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Temperature trajectory in which global warming has reached and been limited to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial level. Several aspects play a role for the assessment of risk and potential impacts in a 1.5-degree Celsius warmer world including overshoot magnitude, emission reduction strategy, and policy. Even if all emissions were stalled, elements of the climate system would still be disturbed and temperature would continue to rise for decades, which is why limiting temperature surge has a big impact on the environment.
Adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects, to moderate harm. Transformational adaptation changes the fundamental attributes of a socio-ecological system in anticipation of climate change and its impacts.
Carbon captured by living organisms in coastal and marine ecosystems (mangroves, salt marshes, seagrasses), and stored in biomass and sediments.
Also called business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, it refers to scenarios that assume that no mitigation policies or measures will be implemented beyond those that are already in place.
Natural process mostly formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass.
A measure of all greenhouse gas emissions caused directly and indirectly by a product, or a person, during a certain period of time (for example, during production). The greenhouse gases are usually converted into CO₂-equivalents, hence the name.
Interaction in which a perturbation in one climate quantity causes a change in a second and the change in the second quantity ultimately leads to an additional change in the first. Negative feedback occurs when the initial perturbation is weakened by the changes it causes, and positive feedback is one in which the initial perturbation is enhanced.
A directive that will replace the NFRD (Non-Financial Reporting Directive). Like its predecessor, the CSRD also obliges companies in the EU to produce sustainability reports. However, it is more complex and comprehensive. It is to apply from 2024 but already refers to the 2023 financial year.
Area that absorbs or holds more carbon than it gives off (forests, oceans, soil). Trees absorb about 20 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare each year.
Iterative process for managing change within complex systems to reduce disruptions and enhance opportunities associated with climate change.
The means for deciding, managing, implementing, and monitoring policies and measures. The more inclusive concept of governance recognizes the role of the public and private sectors.
Corporate Sustainability is a term according to which companies must consider not only their economic growth but also their environmental and social impact. Corporate sustainability includes, among others: sustainable growth, areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate accountability theory.
This refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.
The global carbon budget refers to the estimated cumulative amount of global carbon dioxide emissions that are estimated to limit global surface temperature to a given level above a refence period. It also refers to the distribution of the carbon budget to the regional, national, and sub-national level based on considerations of equity, costs, and efficiency.
CO2 is a naturally occurring gas and by-product of burning fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal), of burning biomass, of land-use changes, and of industrial processes. It is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore had a global warming potential of 1.
Expressed in CO2e, this is a measure of the exclusive total amount of greenhouse gas emissions equivalents (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases) that are directly and indirectly caused by an individual, activity or are accumulated over the life stages of a product.
An association of international non-profit organizations. The main objective of this association is to enrich corporate reporting with information on so-called natural capital. To achieve this, the CDSB provides guidelines for sustainable reporting.
Corporate Social Responsibility describes the idea that companies are responsible for their social impact. It is therefore based upon the proposition that companies need to maximise positive and minimise negative impacts.
Term used to describe the flow of carbon through the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and terrestrial and marine biosphere and lithosphere. In most literature, 1GtC=10^15gC.
This is achieved when carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are offset by eliminating the same amount through other avenues, leaving you with a balance of zero, also called a zero-carbon footprint.
A non-profit organisation that collects ecological data from companies and other institutions on the basis of voluntary reports. This includes, for example, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The main goal of these efforts is a carbon-neutral and sustainable world.
CSS refers to the process by which CO2 is separated, conditioned, compressed and transported to a storage location for long-term isolation from the atmosphere.
The quantity of emissions of CO2 released per unit of another variable such as GDP, output energy use or transport.
The process of storing carbon in a carbon pool such as blue carbon, CCS, carbon uptake or sink.
Refers to a temperature limit, concentration level, or emissions reduction goal used towards the aim of avoiding manmade interference with the climate system. For example, national climate targets may aim to reduce emissions by a certain amount over a given time horizon.
The price for avoided or released CO2 or CO2-equivalent emissions (rate of carbon tax per ton emitted or price of emission permit). Carbon pricing enables to evaluate the economic costs of mitigation.
The careful examination of the strengths and weaknesses of an item/target. In the context of ESG, such an examination considers environmental, social, and governance aspects. Due diligence thus reveals risks, value enhancement potential and eliminates information disparities.
A process in which companies consider both the impact of sustainability issues on their own business (outside-in) and the impact of their own business on sustainability issues (inside-out).
The process by which countries, individuals, or entities aim to achieve zero fossil carbon existence.
When economic growth is no longer strongly associated with consumption of fossil fuels. Relative decoupling is when both grow but at different rates. Absolute decoupling is where economic growth happens but fossil fuels decline.
Three criteria are to be increasingly addressed in companies and in doing so will lead to a more sustainable world. The criteria are environmental, social, and governance. To put it simply, the ESG criteria are intended to make companies more aware of their impact on the outside world, but also to combat internal inequalities.
A term under which environmental (E), social (S), and governance (G) aspects of a company are evaluated and assessed by investors.
A non-profit association founded in 2001. Its main task is to support the European Commission with the integration of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). EFRAG, therefore, advises the European Commission on which of those standards to adopt in the European Union.
