Common Sustainability Acronyms, Abbreviations & Definitions

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

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APA

Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement - The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) was established by the same decision to prepare for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and for the convening of the first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA).

For more information, visit: https://unfccc.int/process/bodies/subsidiary-bodies/apa
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AFi

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Accountability Framework initiative - To support the effective implementation of supply chain commitments, the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) is developing a common set of norms and guidelines for companies and others working to address deforestation, ecosystem conversion, and human rights violations. These norms are being developed by a coalition of respected conservation and human rights NGOs from around the world, in close consultation with the private sector, to establish a harmonized global reference that is applicable across commodities and regions.

For more information, visit: https://accountability-framework.org/
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AFV

Alternative Fuel Vehicle - AFVs refer to a vehicle running on a fuel other than traditional gasoline or diesel, such as electric, ethanol, hybrid, natural gas.

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ASSHE

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The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - AASHE is the leading association for the advancement of sustainability in higher education, and they serve a full range of higher education faculty, administrators, staff and students who are change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation.

For more information, visit: www.aashe.org/
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ASHRAE

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American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers - ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. ASHRAE was formed as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers by the merger in 1959 of American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904. In 2012, as part of a rebranding, ASHRAE began doing business as “ASHRAE” vs. using its full legal name of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Use of ASHRAE reflects the Society’s worldwide membership and that services will continue evolving globally.

For more information, visit: www.ashrae.org
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BAT

Best Available Technique - BAT refers to the available techniques which are the best for preventing or minimizing emissions and impacts on the environment. BAT include both the technology used, and the way your installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned.

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BNEF

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Bloomberg New Energy Finance - Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) acquires the world’s most sophisticated data sets to create clear perspectives and in-depth forecasts that frame the financial, economic and policy implications of industry-transforming trends and technologies.

For more information, visit: https://about.bnef.com/
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Btu

British Thermal Unit - A Btu is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit under stated conditions of pressure and temperature (equal to 252 calories, 778 foot-pounds, 1,005 joules and 0.293 watthours). It is the U.S. customary unit of measuring the quality of heat, such as the heat content of fuel.

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CAA

Clean Air Act - The CCA is the federal law designed to control air pollution on a national level in the US, in which all emitting entities must comply to.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-air-act
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CCGT

Combined Cycle Gas Turbine - CCGT is the modern gas powered electricity generating technology.

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CCS

Carbon capture and storage - As defined by the International Energy Agency, CCS is a family of technologies and techniques that enable the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes, the transport of CO2 via ships or pipelines, and its storage underground, in depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline formations.

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CCUS

Carbon capture, utilization and storage - CCUS is the family of technologies and techniques in which carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured and utilized/used. Examples of direct utilization include CO2 use in the food and drink industry and for enhanced oil recovery. CO2 can also be converted into chemicals or fuels. If CO2 is stored but not utilized, then the process should be classified as CCS.

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CCX

Chicago Climate Exchange - The CCX was launched in 2003 as a voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and trading system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil. The CCX used independent verification, included six greenhouse gases, and traded greenhouse gas emission allowances. The companies joining the exchange committed to reducing their aggregate emissions to achieve an overall target of 6% below 1998-2001 levels by 2010. CCX had an aggregate baseline of 680 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. CCX ceased trading carbon credits at the end of 2010 due to inactivity in the U.S. carbon markets, although carbon exchanges were intended to still be facilitated.

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CDM

Clean Development Mechanism - The CDM is a mechanism established by Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol for project-based emission reduction (CDM) activities in developing countries. The CDM is designed to meet two main objectives: to address the sustainability needs of the host country and to increase the opportunities available to Annex 1 Parties to meet their GHG reduction commitments. The CDM allows for the creation, acquisition and transfer of CERs from climate change mitigation projects undertaken in non-Annex 1 countries.

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CDP

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Carbon Disclosure Project, formerly - CDP is a not-for-profit that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts, and drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests.

