Measure, reduce, and remove your organization's carbon footprint all in one place.

  • Standards & Frameworks
  • Classification of Emissions
  • Methods for measuring direct and indirect emissions
  • GHGs-related
  • Categories of emissions sources
  • Data Types
  • Climate Action Terminology
  • Carbon Offsets, Reduction, and Removal
  • All Terms (A-Z)
Standards & Frameworks
Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act (CCDAA)

Also known as California’s SB 253, the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act requires companies doing business in California with revenues in excess of $1 billion to annually disclose greenhouse gas emissions related to business activities, starting in 2026.

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

Formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP is a nongovernmental organization that provides a forum for corporations, cities, regions, and public authorities to publicly report their environmental impact.  CDP also scores the initiatives and progress of reportees and recognizes organizations that provide high-quality disclosures.

Climate-Related Financial Risk Act (CRFRA)

Also known as California’s SB 261, the Climate-Related Financial Risk Act requires U.S. companies doing business in California with revenues in excess of $500 million to disclose climate-related risks to their businesses and plans to mitigate those risks.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is the European Union’s law requiring approximately 50,000 European companies to provide detailed reporting on companies’ climate and environmental impacts.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol)

The GHG Protocol is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. It sets the global standard for how to measure, manage, and report greenhouse gas emissions, providing companies and organizations with a clear framework to make emission reduction strategies.

GHG Calculation Standards

Refers to the methodologies used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The Global Reporting Initiative is an nongovernmental standards organization that has created the most widely adopted voluntary sustainability reporting framework to help businesses, governments, and other organizations understand and communicate their non-financial impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights, and corruption. GRI is  also a collaborator with many standards organizations, such as ISSB, to complement  reporting on sustainability-related financial information.

International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)

The International Sustainability Standards Board was created by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IRFS) Foundation to develop a global baseline of reporting guidance to streamline capital market-focused disclosures. The ISSB created 2 standards (IFRS S1 and S2) that came into effect in January 2024.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board was established to provide guidance for reporting industry-specific, financially material ESG information. These standards identify the sustainability-related risks that may impact financial performance and enterprise value. For each industry, SASB includes an average of six disclosure topics and 13 accounting metrics across five dimensions: environment, social capital, human capital, business model and innovation, and leadership and governance.

Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI)

The Science-Based Targets Initiative is a collaboration among CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. SBTi develops standards, tools, and guidance to assist companies in setting and validating near- and long-term targets in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement goals of limiting global temperature increase and achieving net zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures establishes a set of recommendations for disclosing information on the risks and opportunities associated with climate change to inform financial decision-making.  TCFD provides 11 disclosure recommendations organized through 4 themes that reflect how organizations operate: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets. TCFD is a voluntary framework, but also serves as the basis for many statutory climate reporting requirements, such as those put in place by California, the EU, and the UK.

Classification of Emissions
Direct Emissions

These are emissions that result from activities directly within the control or ownership of an organization.

Indirect Emissions

Emissions that result from activities of an organization but are generated at sources owned or controlled by another organization.

Scope 1

Direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by an organization, such as fuel combusted onsite, in company-owned vehicles, and in industrial processes.

Scope 2

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by the reporting entity. Scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, but are a result of the organization’s energy procurement activity.

Scope 3

All indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) that occur in the upstream and downstream value chain of an organization. This includes activities such as transportation, distribution, and use of the company’s products or services. Scope 3 emissions result from the activities of an organization, but occur from sources that are not owned or controlled by the organization.

Upstream Scope 3 Emissions

Emissions associated with the extraction, production, and delivery of purchased materials and services from an organization’s suppliers.

  • Purchased goods and services
  • Capital goods and services
  • Fuel and energy-related activities
  • Transportation and distribution
  • Operational waste
  • Business travel
  • Employee commuting
  • Leased assets
Downstream Scope 3 Emissions

Emissions related to an organization’s sold goods and services, distribution, and end-of-life treatment.

