Net Zero Glossary
Navigating the world of sustainability and environmental responsibility can sometimes feel like learning a new language. At Net Zero Pro, we’re here to make this journey smoother and more enlightening for you.
Our glossary is your go-to resource for unraveling the terminology, acronyms, and concepts that are at the heart of our mission.
Adaptation, or climate adaptation, refers to attempts and initiatives made to alleviate the impact of climate change on certain groups of people. It entails the adjustment of economic, social, and environmental structures to lessen the impact of climate change so that it doesn’t affect people significantly
The BRSR, or the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report was released by SEBI in 2021, to replace the BRR (Business Responsibility Report). It has become mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies since FY 2022-2023, and is expected to further extend its purview in the subsequent years. It entails both qualitative and quantitative disclosures on topics related to the environmental, social, and governance elements of a company. It is divided into three sections – general disclosures, management and processes, and principle wise performance.
Carbon accounting entails calculating the amount of greenhouse gases that a company emits.
Carbon capture and storage is a new technology that helps remove emissions from the atmosphere. Most carbon capture and storage tools capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or from energy producing processes, transport it, and ultimately store it deep underground. Carbon capture and storage is cited as a solution to the climate crisis and a powerful offsetting mechanism.
Source: The National Grid
Carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and other gases, generated directly or indirectly by an individual, organisation, event, or product.
Carbon neutral means balancing emissions by offsetting excessive carbon dioxide, and there is a greater focus on offsetting emissions than reducing them.
Carbon offsetting is the action taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, or sequester carbon, to compensate for an emission intensive activity that is occurring somewhere else. Carbon offsetting is linked to the concept of carbon credits, wherein a company that has excessive emissions can buy carbon credits from another company that has less than a stipulated amount of emissions, thus balancing out the two.
Source: Carbon Offset Guide
The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism or CBAM is a tool created by the European Union (EU) to put a price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods that are entering the EU and to encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries.
Source: Taxation and Customs Union
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Some of these changes can occur naturally, but recently activities such as excessive burning of fossil fuels has created anthropogenic climate change (or human-caused climate change). The greenhouse effect, wherein greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, act as a blanket around the earth and trap heat within it are what have contributed to the change in climate that we see today.
Source: United Nations
CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility which is an avenue through which companies undertake efforts and initiatives aimed to improve society and/or the environment. CSR can take place in the form of donations to other nonprofits, supporting companies doing good environmental or social work, making internal changes within the company itself to make it more socially and environmentally friendly, and many more.
CSRD stands for Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. It is a recently released requirement for companies headquartered in the European Union and expands the scope of the Non-Financial Reporting Disclosure (NFRD). It provides a consolidated and comprehensive set of guidelines for companies to improve their disclosure regarding their environmental, social, and governance performance. Source: European Commission
Decarbonization, as the name suggests, is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions generated by a company or other entity. This can take place at an organisation-wide level or at the level of individual processes, for example decarbonization while manufacturing a certain product.
Due diligence is a process to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for how the organisation addresses its actual and potential negative impacts.
Energy efficiency essentially means using lesser energy to perform the same task, thus decreasing the energy required to produce goods and services. It is a relatively low-cost and easy solution that companies can implement to become more environmentally friendly.
Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance and encapsulates the three pillars of sustainability that a business must take into consideration. ESG aims to capture the non-financial risks and opportunities that a company faces and are the three main forms of a disclosure companies are now expected to perform.
GHG stands for Green House Gases. These are any gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and contribute to climate change. The most widespread greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Irrespective of where they are emitted, they all mix in the atmosphere together, providing a global impact.
Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency
Green infrastructure is an umbrella term that entails any attempt at making urban structures more environmentally friendly. These can be through green roofs and an abundance of plants to cool down places, climate-smart design that decreases energy requirements, or green spaces that can absorb stormwater run-off and
GRI stands for the Global Reporting Initiative which is an independent, international organisation that helps businesses and other organisations track their sustainability performance. The GRI standards are divided into three sections – universal, sector, and topics within which organisations can choose those specific standards that are relevant to them. These standards are a consistent, universal, and measurable approach to understanding the environmental, social, and governance performance of an organisation and reporting on the GRI improves relationships with stakeholders, investors, and the community at large.
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators and are specific, quantitative metrics to measure the performance of a company
Materiality Assessment is the process undertaken by a company to understand what topics are important for them and their stakeholders. These are mapped against each other to guide the company on what they should prioritise going forward
Mitigation, or more specifically climate mitigation, refers to any action(s) taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a way of preventing climate catastrophe or at least decreasing the pace of climate change
Net zero is the process of achieving a balance between emissions produced and emissions removed for a certain entity. It prioritises reducing emissions, and only offsetting those that cannot further be reduced.
Renewable energy entails any form of energy that comes from sustainable and renewable sources that cannot get depleted. The most popular examples of renewable energy include solar, wind, and hydro energy.
The Science Based Targets initiative allows companies to set GHG emission reduction targets, in alignment with the latest science, to prevent the worst effects of climate change. It independently assesses and approves a company’s target, while offering an array of resources and guidance for a company through their decarbonization journey.
Source: Science Based Targets
While calculating GHG emissions, these emissions can be divided into three scopes. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions produced by an asset owned by the company. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions produced through any form of energy or electricity usage. Scope 3 emissions are those that are not produced by the company itself but generated up and down its value chain.
Source: The National Grid
SDG stands for the Sustainable Development Goals which is a collection of 17 goals related to environmental, social, and economic themes. It was created by the United Nations and is something that all countries and companies are encouraged to strive towards.
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
The SEC or the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has put forth rules that require climate-related disclosures to be done by their registrants. This includes information and about climate-related risks, an assessment of their own GHG emissions, and climate-related financial statements.
Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures was created to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. Source: Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
Waste management entails recycling, reusing, and processing all the waste that is generated by the company to reduce or entirely eliminate the amount that ends up going to the landfill. Waste management includes the crucial step of segregating waste, either by separating wet and dry waste, or more specifically separating it based on material so that each one can be recycled separately.
Water management includes monitoring the amount of water consumed by a company as well as the treatment of water after consumption, either through disposal, reusing, or recycling.