For more information, visit: www.cdp.net
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CDP-ACS

CDP’s Activity Classification System - In order to allocate sector-specific questions to companies, CDP has developed an Activity Classification System (CDP-ACS). This is a framework used to categorize companies by the most relevant sectors. CDP-ACS focuses on the diverse activities from which companies derive revenue and associates these with the impacts to their business from climate change, deforestation, and water security.

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CDSB

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Climate Disclosure Standards Board - CDSB is an international consortium of business and environmental NGOs, committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural capital with financial capital.

For more information, visit: www.cdsb.net
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CEM

Continuous Emission Monitoring - CEM is the total equipment necessary for the determination of a gas or particulate matter concentration or emission rate using pollutant analyzer measurements and a conversion equation, graph, or computer program to produce results in units of the applicable emission limitation or standard.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/emc/emc-continuous-emission-monitoring-systems
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CER

Certified Emission Reductions - A CER is a unit of emission reduction generated by a Clean Development Mechanism CDM project. CERs are tradable commodities that can be used by Annex 1 countries to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

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CFCs

Chlorofluorocarbons - CFCs are a group of compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine, which are the typical gases used in cleaning solvents, refrigerants, and aerosol propellants. CFCs harm the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere.

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CHP

Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as Cogeneration - A CHP is a facility producing both electricity and steam/heat using the same fuel supply.

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CNG

Compressed Natural Gas - In other words: methane stored at a high pressure. CNG is a type of fuel that replaces gasoline, diesel fuel and propane. Supporters of CNG argue that CNG is safer than other fuels in the event of a spill as natural gas is lighter than air and disperses quickly when released.

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COP22

22nd Conference of the Parties - The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) met for the first time in conjunction with COP 22 in Marrakesh (in November 2016) and adopted its first two decisions.

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COP21

21st Conference of the Parties - The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements. COP21 refers to the 21st annual Conference of the Parties held in Paris, France, from December 1 to 12, 2015. Also known as the CMP11 referring to the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol during the eleventh session of COP20. At COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For more information, visit: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement
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COP20

20th Conference of the Parties - The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements. COP20 refers to the 20th annual Conference of the Parties held in Lima, Peru, from December 1 to 12, 2014. Also known as the CMP10 referring to the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol during the tenth session of COP20.

For more information, visit: https://unfccc.int/process/bodies/supreme-bodies/conference-of-the-parties-cop
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CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR is the concept that private businesses adopt to improve their sustainability related to the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.
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CWA

Clean Water Act - The CWA is the US environmental law that regulates pollutant discharges into the US waterways. The CWA also gave the EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. Therefore, all entities that discharge water and wastewater are required to comply to the CWA.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act
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DEFRA

UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy.

For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs
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DJSI

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Dow Jones Sustainability Indices - The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices were launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks. The indices are offered cooperatively by RobecoSAM and S&P Dow Jones Indices. The family tracks the stock performance of the world's leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria. The indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices.

For more information, visit: www.sustainability-indices.com/
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DOE

U.S. Department of Energy - The DOE is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government and has the authority to deal with United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material.

For more information, visit: www.energy.gov/
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DSM

Demand Side Management - DSM programs influence the amount or timing of customers’ energy use in order to optimize available and planned generation resources. May also be a component of water conservation programs.

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EC-DGE

European Commission Directorate-General for Environment - The EC-DGE is the department responsible for EU policy on the environment. It aims to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations, proposing and implementing policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection and preserve the quality of life of EU citizens. It also makes sure that Member States apply EU environmental law correctly and represents the European Union in environmental matters at international meetings.

For more information, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/environment/index_en.htm
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EEI

Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) Survey - Conducted by Johnson Controls, the EEI Survey tracks current and planned investments, key drivers, and organizational barriers to improving energy efficiency in facilities.

