Welcome to Cloudsyte's Glossary! Here, you can find explanations for some of the technical terms and concepts related to sustainability compliance and our software. We hope this resource will help you better understand how Cloudsyte can support your organization in meeting its sustainability goals and fulfilling its regulatory obligations.
Adaptation is the process of taking actions to mitigate or manage the negative impacts of climate change. It involves making adjustments to natural or human systems in response to the observed or expected impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, more frequent heatwaves, or more intense storms. Adaptation can take many forms, including building sea walls to protect against rising sea levels, developing drought-resistant crops, or improving the resilience of infrastructure to extreme weather events. Adaptation is an important part of a comprehensive response to climate change, as it helps to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to the impacts of a changing climate. It is also an important part of many climate action plans and strategies.
The variety of plant and animal life within a particular habitat or ecosystem.
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for or offset an emission made elsewhere. Carbon offsets are often used by individuals or organizations that want to reduce their carbon footprint or contribute to climate change mitigation efforts, but are unable to eliminate all of their GHG emissions. By purchasing carbon offsets, they can support projects that reduce GHG emissions, such as renewable energy projects or reforestation efforts.
There are many ways to generate carbon offsets, including:
Reducing GHG emissions through energy efficiency measures
Capturing and destroying GHGs, such as methane
Planting and preserving forests, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Developing and implementing renewable energy projects
Carbon offsets are typically bought and sold through carbon offset projects or carbon offset providers. The quality of carbon offsets can vary, so it is important to do due diligence and ensure that the offsets you purchase are high quality and verifiable.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by an individual, organization, or product over a certain period of time. It is typically expressed in terms of the equivalent amount of CO2 emissions. A carbon footprint can be calculated for a wide range of activities, including transportation, energy use, and the production of goods and services.
There are three main types of carbon footprint:
Scope 1 emissions: Direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by the organization, such as vehicles and boilers.
Scope 2 emissions: Indirect GHG emissions from the consumption of electricity, heat, or steam by the organization.
Scope 3 emissions: Other indirect GHG emissions that result from the activities of the organization, but which are not included in Scope 2, such as the use of products or services, business travel, and waste disposal.
Calculating an organization's carbon footprint can help it to identify the main sources of its GHG emissions and to develop strategies for reducing those emissions. It can also be used to support sustainability reporting and to demonstrate the organization's commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
Climate action plan
A climate action plan is a document that outlines an organization's goals and strategies for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and addressing climate change. It typically includes a baseline assessment of the organization's current GHG emissions, as well as targets and deadlines for reducing those emissions. A climate action plan may also include strategies for adapting to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or extreme weather events. Climate action plans are developed by governments, businesses, and other organizations as a way to meet their climate-related obligations and commitments, such as those under the Paris Agreement. They are an important tool for helping organizations to transition to a low-carbon economy and for reducing the negative impacts of GHG emissions on the environment and human health. READ MORE - Roadmap to developing a Sustainability Action (SAP).
Conflict Minerals monitoring
The process of tracking the source and supply chain of minerals, such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold, to ensure that they are not being sourced from areas of conflict or human rights abuses. Many companies have adopted conflict minerals policies to ensure that their supply chains are free of these minerals. READ MORE.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the voluntary commitment of a company to consider the social and environmental impacts of its business activities and to take responsibility for those impacts. CSR encompasses a wide range of activities, including philanthropy, sustainability, and ethical business practices. It is often guided by the principles of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), which assess an organization's impact on the environment, its treatment of employees and other stakeholders, and its overall governance practices. Companies may engage in CSR activities for a variety of reasons, including to improve their reputation, attract and retain customers, and attract and retain employees. CSR and ESG are becoming increasingly important to investors, consumers, and other stakeholders, who are seeking to support companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. Benefits of adopting ESG.
Decarbonization is the process of reducing the carbon content of an economy, industry, or system. It is typically focused on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are the main driver of climate change.
There are many ways to decarbonize an economy, industry, or system, including:
Increasing the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power
Improving energy efficiency, which means using less energy to perform the same tasks
Planting and preserving forests, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
Adopting low-carbon technologies and practices in the transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors
Decarbonization is an important goal for many countries, organizations, and businesses as a way to mitigate climate change and reduce the negative impacts of GHG emissions on the environment and human health. It is also an important component of many sustainability strategies and goals.
The measure of how much economic output is produced for each unit of environmental impact.
Enhanced Supplier Screening
A process of evaluating and verifying the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices of a company's suppliers. Enhanced supplier screening is often used to identify and address potential risks in the supply chain, such as environmental impacts, labor abuses, and corruption. READ MORE.
Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the potential impacts of a proposed project or development on the environment. EIAs are typically required for large or controversial projects, such as major infrastructure projects, industrial developments, or large-scale land use changes. The purpose of an EIA is to identify and assess the potential environmental impacts of a project, and to identify measures to mitigate or manage those impacts. An EIA typically includes a description of the project and its proposed location, an assessment of the baseline environmental conditions, an analysis of the potential impacts of the project, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. The results of an EIA are used to inform decision-making and to ensure that the project is designed and implemented in an environmentally responsible manner.