  • Transportation and distribution
  • Processing of sold products
  • Use of sold products
  • End-of-life of sold products
  • Leased assets
  • Franchises
  • Investments
Value Chain

Refers collectively to the upstream (supply chain) and downstream (product use and disposal) activities associated with a company and its products. Frequently used to refer to Scope 3 Emissions.

Methods for measuring direct and indirect emissions
Activity-Based Method

Calculating an organization’s emissions using raw data from specific emission-generating sources, such as transport distances, fuel and energy consumption, production levels, and materials.

Spend-Based Method

Calculating an organization’s emissions using  financial invoices and accounting data spent on various products or services.

Hybrid Method

A combination of Activity-Based and Spend-Based methods for calculating emissions, using primary activity data where available and supplementing with spend-based data to fill gaps.

Supplier-Specific Method

A technique used for Scope 3 carbon accounting that involves gathering data directly from suppliers.

GHGs-related
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

The primary gas responsible for global warming, largely due to human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and deforestation.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e):

A unit for comparing different greenhouse gasses based on their global warming potential. Because carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas, all other greenhouse gases are scaled to its impact.

Emissions Factor

A representation of the amount of a certain greenhouse gas released per unit of a specific activity, process, or fuel combustion.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

The ability of a greenhouse gas to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to CO2, over a given period of time, typically 100 years. GWP allows for the comparison of impacts of different gases. CO2 has a GWP of 1. The higher the GWP of a given gas, the more it traps heat and warms the Earth.

Greenhouse Gasses

Gasses that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The concentrations of these gasses are rising due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes.

Methane (CH4)

A potent greenhouse gas that has a much higher heat-trapping ability than CO2 but a shorter atmospheric lifetime. Methane is released during the production and transport of fossil fuels, as well as from agricultural practices and the decomposition of organic waste.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Another potent greenhouse gas, released from agricultural, industrial, and land use activities, as well as the combustion of fossil fuels, and wastewater treatment.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Synthetic greenhouse gasses used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and foam-blowing appliances, with a high global warming potential.

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Synthetic gasses with an extremely high global warming potential used in various industrial processes, often in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)

A potent synthetic greenhouse gas increasingly used in the production of electronics, such as photovoltaic (PV) cells and liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

A significant synthetic greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential, primarily used in the electrical industry for insulation in high-voltage circuit breakers.

tCO2e

Metric tons of all GHGs. tCO2e is used to compare emissions from various GHGs on the basis of their global warming potential (GWP) by converting other amounts of GHGs to the equivalent of CO2. (Think of it as converting several different currencies into 1 euro. Because each currency is worth a different amount, you’d get a different equivalent in euros in return.)

Categories of emissions sources
Stationary Combustion

The burning of fossil fuels in stationary sources, such as: boilers, furnaces, incinerators, and turbines, engines, and flares.

Mobile Combustion

The burning of fossil fuels in transportation means, including automobiles, trains, ships, and aircraft.

Process Emissions

Emissions directly resulting from a chemical or physical process, as in the case of a chemical reaction in an industrial furnace.

Fugitive Emissions

Intentional and accidental releases of emissions, such as equipment leaks and fugitive emissions from processing.

Data Types
Primary Data

Data that is collected or directly measured from specific sources of activities in a company’s value chain. This may include emissions data calculated by suppliers specific to their activities.

Product-Level Data

Specific data associated with manufacturing a product, including energy use, material use, and carbon emissions at each stage of production.

Secondary Data

Data that is not directly measured or collected, but is sourced from a third-party database. Secondary data includes financial data, industry-average data, proxy data, and other generic data (from government statistics, published databases, studies, and industry associations).

Environmentally-Extended Input Output (EEIO) Analysis

A method of estimating energy use and/or GHG emissions that tracks the environmental impacts from upstream supply chain activities in different sectors and products within an economy. The analysis provides emission factors that can be used for estimating emissions for a specific industry or category of products. However, while EEIO data is often comprehensive, there is a low level of granularity compared to other data sources. 

Proxy Data

Indirect or secondary data sources. When direct measurement is impractical (i.e. when primary data is unavailable or of poor quality), companies may use specific primary data from one activity to estimate emissions for another activity in their value chain. 