For more information, visit: www.johnsoncontrols.com/insights/2018/buildings/features/energy-efficiency-indicator-survey
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EERE

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy - The purpose of EERE is to create and sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy. Its vision is a strong and prosperous America powered by clean, affordable, and secure energy.

For more information, visit: www.energy.gov/eere/about-office-energy-efficiency-and-renewable-energy
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EIA

Energy Information Administration - EIA is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. EIA programs cover data on coal, petroleum, natural gas, electric, renewable and nuclear energy.

For more information, visit: www.eia.gov/
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EPA

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - The EPA is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government whose mission is to protect human health and the environment.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/
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EPBB

Expected Performance-Based Buy-Down - An EPBB is a type of up-front incentive based on an estimate of your solar system’s expected performance. The performance estimate is based on system size, geographic location, and orientation at time of application. The EPBB incentive is offered only to systems smaller than 30 kW AC in California, under the California Solar Initiative.

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EPER

European Pollutant Emission Register - EPER is a web-based register, which enables the public to view data on emissions to water and air of 50 key pollutants from large and medium-sized industrial point sources in the European Union.

For more information, visit: www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/eper-the-european-pollutant-emission-register-4
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E-PRTR

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register - E-PRTR is a Europe-wide register that provides easily accessible key environmental data from industrial facilities in European Union Member States and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland. It replaced and improved upon the previous European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER).

For more information, visit: https://prtr.eea.europa.eu/
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ERU

Emission Reduction Unit - The ERU is a unit of emission reduction generated by a Joint Implementation (JI) project. ERUs are tradable commodities which can be used by Annex 1 countries to help them meet their commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

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ESG

Environmental, Social, and Governance Criteria - ESG has a set of standards for a company's operations that socially conscious investors use when reviewing potential investments. These standards consider the sustainable and ethical impact of decision-making within a company's operations.

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EU ETS

European Union Emissions Trading System - The EU ETS is the cornerstone of the EU's strategy for fighting climate change. It is the first international trading system for CO2 emissions in the world and has been in operation since 2005.

For more information, visit: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets_en
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EUI

Energy Use Intensity - EUI is a unit of measurement that describes a building's energy use. EUI represents the energy consumed by a building relative to its size.

For more information, visit: www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=buildingcontest.eui
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EV

Electric Vehicle - EVs use capable battery-electric motors, which is a clean technology that is cleaner and cheaper than oil. EVs produce less CO2 emissions than the regular passenger vehicle.

For more information, visit: www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles
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EPR

Extended Producer Responsibility - EPR is policy tool designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with goods throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products. EPR gives producers a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.

For more information, visit: www.oecd.org/env/tools-evaluation/extendedproducerresponsibility.htm
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FASB

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Financial Accounting Standards Board - FASB is an independent, private-sector, not-for-profit organization that establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

For more information, visit: www.fasb.org/
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FERC

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - FERC regulates the price, terms and conditions of power sold in interstate commerce and regulates the price, terms and conditions of all transmission services. FERC is the federal counterpart to state utility regulatory commissions.

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FSB

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Financial Stability Board - The FSB was established in April 2009, as the successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), with a broadened mandate to promote financial stability. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. The FSB promotes international financial stability by coordinating national financial authorities and international standard-setting bodies as they work toward developing strong regulatory, supervisory and other financial sector policies. It fosters a level playing field by encouraging coherent implementation of these policies across sectors and jurisdictions. In December 2015, the FSB launched the industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The Task Force will develop a set of recommendations for consistent, comparable, reliable, clear and efficient climate-related disclosures by companies, as requested in the FSB’s proposal. This phase 1 report published by the TCFD on 1 April 2016 sets out recommendations on the scope and principles to be applied to the final recommendations and provides a review of the landscape of existing climate-related disclosures.

For more information, visit: www.fsb.org/
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GAAP

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles - GAAP is a set of rules that encompass the details, complexities, and legalities of business and corporate accounting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) uses GAAP as the foundation for its comprehensive set of approved accounting methods and practices.