A plan, first formulated in 2001. Its goal was to make the EU a more sustainable and resource-efficient place in the long term. In 2016, the EU Sustainable Development Strategy was finally adopted by the EU as part of a framework. It obliges all member states to comply with this framework.
Plausible representation of the future development of emissions of substances that are radiatively active based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about driving forces and their key relationships.
Functional unit consisting of living organisms, their non-living environment, and the interactions within and between them.
Policies set forth in a work, that establish practices of a particular field. In the context of ESG, these rulebooks mainly relate to reporting standards and practices. Frameworks thus make reports comparable and allow measurability in complex areas.
The degree to which climate goals and response options are considered possible and desirable. Depends on geophysical, ecological, technological, economic, social, and institutional conditions for change.
A term used to describe a company's outward efforts to be particularly sustainable and ecological without actually being so. This can occur in connection with donations or special PR measures. For example, when a company donates large sums of money to a sustainable organization in order to conceal unsustainable production in the company.
An institution that sets standards for how greenhouse gases can be measured. This applies to private, and public sectors as well as to value chains and mitigation actions. The GHG Protocol is often used for reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Projects (CDP).
The Global Reporting Initiative is an organization that sets standards regarding critical ESG data. These standards help organizations and businesses be transparent and fully understand their impacts on climate change, human rights, and corruption.
The European Green Deal is a concept that aims to make the European Union carbon-neutral by 2050. To this end, it addresses areas such as sustainable finance, energy supply, and infrastructure.
A comprehensive and inclusive concept of the full range of means for deciding, managing, implementing, and monitoring policies and measures. The ability of governance to co-ordinate, fund, implement, evaluate, and adjust policies and measures over the short, medium, and long term, adjusting for uncertainty, rapid change and wide-ranging impacts and multiple actors and demands.
Guidelines according to which companies should prepare their financial statements. They are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and are intended to facilitate internationally comparable financial statements.
A framework currently developed by the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRSF). This framework is intended to serve as a global basis for sustainable disclosure. It covers all ESG topics and intents to lead to greater transparency, fairness, and equality in operations.
The practice of identifying and evaluating, in monetary and/or non-monetary terms, the effects of climate change on natural and human systems.
A process by which the environmental impact of a particular thing is evaluated. LCA, therefore, helps you determine whether a product has had a particularly negative or particularly positive effect on the world. In understanding your impact on the environment, this is critical information – not only for customers but also for companies.
Actions that may lead to increased risk of adverse climate-related scenarios, including via increased GHG emissions, increased vulnerability to climate change. These actions are usually unintended consequences.
In policy, mitigation measures are technologies, processes or practices that contribute to mitigation such as renewable energies.
A directive requiring large, publicly traded companies to make sustainability disclosures. The directive was adopted in 2014 and has been mandatory in the EU since 2018. The directive is currently being reformed. The changes are expected to affect the 2023 financial year.
Removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by deliberate human activities, in addition to the removal via natural carbon cycle processes.
A term that expresses climate neutrality. A net zero company, therefore, emits no CO₂. This means that the carbon dioxide emissions of a company have been calculated, contained, and offset. In this way, CO2 emissions caused can be weighed against those avoided.
A report by a company that relates to non-financial information, such as environmental, social, or governance (ESG) Information. In the EU, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) requires public-interest companies with more than 500 members to prepare a Non-Financial Statement according to the NFRD criteria.
Achieved when anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic CO2 removals over a specific period. For this report, the term will be used between quotation marks.
Situation when, because of human activities, more greenhouse gas emissions are removed from the atmosphere than are emitted into it.
The temporal evolution of natural and/or human systems towards a future state (quantitative of qualitative scenarios or narratives).
Scenarios that include time series of emissions and concentrations of the full suite of GHGs, aerosols, and chemically active gases, as well as land use and land cover.
Planting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other use.
The Supply Chain Act or Lieferkettengesetz is a law coming into force in 2023. It obliges German companies to take various measures for a more sustainable supply chain. These include, for example, a commitment to a grievance mechanism and compliance with human rights throughout the supply chain.
A term that evaluates companies in terms of their environmental, social, and governmental awareness and resulting actions. By determining sustainable maturity, companies obtain information on their current status, open potentials, risks, and challenges regarding sustainable efforts.
A report in which companies prepare ESG data for external parties and present it in a comprehensible form.
The 17 global goals for development for all countries established by the United Nations through a participatory process and elaborated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A non-profit organization that issues guidelines for sustainable accounting standards. It was founded in 2011. Since August 1, 2022, SASB has been integrated into the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) Foundation. Its standards have been under the supervision of the ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board) since then.
17 goals aimed directly at prosperity, health, and peace on our planet. In 2015, all 193 member states of the United Nations (UN/UNO) committed to them. The overarching concern of these goals is to end poverty and oppression. To that end, the 17 points address education, health, inequality, economic growth, climate change, forest conservation, and ocean cleanup.
A body established by the FSB (Financial Stability Board). Its task is to make proposals on the type of information that companies should disclose to investors and other stakeholders.
Temporary exceedance of specified level of global warming (such as 1.5 degree Celsius).
A uniform method by which things can be divided into categories or classes. In the context of ESG, taxonomy is often meant in the context of the European Taxonomy Regulation. This regulation contains criteria for determining whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. As a result, companies that want to market a product as sustainable are required to comply with these specifications.