Full Material Declaration (FMD)
A document that provides detailed information about the materials used in a product, including their chemical composition and potential environmental impacts. FMDs are often used by companies to demonstrate their compliance with regulations and to support sustainability reporting. READ MORE.
Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL)
A list of hazardous chemicals that are commonly used in the automotive industry and that must be disclosed to regulators and supply chain partners. The GADSL is managed by the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL) Technical Committee, which is made up of representatives from automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and regulatory agencies. READ MORE.
Materiality in sustainability refers to the process of determining which sustainability-related issues are most relevant and important to an organization and its stakeholders. It is the process of identifying the topics that are significant enough to impact an organization's ability to create value in the short and long term. Materiality helps organizations to focus their sustainability efforts on the areas that matter most, and that have the greatest potential to create value for the organization and its stakeholders. Learn More.
Materiality prioritization index
A materiality prioritization index or matrix is a tool used to help organizations determine which sustainability-related issues are most relevant and important to their operations and stakeholders. The index or matrix can take various forms, but typically includes a list of sustainability topics, along with a set of criteria for evaluating the relevance and importance of each topic. Learn More
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a US federal law enacted in 1970 that requires federal agencies to evaluate the environmental impacts of proposed projects, including manufacturing plants, before making a decision. NEPA requires agencies to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for major federal actions that could significantly affect the environment. The EIS must assess the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project, including both direct and indirect effects, and consider alternatives that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts.
Triple bottom line
The triple bottom line (TBL) is a framework for evaluating the performance of a company or organization based on three pillars: economic, social, and environmental. The TBL is also known as the three pillars of sustainability or the three Ps: profit, people, and planet.
The economic pillar refers to the financial performance of the organization, including profits, revenue, and growth. The social pillar refers to the impact of the organization on people, including employees, customers, and the wider community. The environmental pillar refers to the organization's impact on the environment, including GHG emissions, resource use, and waste generation.
The TBL was developed as an alternative to traditional measures of corporate performance, which focus solely on financial indicators. It is based on the idea that a company's success should be measured in terms of its economic, social, and environmental impacts, and that these impacts should be balanced in order to achieve long-term sustainability. Many companies and organizations now report on their TBL performance as a way to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to provide a more complete picture of their impact.
A California law that requires companies to provide warning labels on products that contain certain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Proposition 65 also requires companies to report the use of these chemicals to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). READ MORE.
REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals)
A European Union (EU) regulation that aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals. REACH requires companies that manufacture, import, or use chemicals in the EU to register these substances with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and provide information about their properties and uses. READ MORE.
RoHS compliance refers to meeting the EU's regulations on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. It covers lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBBs, and PBDEs. RoHS helps protect human health and the environment by reducing the use of toxic substances in consumer products. READ MORE.
Sustainability compliance and policy
Sustainability compliance refers to the process of ensuring that an organization meets the environmental, social, and economic standards and regulations related to sustainability. It involves adhering to laws, regulations, and guidelines that aim to protect the environment and promote social and economic sustainability. Sustainability compliance helps organizations to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable business practices and to minimize the negative impact of their operations on the environment and society.
Sustainability compliance can cover a range of topics, including climate change, energy efficiency, waste management, water management, occupational health and safety, product safety, human rights, responsible supply chain management, and financial stability. Companies may also choose to comply with sustainability certifications and standards, such as ISO 14001, LEED, or BREEAM. The process of sustainability compliance typically involves monitoring, reporting, and tracking sustainability metrics and demonstrating compliance through certifications and audits. READ MORE.
SCIP (Substances of Concern In articles, as such or in complex objects)
A database maintained by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) that contains information about chemicals of concern that are used in articles, such as finished products, components, and packaging materials. The SCIP database is intended to help companies comply with their obligations under the REACH regulation. READ MORE.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The SDGs are interconnected, meaning that progress in one area can help to drive progress in others. The 17 goals are:
Good Health and Well-being
Clean Water and Sanitation
Affordable and Clean Energy
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
Life Below Water
Life On Land
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Partnerships for the Goals
The SDGs are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. They are a universal call for action to create a more sustainable future for all, and companies are increasingly being asked to report on how they are contributing to the achievement of the SDGs and providing context and insight into their specific ESG efforts.
TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act)
A U.S. law that gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate the manufacture, use, and disposal of chemicals that may pose a risk to human health or the environment. TSCA requires companies to provide the EPA with information about the chemicals they manufacture or import, and the EPA has the power to restrict or ban the use of certain chemicals. READ MORE.
Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA)
A U.S. law that prohibits the import of goods made by forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. The UFLPA requires companies to conduct due diligence and take steps to ensure that their supply chains are free of forced labor. READ MORE.