For more information, visit: www.accounting.com/resources/gaap/
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GDP

Gross Domestic Product - DGP is the monetary measure of a country's market value of all goods and services produced in a period of time. GDP is important to consider in sustainability because GDP serves as a measure of success and development in a country. There tends to be a trend where the more advanced of a country you are, the more you are invested in sustainability.

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GHG

Greenhouse Gas - GHG is any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include, but are not limited to, water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/climatechange/glossary.html
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GMO

Genetically Modified Organism - A GMO is an organism (animal or plant species) in which the genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. This is very common to combat climate change impacts in agriculture and farming. This is relevant to sustainability because many agriculture companies rely on GMOs and research to sustain their company as the climate changes.

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GRESB

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Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark - Investors use GRESB data and tools to manage ESG risks, so they can capitalize on opportunities and continuously invest with investment managers. GRESB also validates, scores, and benchmarks ESG performance data to help businesses assess if they are achieving ESG goals. For GRESB to have data from businesses, businesses complete GRESB assessments on ESG performance of their assets and portfolios.

For more information, visit: https://gresb.com/
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GRI

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Global Reporting Initiative - GRI is an international independent organization that has pioneered corporate sustainability reporting since 1997. GRI helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others.

For more information, visit: www.globalreporting.org/
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GSSB

Global Sustainability Standards Board - Established as an independent operating entity under the auspices of GRI, the GSSB is formed of members with a broad range of expertise and experience, and who have the sole responsibility of setting globally accepted standards for sustainability reporting. The GSSB works in the public interest and according to the vision and mission of GRI.

For more information, visit: www.globalreporting.org/information/about-gri/governance-bodies/Global-Sustainability-Standard-Board/
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GWP

Global Warming Potential - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) defines the GWP as “an index, based on radiative properties of greenhouse gases, measuring the radiative forcing following a pulse emission of a unit mass of a given greenhouse gas in the present day atmosphere integrated over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of carbon dioxide. The GWP represents the combined effect of the differing times these gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in causing radiative forcing. The Kyoto Protocol is based on GWPs from pulse emissions over a 100-year time frame.” By using GWPs, GHG emissions from multiple gases can be standardized to a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

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HCFCs

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons - HCFCs are a group of compounds and gases that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere. Fluorinated gases are growing worldwide as developing nations seek relief from high heat and humidity.

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HV

Heating Value - HV is the amount of energy released when a fuel is burned completely. Care must be taken not to confuse higher heating values (HHVs), used in the US and Canada, and lower heating values, used in all other countries. Lower heating value (LHV) and Higher heating value (HHV), also known as net calorific value (NCV) and gross calorific value (GCV) respectively, are different measures of heat energy released from fuel combustion. Figures measured in HHV are larger because HHV includes the latent heat of water vaporization from combustion, whereas LHV does not. The difference between LHV and HHV is related to the fuel’s hydrogen content.

For further details, refer to the calculation tool for stationary combustion available at www.ghgprotocol.org
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IASB

International Accounting Standards Board - The IASB is an independent group of experts with an appropriate mix of recent practical experience in setting accounting standards, in preparing, auditing, or using financial reports, and in accounting education. The IFRS Foundation Constitution outlines the full criteria for the composition of the Board. The IFRS Foundation is a not-for-profit international organization responsible for developing a single set of high-quality, global accounting standards, known as IFRS Standards. IFRS Standards are now required in over 140 jurisdictions, with many others permitting their use.

For more information, visit: www.ifrs.org/groups/international-accounting-standards-board/
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ICP

Internal Carbon Pricing - ICP is a multifaceted tool that can support companies in assessing climate-related risks and opportunities in the transition to a low-carbon economy. As countries move to implement measures that contribute to achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, the business impact of this low carbon transition will become more profound. ICP allows companies to identify and act on the risks and opportunities that accompany this transition, as also recommended by the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (FSBTCFD). ICP gives risks and opportunities a monetary value, consolidating them into a uniform metric such as carbon costs or benefits. This enables financial decision makers such Chief Financial Officers to make the low-carbon transition an integral part of rational, economic decision making.

