Being accountable not only means being responsible for something but also ultimately being answerable for your actions. In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving.
Certified B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
An item that can break down into natural materials in the environment without causing harm.
A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing that one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of different greenhouse gases (communicated as a tonne of CO2 equivalent - tCO2e) has been paid for.
Carbon neutrality, or having a net-zero carbon footprint, refers to an organisation, or product, offsetting the same amount of GHGs as they are responsible for emitting.
Carbon negative / positive / climate positive
Frustratingly ‘carbon negative”, “carbon positive”, and “climate positive” are all the same thing. They all mean that more GHGs are sequestered than emitted. Business typically achieve this through purchasing more carbon credits than is equal to the size of their carbon footprint.
A forest, ocean, or other natural environment viewed in terms of its ability to absorb, and hold, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
A certification is a credential that shows the required set of standards have been met.
A circular economy is an economic system powered by renewable energy that designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in circulation, and regenerates natural systems. Circular systems employ repairing, reuse, refurbishment, recycling and composting to create a closed system, minimising the use of resource input and eliminating waste.
A change in global or regional climate patterns brought about by a warming planet. Our planet is warming due to a massive increase of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Compostable means that a product is capable of biodegrading into natural elements in a compost environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil, in a certified amount of time (typically three months).
The difference between ‘commercially compostable’ and ‘home compostable’ certifications relates to the heat required for the packaging to compost. Commercially compostable packaging requires higher heats that are hard to achieve in a home compost due to its size and how well it is managed.
An object or material will break apart into smaller pieces over time (that could be a day or one million years). Technically every physical thing is degradable as everything breaks down over time. A commonly used greenwashing term.
Eco Packaging Alliance
Eco-Packaging Alliance is a membership programme run by the packaging supplier ‘noissue’, designed to contribute to global reforestation by making a financial contribution to planting projects from every order a customer places with them.
Environmental Working Group (EWG)
An independent American organization that specialises in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability. They create awareness about chemicals in products by giving shoppers useful information from a team of scientists they have come to trust.
Ethical sourcing is the process of ensuring the products being sourced are obtained in a responsible and sustainable way. Assuring the workers involved in making them are safe and treated fairly, and that environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration during the sourcing process.
Forestry Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
FSC certification shows that the wood fibre (wood / paper / carboard) has come from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly. To achieve FSC certification ten rules that cover the essentials of responsible forest management must be adhered to.
Coal, gas, or oil formed in the geological past from the fossilised remains of once living organisms.
Greenhouse gases (GHGs)
The greenhouse effect is a warming of Earth’s surface and the air above it. It is caused by gases in the air that trap energy from the Sun. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases. The most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and refrigerant gases.
Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice. Companies greenwash to appear to be more environmentally friendly than they really are.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) is a thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene. With a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is used in the production of plastic bottles and commonly recycled. It has the number “2” as its resin identification code. Other plastic numbers codes are the following:
#1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
#2 - HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
#3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
#4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
#5 – PP (Polypropylene)
#6 – PS (Polystyrene)
#7 – Other (BPA, Polycarbonate and LEXAN)
The ISO standards are a robust and highly credible family of standards that set statutory and regulatory requirements for organisations to achieve certification relating to a huge range of social, environmental and economic topics.
Lifecycle assessment (LCA)
LCA’s assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling.
Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionising radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
PEFC is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification.
Post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR)
Plastic that was used in a previous product or packaging item and has been collected and recycled after a consumer has disposed of it. E.g a plastic bottle. Using PCR supports the recycling of products and packaging at the end of their life.
Pre-consumer recycled plastic
Plastic that has escaped the manufacturing process (e.g. trimmings or defective product) and then reintroduced into that process. Pre-consumer recycling is commonly used in manufacturing industries and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.
Materials that have been discarded by a consumer at the end of use. This can find its way into a landfill, incinerator, or the open environment.
Materials that have been discarded by an organisation before they even go to market. Typically manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production), or defective products.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
PEFC is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organisation which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. It is considered the certification system of choice for small forest owners.
Raw virgin materials
Material that has not been previously used.
Impacting an ecosystem or community in a way that repairs, restores, or replenishes it. Or put simply - leaving a place better than we found it.
Regenerative Organic Agriculture
An approach to farming that is in harmony with the local ecosystem and prioritises they health of soils. It has the impact of sequestering carbon, building soil, improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity and improving the health and well-being of the framers and their communities. It typically involves grown a wide diversity of crops, no tilling, and no synthetic chemicals.
Responsible business is a very subjective term but to Emma Lewisham it means that we take full responsibility for our impacts on all our stakeholders and the environments we operate in. We do our due-diligence and research on the impacts of all our products and packaging, and we are contributing to making a better world.
Taking carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide gas - CO2) out of the atmosphere and using it to build structures and / or putting it into the soil. This is what all plants do through the process of photosynthesis.
Supplier principles (aka procurement principles) are created for the purpose of ensuring that a company’s suppliers operate in a way that aligns with the purchasing organisations own principles. Thy typically relate to the health and well-being of staff, and the impacts on the local environment.
The sequence of processes, people, and organisations involved in the production and distribution of a commodity or product.
Sustainability is a very broad and subjective term. It is commonly used with little substantiation. To Emma Lewisham sustainability is the practice of ensuring how we live, trade, and do business can be sustained without the exploitation of people or the natural world.
TerraCycle is an innovative waste management company with a mission to eliminate the idea of waste. Operating nationally across 21 countries, TerraCycle partners with leading consumer product companies, retailers and cities to recycle products and packages, from dirty diapers to cigarette butts, that would otherwise end up being landfilled or incinerated. In addition, TerraCycle works with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard to recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging. TerraCycle has won over 200 awards for sustainability and was named #10 in Fortune magazine’s list of 52 companies Changing the World. To learn more visit www.terracycle.com.
The 5 R’s
The 5 R’s of zero waste: Refuse what you don’t need. Reduce what you do need. Reuse what you use. Repurpose by upcyling the product for something new. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reuse, or repurpose.
Transparency is not hiding anything. It is about being open and honest, in a way that is easy for others to see and understand, on how you operate your business.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The SDGs are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.