Climate Action Terminology
Anthropogenic

Resulting from, or produced by, human activities.

Carbon Accounting

The process of measuring, managing, and reporting the amount of carbon emissions that an individual, business, or entity is responsible for.

Carbon Footprint

A measure of the amount of greenhouse gasses resulting from the activities of a certain organization, person, or activity.

Carbon Negative

Business activities, or technologies that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, effectively reducing the overall atmospheric concentration of CO2.

Carbon Neutral

When carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by an activity or entity is balanced by an equivalent amount of CO2 removed or offset, resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere..

Carbon Target

A commitment to reduce a company’s greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount, by a certain year.

Emissions Abatement

 A reduction in emissions that reduces the concentration of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its lifespan, from the extraction of raw materials, through production, use, and final disposal. LCA is often used to calculate an item’s carbon footprint as part of carbon accounting.

Location-Based Calculation Method

A standard method of calculating carbon emissions based on the average emissions intensity of the electricity grid/fuel mix within the specific geographic area of the site where emissions are attributed.

Market-Based Calculation Method

An alternative to the location-based method, it calculates carbon emissions based on the contractual instruments used to purchase electricity, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs). 

Mitigation

A term used to describe a lowering of the concentration of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Net Zero

A state in which the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere is counterbalanced by removing an equivalent amount of greenhouse gasses. Net zero requires emissions to be reduced as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions being addressed by carbon dioxide removal technologies.

Paris-Aligned

A carbon target consistent with the Paris Agreement’s commitment to limit global warming to well below 2°C greater than pre-Industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C.

Carbon Offsets, Reduction, and Removal
Additionality

An environmental integrity principle for assessing whether or not a project results in emission reductions or removals in addition to what would have occurred in the absence of the project.

Afforestation

The creation of a new forest in an area that was not previously forested

Biochar

Burning organic matter (biomass) in a low-oxygen environment (a process called “pyrolysis”), which converts the biomass into a stable, carbon-rich charcoal. The charcoal can be applied to soils or buried.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)

Converting organic matter (biomass) into heat, electricity, or fuels and capturing and storing the CO2 released during the process.

Biologic Sequestration

The storage of CO2 in vegetation, soils and the oceans.

Blue Carbon

Sequestering CO2 through the restoration and sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystems (e.g. tidal marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses).

Cap-and-Trade

A market-based approach to lowering GHG emissions, in which a central authority sets a fixed limit (cap) on total emissions ( declining each year) and allocates a limited number of permits that allow holders to emit a specific amount, within a certain time period. The permits are tradable, which when combined with the pricing of the permits, encourages market forces to drive investment in efficiency, process change, and emission reductions.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS)

A process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial and energy-related point sources of pollution is captured, compressed and stored underground for long-term isolation from the atmosphere.

Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)

A process in which CO2 is captured from industrial and energy-related point sources of pollution and then used to produce a new product, rather than stored underground (as in CCS). The CO2 may be used in short-lived products (e.g., biodegradable plastics or synthetic fuel) or long-lived products (e.g., cement or building insulation). When the CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere or biomass and used in long-lived products, CCU becomes CCUS, a form of carbon removal.

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)

A carbon removal process in which CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere or biomass, and then either reused or stored underground for long-term isolation from the atmosphere.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)

A process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and durably stored for long periods of time.

Carbon Credit

A tradeable instrument that represents a unit of CO2-equivalent emissions.. 

Carbon Offset

A unit of CO2-equivalent emissions that is reduced, avoided, or sequestered to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.

Emission Reduction

The mitigation or abatement of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are two types of sequestration: geologic and biologic.

Carbon Sink

The location in which captured carbon is stored.

Direct Air Capture (DAC)

Capturing CO2 from ambient air and compressing it for underground storage or use in long-lived products.

Double-Counting

A situation in which two different entities claim the same emission generation, reduction, or removal in their emissions inventories or mitigation targets and/or pledges.