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IEA 2DS

International Energy Agency's 2°C Scenario - The IEA's 2°C Scenario (2DS) is the focus of Energy Technology Perspectives and its related publications. The 2DS describes an energy system consistent with an emissions trajectory that recent climate science research indicates would give an 80% chance of limiting average global temperature increase to 2°C. It sets the target of cutting energy-related CO2 emissions by more than half in 2050 (compared with 2009) and ensuring that they continue to fall thereafter. Importantly, the 2DS acknowledges that transforming the energy sector is vital, but not the sole solution: the goal can only be achieved provided that CO2 and other GHG emissions in non-energy sectors are also reduced. The 2DS is broadly consistent with the World Energy Outlook 450 Scenario.

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IEA 450

International Energy Agency's 450 Scenario - The IEA's 450 Scenario sets out an energy pathway that is consistent with a 50% chance of meeting the goal of limiting the long-term increase in average global temperature to 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels by limiting concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere to around 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent.

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IIRC

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International Integrated Reporting Council - IIRC is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession, and NGOs. The coalition is promoting communication about value creation as the next step in the evolution of corporate reporting.

For more information, visit: www.integratedreporting.org
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ILO

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International Labour Organization - A United Nations agency that sets international labour standards and promotes social protection and work opportunities for all. ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States to set labour standards, develop policies, and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men.

For more information, visit: www.ilo.org/global/lang--en/index.htm
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IMF

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International Monetary Fund - The IMF is an organization of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system - the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. The Fund's mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.

For more information, visit: www.imf.org/en/About
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IPCC

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - The IPCC was established jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988. The purpose of the IPCC is to assess information in the scientific and technical literature related to all significant components of the issue of climate change. The IPCC draws upon hundreds of the world’s expert scientists as authors and thousands as expert reviewers. Leading experts on climate change and environmental, social, and economic sciences from some 60 nations have helped the IPCC to prepare periodic assessments of the scientific underpinnings for understanding global climate change and its consequences. With its capacity for reporting on climate change, its consequences, and the viability of adaptation and mitigation measures, the IPCC is also looked to as the official advisory body to the world’s governments on the state of the science of the climate change issue. For example, the IPCC organized the development of internationally accepted methods for conducting national greenhouse gas emission inventories.

For more information, visit: https://www.ipcc.ch/
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IPIECA

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International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association - IPIECA develops, shares and promotes good practice and knowledge to help the industry and improve its environmental and social performance. We do this with the understanding that the issues that dominate the sustainable development agenda – climate and energy, environmental and social issues – are too big for individual companies to tackle alone. The industry must work together to achieve improvements that have real impact, and the IPIECA helps to achieve this goal.

For more information, visit: www.ipieca.org/about-us/
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IRP

Integrated Resource Planning - IRP is a comprehensive decision support tool and road map for meeting a company's objective of providing reliable and least-cost electric service to all of its customers while addressing the substantial risks and uncertainties inherent in the electric utility business.

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ISI

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Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure - ISI developed Envision, which is a rating system and best practice resource to help you become successful in implementing sustainability into your infrastructure projects. Envision measures the sustainability of an infrastructure project from design though construction and maintenance. It can be used by infrastructure owners, design teams, community groups, environmental organizations, constructors, regulators, and policy makers to: (1) Meet sustainability goals; (2) Gain public recognition for high levels of achievement in sustainability; (3) Help communities and project teams collaborate and discuss, “Are we doing the right project?” and, “Are we doing the project right?”; (4) Make decisions about the investment of scarce resources; (5) Include community priorities in civil infrastructure projects.

For more information, visit: https://sustainableinfrastructure.org/envision/
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ISO

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International Organization for Standardization - ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies each of which represent the stakeholders in their countries. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

For more information, visit: www.iso.org/
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ITC

Investment Tax Credit - The federal ITC is a 30% tax credit for installing a solar system in your home. You can apply this credit to your tax bill in the following spring.

