or transportation mode is appropriate for distance traveled and its purpose.

SCOPE 3 EMISSIONS: Within the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol, Scope 3 emissions are those produced other than by a company’s direct operations and energy purchases. They include, for example, employee travel, emissions embedded in products purchased or processed by the company, and emissions produced by transporting or disposing of the company’s products.

SMART GROWTH: Smart growth is an environmentally sensitive pattern of development that provides people with additional transit, housing, and employment choices by focusing future growth away from rural areas and closer to existing and planned job centers and public facilities.

STAKEHOLDER: Stakeholders include those people or groups within or outside the company who affect, or are affected by the company’s activities.

STAKEHOLDER MAPPING: The process of identifying all of a company’s key constituency groups and the way in which they are engaging with the company.

SUPPLY CHAIN: The system of organizations and people whose activities transform raw materials into a finished product or service, delivered to the end consumer.

SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: A framework for systematically managing and documenting a company’s sustainability activities and impacts.

TIER 1, 2, AND 3 SUPPLIERS: A categorization of a company’s suppliers based on the proximity of the supplier relationship. Tier 1 suppliers provide good and services directly. Tier 2 suppliers have a relationship with the company through provision of goods and services to Tier 1 suppliers. Tier 3 suppliers provide engineered materials and specialist services.

VALUE CHAIN: A chain of activities within a business unit, each step in the chain contributing value towards the finished product or service, and encompassing both upstream and downstream.

VERIFICATION: The process whereby corporate data and/or systems are checked for accuracy and completeness.

ZERO EMISSIONS: The use of facilities, buildings or equipment without the emission of any waste products that pollute the environment or contribute to climate change.