Duration

The lifetime of a given carbon offset or carbon removal project, referring to the amount of time it will take to achieve its predicted / calculated benefit (e.g., total number of tCO2 removed).

Enhanced Weathering

Accelerating the natural process by which minerals (e.g. olivine and basalt) absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The minerals are ground up and spread over soils, where they react with atmospheric CO2 to form durable carbonate minerals, effectively sequestering the CO2.

Geologic Sequestration

The process of storing CO2 in underground geologic formations. The CO2 is usually pressurized until it becomes a liquid, and then it is injected into porous rock formations in geologic basins.

Leakage

When efforts to reduce emissions in one location instead shift the emissions to another location, where they remain uncontrolled or uncounted.

Macroalgae Growth and Sequestration

Cultivating macroalgae and sinking it in the deep ocean, effectively sequestering the embodied CO2.

Mineralization

A method of carbon removal in which atmospheric CO2 is transformed into a solid mineral. See also “Enhanced Weathering”.

Oceanic CDR

Solutions that use the ocean’s functions as a natural carbon sink and enhance the carbon sequestration capabilities of critical marine ecosystems.

Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

Adding alkaline substances (e.g. olivine) to ocean water, which results in the conversion of dissolved CO2 into stable bicarbonate and carbonate molecules. As a result, the ocean can take up more CO2 to restore equilibrium.

Permanence

A measure of the durability of carbon sequestration. The amount of time that carbon will remain sequestered rather than released back into the atmosphere.

Soil Carbon Sequestration

Increasing the carbon content of soil through improved land management practices (e.g. agroforestry, cover crops, or no-till farming).

Technological CDR

Engineered solutions that remove and sequester carbon from the atmosphere; these include fully engineered solutions as well as solutions that enhance natural carbon removal and sequestration processes with the assistance of engineered components.

Terrestrial CDR

Solutions that use the natural processes and capabilities of plants, soil, and microorganisms to sequester and store carbon out of the atmosphere.

Validation

An assessment of a project’s design and its potential to generate significant climate, community, and biodiversity benefits. This assessment is conducted prior to a project’s implementation, whereas a verification is conducted once the project is in-place.

Verification

A rigorous assessment of a project’s implementation and confirmation of the delivery of multiple benefits (such as removals) during a specific time period.

Woody Biomass Burial

Harvesting and storing organic matter (biomass) underground in a way that prevents decomposition and the release of embodied CO2 back into the atmosphere.

All Terms (A-Z)
Activity-Based Method

Calculating an organization’s emissions using raw data from specific emission-generating sources, such as transport distances, fuel and energy consumption, production levels, and materials.

Additionality

An environmental integrity principle for assessing whether or not a project results in emission reductions or removals in addition to what would have occurred in the absence of the project.

Afforestation

The creation of a new forest in an area that was not previously forested

Anthropogenic

Resulting from, or produced by, human activities.

Biochar

Burning organic matter (biomass) in a low-oxygen environment (a process called “pyrolysis”), which converts the biomass into a stable, carbon-rich charcoal. The charcoal can be applied to soils or buried.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)

Converting organic matter (biomass) into heat, electricity, or fuels and capturing and storing the CO2 released during the process.

Biologic Sequestration

The storage of CO2 in vegetation, soils and the oceans.

Blue Carbon

Sequestering CO2 through the restoration and sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystems (e.g. tidal marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses).

Cap-and-Trade

A market-based approach to lowering GHG emissions, in which a central authority sets a fixed limit (cap) on total emissions ( declining each year) and allocates a limited number of permits that allow holders to emit a specific amount, within a certain time period. The permits are tradable, which when combined with the pricing of the permits, encourages market forces to drive investment in efficiency, process change, and emission reductions.

Carbon Accounting

The process of measuring, managing, and reporting the amount of carbon emissions that an individual, business, or entity is responsible for.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS

A process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial and energy-related point sources of pollution is captured, compressed and stored underground for long-term isolation from the atmosphere.

Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)

A process in which CO2 is captured from industrial and energy-related point sources of pollution and then used to produce a new product, rather than stored underground (as in CCS). The CO2 may be used in short-lived products (e.g., biodegradable plastics or synthetic fuel) or long-lived products (e.g., cement or building insulation). When the CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere or biomass and used in long-lived products, CCU becomes CCUS, a form of carbon removal.

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)

A carbon removal process in which CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere or biomass, and then either reused or stored underground for long-term isolation from the atmosphere.

Carbon Credit

A tradeable instrument that represents a unit of CO2-equivalent emissions..

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

The primary gas responsible for global warming, largely due to human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and deforestation.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e)

A unit for comparing different greenhouse gasses based on their global warming potential. Because carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas, all other greenhouse gases are scaled to its impact.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)

A process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and durably stored for long periods of time.

Carbon Footprint

A measure of the amount of greenhouse gasses resulting from the activities of a certain organization, person, or activity.

Carbon Negative

Business activities, or technologies that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, effectively reducing the overall atmospheric concentration of CO2.

Carbon Neutral

When carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by an activity or entity is balanced by an equivalent amount of CO2 removed or offset, resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Carbon Offset

A unit of CO2-equivalent emissions that is reduced, avoided, or sequestered to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are two types of sequestration: geologic and biologic.

Carbon Sink

The location in which captured carbon is stored.

Carbon Target

A commitment to reduce a company’s greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount, by a certain year.

Climate-Related Financial Risk Act (CRFRA)

Also known as California’s SB 261, the Climate-Related Financial Risk Act requires U.S. companies doing business in California with revenues in excess of $500 million to disclose climate-related risks to their businesses and plans to mitigate those risks.

Climate-Related Financial Risk Act (CRFRA)

Also known as California’s SB 261, the Climate-Related Financial Risk Act requires U.S. companies doing business in California with revenues in excess of $500 million to disclose climate-related risks to their businesses and plans to mitigate those risks.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is the European Union’s law requiring approximately 50,000 European companies to provide detailed reporting on companies’ climate and environmental impacts.

Direct Air Capture (DAC)

Capturing CO2 from ambient air and compressing it for underground storage or use in long-lived products.

Direct Emissions

These are emissions that result from activities directly within the control or ownership of an organization

Double-Counting

A situation in which two different entities claim the same emission generation, reduction, or removal in their emissions inventories or mitigation targets and/or pledges.

Duration

The lifetime of a given carbon offset or carbon removal project, referring to the amount of time it will take to achieve its predicted / calculated benefit (e.g., total number of tCO2 removed).

Emissions Abatement

A reduction in emissions that reduces the concentration of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Emissions Factor

A representation of the amount of a certain greenhouse gas released per unit of a specific activity, process, or fuel combustion.

Emission Reduction

The mitigation or abatement of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Enhanced Weathering

Accelerating the natural process by which minerals (e.g. olivine and basalt) absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The minerals are ground up and spread over soils, where they react with atmospheric CO2 to form durable carbonate minerals, effectively sequestering the CO2.

Environmentally-Extended Input Output (EEIO) Analysis

A method of estimating energy use and/or GHG emissions that tracks the environmental impacts from upstream supply chain activities in different sectors and products within an economy. The analysis provides emission factors that can be used for estimating emissions for a specific industry or category of products. However, while EEIO data is often comprehensive, there is a low level of granularity compared to other data sources. 

Fugitive Emissions

Intentional and accidental releases of emissions, such as equipment leaks and fugitive emissions from processing.

Geologic Sequestration

The process of storing CO2 in underground geologic formations. The CO2 is usually pressurized until it becomes a liquid, and then it is injected into porous rock formations in geologic basins.

GHG Calculation Standards

Refers to the methodologies used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The Global Reporting Initiative is an nongovernmental standards organization that has created the most widely adopted voluntary sustainability reporting framework to help businesses, governments, and other organizations understand and communicate their non-financial impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights, and corruption. GRI is  also a collaborator with many standards organizations, such as ISSB, to complement  reporting on sustainability-related financial information.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

The ability of a greenhouse gas to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to CO2, over a given period of time, typically 100 years. GWP allows for the comparison of impacts of different gases. CO2 has a GWP of 1. The higher the GWP of a given gas, the more it traps heat and warms the Earth.