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KPI

Key Performance Indicator - KPIs are a type of performance measurement that indicate the success of an organization, usually within a particular activity (e.g., sustainability) in which they engage in. By identifying KPIs and measuring the KPIs through the lens of sustainability, businesses/companies can review what they need to work on, alter goals, and ensure that they are meeting these KPIs to continuously improve the company's sustainability.

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LCA

Life Cycle Analysis - An LCA is an assessment of the sum of a product’s effects (e.g. GHG emissions) at each step in its life cycle, including resource extraction, production, use and waste disposal.

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LEED

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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Buildings, communities, or other projects can follow LEED frameworks to ensure healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. The LEED certification indicates sustainability achievement.

For more information, visit: http://leed.usgbc.org
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LNG

Liquefied Natural Gas - LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state, approximately -260° Fahrenheit, for shipping and storage. The volume of natural gas in its liquid state is about 600 times smaller than its volume in its gaseous state.

For more information, visit: www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/liquefied-natural-gas.php
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LPG

Liquefied Petroleum Gas - LPG, or in common terms propane or butane, are flammable mixtures of hydrocarbon gases used as fuel in heating appliances, cooking equipment, and vehicles.

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MSCI

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Morgan Stanley Capital International - MSCI‘s research-based indexes and analytics have helped the world‘s leading investors build and manage better portfolios. Clients rely on MSCI's offerings for deeper insights into the drivers of performance and risk in their portfolios, broad asset class coverage, and innovative research.

For more information, visit: www.msci.com/
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NAAQS

National Ambient Air Quality Standards - The EPA has set NAAQS for six principal pollutants, which are called "criteria" air pollutants: Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Particulate Matter, Sulfur Dioxide.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants/naaqs-table
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NFI

Non-Financial Information - NFI includes environmental effects, political situations, and social responsibilities.

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NFR

Non-Financial Reporting - EU law requires large companies to disclose certain information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental challenges, in order to be transparent and help investors, consumers, policy makers and other stakeholders to evaluate the companies’ non-financial performance, which encourages these companies to develop a responsible approach to business. Directive 2014/95/EU lays down the rules on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies. This directive amends the accounting directive 2013/34/EU. Companies are required to include non-financial statements in their annual reports from 2018 onward.

For more information, visit: https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/company-reporting-and-auditing/company-reporting/non-financial-reporting_en
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NGO

Non-Governmental Organization - An NGO is a non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level, specifically not funded by any level of government, or at least the majority of its funding is not dependent on the government.

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NPDES

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - NPDES is a permitting program that addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. The permit provides two levels of control: technology-based limits and water quality-based limits.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/npdes/about-npdes
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NPOs

Non-Product Outputs - NPOs comprise solid waste, wastewater and air emissions. Any Output that is not a Product Output is by definition a Non-Product Output (NPO) and comprises waste and emissions in solid, liquid and gaseous form.

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ODP

Ozone Depletion Potential - The ODP of a chemical compound is the relative amount of degradation to the ozone layer it can cause, with trichlorofluoromethane (R-11 or CFC-11) being fixed at an ODP of 1.0.

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OECD

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Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

For more information, visit: www.oecd.org/about/
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PACE

Property Assessed Clean Energy - Cities are beginning to offer PACE programs which provide a loan for your solar panels. The program pays for the panels and you pay for the solar system on your property tax bill, over approximately 20 years, with interest. PACE provides loans for the cost of the panels, before the federal ITC is rewarded – this means that you will need to make payments on a larger, pre-ITC loan.

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PFCs

Perfluorocarbons - PFCs are chemicals composed of carbon and fluorine only. PFCs are powerful greenhouse gases that were introduced as alternatives to ozone depleting substances. PFCs replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in manufacturing semiconductors.

