Decoding the ESG Jargon: Your guide to sustainable business terms

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is more than just a trending topic; it's a compass guiding businesses towards a more sustainable future. As ESG becomes deeply embedded in the business fabric, it’s imperative for professionals and enthusiasts alike to grasp the standard terms that define this evolving landscape. Here's a quick guide to some of the most pertinent ESG terms and definitions.

  • Activity Shifting Leakage: This term highlights unintended consequences. For instance, a project aimed at conserving a forest might inadvertently lead to deforestation elsewhere, nullifying its benefits.
  • Carbon Asset & Carbon Credit: While a Carbon Asset symbolizes the potential GHG emission reductions, a Carbon Credit is the license to emit a defined amount of GHGs.
  • Carbon Rights: Essentially, the benefits derived from carbon pools like forests. In markets where GHG emission reductions are valued, these rights can be monetized.
  • ESG Integration: An all-inclusive approach where ESG factors are systematically meshed with financial analysis.
  • Carbon Footprint: Quantifying our environmental impact, this term measures carbon emissions from a person, organization, or even a product.
  • Emissions: This encompasses both direct emissions, like burning fossil fuels, and indirect ones, like consuming purchased energy.
  • Greenwashing & Social washing: A cautionary note on exaggerated claims; while greenwashing pertains to environmental claims, social washing refers to social responsibility exaggerations.
  • SFDR & SRD II: Regulatory mechanisms from the EU, ensuring that sustainability claims are backed by concrete actions and disclosures.
  • D&I or DEI: A commitment to foster a culture where everyone, irrespective of their background, feels included and valued.
  • EUI: A yardstick to gauge a building's energy consumption relative to its size.
  • GHG & GIIN: While GHG is an umbrella term for gases contributing to the greenhouse effect, GIIN is a global alliance working to amplify impact investments.
  • Green Bonds: An innovative financing solution, directing capital to environmentally beneficial projects.
  • Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance: A consortium of investors transitioning their portfolios to minimize GHG emissions.
  • Scope 1, 2, & 3 Emissions: A classification system, segregating direct emissions from indirect ones in an organization's value chain.
  • Social ROI: Beyond financial metrics, this evaluates the sustainable value an organization generates.
  • Taxonomy & WACI: While taxonomy provides a framework for classifying green investments, WACI gives insight into an entity's carbon intensity in relation to its revenue.

Incorporating these terms into our vernacular empowers us to participate in informed ESG conversations, shaping our collective journey towards a greener tomorrow.

For tailored ESG solutions, reach out to Purpose Communications. We're here to guide you through the maze of sustainability, ensuring your actions resonate with your words.