Greenhouse Gasses

Gasses that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect. The concentrations of these gasses are rising due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol)

The GHG Protocol is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. It sets the global standard for how to measure, manage, and report greenhouse gas emissions, providing companies and organizations with a clear framework to make emission reduction strategies.

Hybrid Method

 A combination of Activity-Based and Spend-Based methods for calculating emissions, using primary activity data where available and supplementing with spend-based data to fill gaps.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Synthetic greenhouse gasses used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and foam-blowing appliances, with a high global warming potential.

Indirect Emissions

Emissions that result from activities of an organization but are generated at sources owned or controlled by another organization.

International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)

The International Sustainability Standards Board was created by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation to develop a global baseline of reporting guidance to streamline capital market-focused disclosures. The ISSB created 2 standards (IFRS S1 and S2) that came into effect in January 2024.

Leakage

When efforts to reduce emissions in one location instead shift the emissions to another location, where they remain uncontrolled or uncounted.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

 A comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of a product or service throughout its lifespan, from the extraction of raw materials, through production, use, and final disposal. LCA is often used to calculate an item’s carbon footprint as part of carbon accounting.

Location-Based Calculation Method

A standard method of calculating carbon emissions based on the average emissions intensity of the electricity grid/fuel mix within the specific geographic area of the site where emissions are attributed.

Macroalgae Growth and Sequestration

Cultivating macroalgae and sinking it in the deep ocean, effectively sequestering the embodied CO2.

Market-Based Calculation Method

An alternative to the location-based method, it calculates carbon emissions based on the contractual instruments used to purchase electricity, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs). 

Methane (CH4)

A potent greenhouse gas that has a much higher heat-trapping ability than CO2 but a shorter atmospheric lifetime. Methane is released during the production and transport of fossil fuels, as well as from agricultural practices and the decomposition of organic waste.

Mineralization

A method of carbon removal in which atmospheric CO2 is transformed into a solid mineral. See also “Enhanced Weathering”.

Mitigation

A term used to describe a lowering of the concentration of GHGs and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Mobile Combustion

The burning of fossil fuels in transportation means, including automobiles, trains, ships, and aircraft.

Net Zero

A state in which the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere is counterbalanced by removing an equivalent amount of greenhouse gasses. Net zero requires emissions to be reduced as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions being addressed by carbon dioxide removal technologies.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Another potent greenhouse gas, released from agricultural, industrial, and land use activities, as well as the combustion of fossil fuels, and wastewater treatment. 

Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)

A potent synthetic greenhouse gas increasingly used in the production of electronics, such as photovoltaic (PV) cells and liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.

Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

Adding alkaline substances (e.g. olivine) to ocean water, which results in the conversion of dissolved CO2 into stable bicarbonate and carbonate molecules. As a result, the ocean can take up more CO2 to restore equilibrium.

Oceanic CDR

Solutions that use the ocean’s functions as a natural carbon sink and enhance the carbon sequestration capabilities of critical marine ecosystems.

Paris-Aligned

A carbon target consistent with the Paris Agreement’s commitment to limit global warming to well below 2°C greater than pre-Industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Synthetic gasses with an extremely high global warming potential used in various industrial processes, often in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

Permanence

A measure of the durability of carbon sequestration. The amount of time that carbon will remain sequestered rather than released back into the atmosphere.

Primary Data

Data that is collected or directly measured from specific sources of activities in a company’s value chain. This may include emissions data calculated by suppliers specific to their activities.

Process Emissions

Emissions directly resulting from a chemical or physical process, as in the case of a chemical reaction in an industrial furnace.

Product-Level Data

Specific data associated with manufacturing a product, including energy use, material use, and carbon emissions at each stage of production.

Proxy Data

Indirect or secondary data sources. When direct measurement is impractical (i.e. when primary data is unavailable or of poor quality), companies may use specific primary data from one activity to estimate emissions for another activity in their value chain. 

Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

The Science-Based Targets Initiative is a collaboration among CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. SBTi develops standards, tools, and guidance to assist companies in setting and validating near- and long-term targets in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement goals of limiting global temperature increase and achieving net zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Scope 1

Direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by an organization, such as fuel combusted onsite, in company-owned vehicles, and in industrial processes.

Scope 2

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by the reporting entity. Scope 2 emissions physically occur at the facility where they are generated, but are a result of the organization’s energy procurement activity.

Scope 3

All indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) that occur in the upstream and downstream value chain of an organization. This includes activities such as transportation, distribution, and use of the company’s products or services. Scope 3 emissions result from the activities of an organization, but occur from sources that are not owned or controlled by the organization.

Scope 3 Upstream Emissions

Emissions associated with the extraction, production, and delivery of purchased materials and services from an organization’s suppliers.

  • Purchased goods and services
  • Capital goods and services
  • Fuel and energy-related activities
  • Transportation and distribution
  • Operational waste
  • Business travel
  • Employee commuting
  • Leased assets
Scope 3 Downstream Emissions

Emissions related to an organization’s sold goods and services, distribution, and end-of-life treatment.

  • Transportation and distribution
  • Processing of sold products
  • Use of sold products
  • End-of-life of sold products
  • Leased assets
  • Franchises
  • Investments
Secondary Data

Data that is not directly measured or collected, but is sourced from a third-party database. Secondary data includes financial data, industry-average data, proxy data, and other generic data (from government statistics, published databases, studies, and industry associations).

Spend-Based Method

Calculating an organization’s emissions using  financial invoices and accounting data spent on various products or services.

Supplier-Specific Method

A technique used for Scope 3 carbon accounting that involves gathering data directly from suppliers. 

Soil Carbon Sequestration

Increasing the carbon content of soil through improved land management practices (e.g. agroforestry, cover crops, or no-till farming).

Stationary Combustion

The burning of fossil fuels in stationary sources, such as: boilers, furnaces, incinerators, and turbines, engines, and flares. 

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

A significant synthetic greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential, primarily used in the electrical industry for insulation in high-voltage circuit breakers.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board was established to provide guidance for reporting industry-specific, financially material ESG information. These standards identify the sustainability-related risks that may impact financial performance and enterprise value. For each industry, SASB includes an average of six disclosure topics and 13 accounting metrics across five dimensions: environment, social capital, human capital, business model and innovation, and leadership and governance.

Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures establishes a set of recommendations for disclosing information on the risks and opportunities associated with climate change to inform financial decision-making. TCFD provides 11 disclosure recommendations organized through 4 themes that reflect how organizations operate: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets. TCFD is a voluntary framework, but also serves as the basis for many statutory climate reporting requirements, such as those put in place by California, the EU, and the UK.

tCO2e

Metric tons of all GHGs. tCO2e is used to compare emissions from various GHGs on the basis of their global warming potential (GWP) by converting other amounts of GHGs to the equivalent of CO2. (Think of it as converting several different currencies into 1 euro. Because each currency is worth a different amount, you’d get a different equivalent in euros in return.)

Technological CDR

Engineered solutions that remove and sequester carbon from the atmosphere; these include fully engineered solutions as well as solutions that enhance natural carbon removal and sequestration processes with the assistance of engineered components.

Terrestrial CDR

Solutions that use the natural processes and capabilities of plants, soil, and microorganisms to sequester and store carbon out of the atmosphere.

Validation

An assessment of a project’s design and its potential to generate significant climate, community, and biodiversity benefits. This assessment is conducted prior to a project’s implementation, whereas a verification is conducted once the project is in-place.

Value Chain

Refers collectively to the upstream (supply chain) and downstream (product use and disposal) activities associated with a company and its products. Frequently used to refer to Scope 3 Emissions.

Verification

A rigorous assessment of a project’s implementation and confirmation of the delivery of multiple benefits (such as removals) during a specific time period.

Woody Biomass Burial

Harvesting and storing organic matter (biomass) underground in a way that prevents decomposition and the release of embodied CO2 back into the atmosphere.