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PO

Product Output - Products and by-products including their packaging.

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PPA

Power Purchase Agreement - A PPA is a financing option for residential solar in which a solar company owns (and installs, monitors, maintains) your solar panels and you pay for electricity. With PPAs, you avoid the high upfront costs of installing solar and pay a monthly rate that depends on how much energy your panels produce.

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PPM

Parts Per Million - PPM is the number of parts of a chemical found in one million parts of a particular gas, liquid, or solid.

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PRI

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Principles for Responsible Investment - The PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. It works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate, and ultimately of the environment and society as a whole. The PRI is truly independent. It encourages investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage risks, but does not operate for its own profit; it engages with global policymakers but is not associated with any government; it is supported by, but not part of, the United Nations.

For more information, visit: www.unpri.org/pri/about-the-pri
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PTC

Production Tax Credit - The federal PTC is a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for generating electricity, for a certain period of the solar system’s operation. Those who are less interested in PTCs can apply for an ITC, and vice versa.

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PUC

Public Utilities Commission - A PUC is the state agency with regulatory jurisdiction over certain utilities.

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PV

Photo-Voltaic - A PV Cell is an electronic device consisting of layers of semiconductor materials fabricated to form a junction (adjacent layers of materials with different electronic characteristics) and electrical contacts, and being capable of converting incident light directly into electricity (direct current).

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RDF

Refuse-Derived Fuel - RDF is a fuel composed of processed garbage, and is used in some electric generation plants.

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REC

Renewable Energy Certificate - An REC is the property right to the environmental benefits associated with generating renewable electricity. For instance, homeowners who generate solar electricity are credited with 1 solar REC for every MWh of electricity they produce. Utilities that have to fulfill an RPS requirement can purchase these RECs on the open market.

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ROI

Return on Investment - ROI is a ratio between net profit and cost of investment. A higher ROI indicates the investment is favorable. When investing in sustainability reporting or improving corporate sustainability, ROI is important to mention to shareholders and people of this company. These stakeholders want high ROI, so that they actually invest in sustainability reporting to improve their overall corporate sustainability.

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RPS

Renewable Portfolio Standard - RPS is a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. RPS is a tool that places an obligation on electricity supply companies to produce a specified fraction of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Then, certified renewable energy generators earn certificates for every unit of electricity they produce and can sell these along with their electricity to supply companies. Supply companies then pass the certificates to some form of regulatory body to demonstrate their compliance with their regulatory obligations.

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R&D

Research and Development - R&D refers to innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in developing new services or products, or improving existing services or products, in order to maximize efficiency in corporations and governments.

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SASB

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Sustainability Accounting Standards Board - SASB is an independent standard-setting organization that develops and maintains robust reporting standards that enable businesses around the world to identify, manage and communicate financially material sustainability information to their investors. SASB standards are evidence based, developed with broad market participation, and are designed to be cost-effective for companies and decision-useful for investors. To download any SASB industry-specific standards, or learn more about SASB, please visit www.SASB.org.

To download any SASB industry-specific standards, or for more information, visit: www.sasb.org/
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SBSTA

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice - The SBSTA is one of two permanent subsidiary bodies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established by the COP/CMP. It supports the work of the COP, the CMP and the CMA through the provision of timely information and advice on scientific and technological matters as they relate to the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Key areas of work for the SBSTA include the impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, promoting the development and transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, and conducting technical work to improve the guidelines for preparing and reviewing greenhouse gas emission inventories from Annex I Parties. The SBSTA carries out methodological work under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, and promotes collaboration in the field of research and systematic observation of the climate system.

For more information, visit: https://unfccc.int/process/bodies/subsidiary-bodies/sbsta
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SBTs

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Science Based Targets - Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre- industrial temperatures, as described in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments, to champion science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies' competitive advantage in the transition to a low carbon economy.

For more information about SBTs, visit: https://sciencebasedtargets.org/
For more information about SBTi, visit: https://sciencebasedtargets.org/about-the-science-based-targets-initiative/
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SDGs

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Sustainable Development Goals - The SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

For more information, visit: www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html
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T&D

Transmission and Distribution - T&D refers to the different stages of carrying electricity over poles and wires from generators to a home or a business.

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TCFD

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Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures - The FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) develops voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders. The purpose of TCFD is to provide more disclosure about climate-related disclosures to the public.

For more information, visit: www.fsb-tcfd.org/about/
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UK ETS

United Kingdom Emissions Trading Scheme - The UK ETS was a voluntary emissions trading system created in 2002 as a pilot prior to the mandatory European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which it now runs in parallel with. It closed to new entrants in 2009.

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UNDP

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United Nations Development Programme - UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. They oversee the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For more information, visit: www.undp.org/
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UNFCCC

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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - Signed in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, the UNFCCC is a milestone international environmental treaty that provides an overall framework for international efforts to mitigate climate change. In line with the Kyoto Protocol and an amendment issued by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol on May 2013, the basket of greenhouse gases (GHGs) consists of: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbon family of gases (HFCs), Perfluorocarbon family of gases (PFCs), Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), and Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)*.

*Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3) is now considered a potent contributor to climate change and is therefore mandated to be included in national inventories under the UNFCCC. NF3 should also be included in GHG inventories under the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, and the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard.

For more information, visit: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-convention/what-is-the-united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change
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UNGC

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United Nations Global Compact - UNGC is a non-binding United Nations agreement to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies grounded in 10 Principles. With these implemented policies, businesses will report on their implementation.

For more information, visit: www.unglobalcompact.org/
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USGBC

United States Green Building Council - USBGC is a membership-based non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.

For more information, visit: https://new.usgbc.org/about
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VEP

Voluntary Environmental Programs - VEPs improve the environment by encouraging, rather than mandating, businesses and other organizations to adopt environmentally protective measures. Any level of government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations can run a VEP.

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WBCSD

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World Business Council for Sustainable Development - The WBCSD is a CEO-led organization of over 200 international companies working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. Scope classifies whether GHG emissions are created by an organization itself, or are created by other related organizations, for example electricity suppliers or logistics companies. There are three classifications of Scope: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. The classification of Scope derives from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the WBCSD, ‘GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard’, Revised Edition, 2004.

For more information, visit: www.wbcsd.org/
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WELL

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International WELL Building Institute - WELL is a leading global rating system and the first to be focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. WELL is managed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment. WELL is grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness of its occupants. WELL Certified™ spaces and WELL Compliant™ core and shell developments can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, and sleep patterns. The WELL Building Standard® is third-party certified by the Green Business Certification Incorporation (GBCI), which administers the LEED certification program and the LEED professional credentialing program.

For more information, visit: www.wellcertified.com/about-iwbi
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WRI

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World Resources Institute - The WRI is a global research non-profit organization that was established in 1982 with funding from the MacArthur Foundation. The organization's mission is to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and human health and well-being. The WRI focuses on seven urgent global challenges that must be addressed to reduce poverty, grow economies and protect natural systems: Climate, Energy, Food, Forests, Water, Sustainable Cities, and the Ocean. Scope classifies whether GHG emissions are created by an organization itself, or are created by other related organizations, for example electricity suppliers or logistics companies. There are three classifications of Scope: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. The classification of Scope derives from the WRI and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), ‘GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard’, Revised Edition, 2004.

For more information, visit: www.wri.org/
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KERAMIDA provides Sustainability Reporting Training services to organizations throughout the U.S. as a CDP Accredited Provider and GRI Certified Training Partner. For more information about our Sustainability and ESG Consulting Services, please call us today at (800) 508-8034 or contact us here.


Blog Author

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Pamela Griesemer, M.S., LEED GA, ENV SP, FSA
Vice President of Sustainability Services
KERAMIDA Inc.

Contact Pamela at pg@keramida.com.