The envelope of gases surrounding the earth, or any other object in space. The air in Earth's atmosphere is made up of approximately 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Air also has small amounts of other gases too including carbon dioxide.
Biodiversity is a broad term to describe the variety of life within a single ecosystem or habitat; in all forms and interactions. It is a measure of variation at the genetic, species and ecosystem level. The health of Earth is at stake without biodiversity. It is essential for human health, well-being, economic prosperity, food safety and security among many other areas. But biodiversity is declining faster than at any other time in human history. The main reasons are changes in land use, climate change, pollution, as well as direct exploitation for example hunting and fishing.
Carbon dioxide is a chemical compound, also referred to as CO2 which is its formula of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. It is an important greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, despite making up less than 1% of the atmosphere. Increases in CO2 concentrations in Earth's atmosphere is helping to drive global warming. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is balanced through processes that increase the amount of CO2 - respiration of living things, for example - and processes that decrease the amount of CO2, for example photosynthesis. Over the past 100 years, carbon dioxide has been added to the atmosphere quicker than it has been removed.
Carbon emissions relates to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are both natural and human sources of carbon emissions but it is through human activities, like cement production and deforestation, that is driving increases in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Earth has a specific natural co₂ concentration and human activities have increased this beyond standard natural co₂ levels.
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, group or community. In order to tackle the climate crisis we all need to play a part in reducing our own carbon footprint at an individual, business and community level.
Carbon neutrality relates to the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks. To achieve Carbon Neutral status, an organisation must work to a carbon reduction plan, measuring and reducing operational carbon (minimum scope 1 and 2) and purchase gold standard offsets equivalent to their total carbon footprint. PAS 2060 is the specification by the British Standards Institution that details how to demonstrate carbon neutrality.
Carbon offset schemes allow individuals, groups and companies to invest in international environmental projects that balance out their own carbon footprints.
Any system that absorbs more carbon than it emits. The main ones being soil, forests and oceans. The carbon stored in natural sinks such as forests is released into the atmosphere through forest fires, changes in land use or logging.
Climate change refers to a large-scale and long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns and average temperatures. Since the mid -1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, resulting in a rise of global temperatures and ultimately long-term changes to the climate.
COP stands for Conference of the Parties and is attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994. The 2021 meeting will be the 26th meeting, therefore COP26. COP26 was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is set to take place in November 2021 in Glasgow. The summit is being described as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement. World leaders will be reporting on their progress towards the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the concept relating to companies integrating social and environmental concerns into their business operations and interactions with stakeholders. It is understood as the way a company achieves the balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives (the triple bottom line approach) while also managing expectations of shareholders and stakeholders.
Deforestation is the human-driven and natural loss of trees. More than half of all deforestation is caused by farming, grazing of livestock, mining and drilling. Forestry practices, wildfires and urbanisation account for the rest. Forests cover about 30% of the world's land area but this is reducing significantly. There are many reasons why deforestation matters including the threat to 80% of Earth's land animals and plants. In addition to this, deforestation releases carbon dioxide to the air and reduces the Earth's capacity to ability to absorb existing carbon dioxide. Our partner Cool Earth works with rainforest communities to halt deforestation and its impact on climate change.
Embodied carbon (sometimes known as embedded carbon) is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated during the production of a product. It is a common term for the carbon footprint of a building/infrastructure project just before the building is operational. This includes emissions caused by extraction, manufacture/processing, transportation and assembly of every product and element. In some cases, (depending on the boundary of an assessment), it may also include the maintenance, replacement, deconstruction, disposal and end-of-life aspects of the materials and systems that make up the asset. It excludes operational emissions of the product.
Emissions are the amount of a substance, most commonly gases like carbon dioxide, that are resealed to the atmosphere. Emissions that are not part of natural earth atmosphere composition and/or are released in higher than natural concentrations are harmful to the environment. At Planet Mark, we work with businesses to measure and reduce these harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. It measures the sustainability of a company against relevant issues associated with Environmental and Social Impacts and Governance. The investment community is increasingly using an organisations' ESG credentials to make informed investment decisions. Investors align strong corporate ESG performance with long-term growth and success. It means better climate resilience greater credibility and competitive advantage.
Fossil fuels are made from decomposing plants and other organisms that are buried beneath layers of sediment and rock that have become carbon-rich deposits over millions of years. These non-renewable fuels include coal, oil and natural gas. They supply the vast majority of the world's energy and, as such, are the primary contributors to climate change as they release carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The G7, or Group of Seven, was set up in 1975 as an informal forum bringing together the leaders of the world's industrial nations. The annual G7 summits have developed into a platform for shaping responses and action to global challenges. The summit gathers leaders from the European Union and Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. In 2021, the 47th G7 summit will be held in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
The agreement reached by nations at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. The pact includes a range of decisions that aim to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change. It is the first climate agreement explicitly planning to reduce unabated coal usage.
The rapid rise in average surface temperature on Earth since record keeping began in 1880. This rise in heat is caused by humans, significantly the combustion of fossil fuels. Throughout history, Earth has warmed and cooled but the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years.
Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet. The main gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor.
GRESB is The Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets, formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. It is one of the many organisations issuing standards for ESG performance disclosure for real estate owners, asset managers and developers. It was founded in the Netherlands in 2009 and it helps real estate investors assess the sustainability performance of commercial real estate portfolios.
The natural environment occupied by a community of species. This could be a forest, desert or sea shore, for example.
Inclusivity is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, gender, age or disability.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as providing solutions to adaptation and mitigation.
KPI's are quantitative benchmarks for the performance of your business
LCA, or Life Cycle Assesment, is the analysis of the carbon emissions associated with products or services during their entire life cycle. This also includes the upstream (for example, suppliers) and downstream (for example, waste management) processes associated with the production, use phase and disposal.
Fragments of plastic that measure less than five millimetres. They can come from a variety of sources including synthetic fibres, microbeads from health and beauty products and larger plastics that break down. Microplastics are everywhere: in the soil, water and air, even found in the Arctic and Antarctica. They are harmful due to their persistence and the chemicals they are made of.
Nature based solutions are actions to protect, manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems by addressing societal challenges. A nature based solution uses existing natural tools to address issues resulting from poor land or resource use, climate change or societal challenges.
Measuring Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero, and Scope 3 by a minimum of 50%, and balancing any residual Scope 3 emissions using accredited carbon removal schemes. To be net zero carbon a business can also be carbon neutral.
Relating to foods, products or farming methods produced from natural sources. Or involving production without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.
The reason that something exists or is done, made or used. A company's purpose is bigger than its product or service - it's the who and why. It should drive your major decisions. In this Decade of Action, having a positive impact on planet and society should guide businesses' purpose.
The act of recycling is breaking down and reusing materials that otherwise would have been thrown away. Typical materials that are recycled are plastic, glass botttles, paper, wood and aluminum cans. Recycling reduced the quantities of waste in landfills and also reduces pollution of air, water and land resulting from waste disposal.
Regeneration is the process if bringing something into a renewed existence. A regenerative business is aware if its place in its wider ecosystem and looks to operate in a way that reflects this.
Renewable energy comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished, for example solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy. It is referred to as clean energy as it offers lower emissions of carbon and other types of pollution.
Greenhouse gas emissions are broken down into three categories in order to better understand the source according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Scope 1 includes all direct emissions from the activities of company-owned and controlled resources. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy from a utility provider. Scope 3 includes all the indirect emissions not included in Scope 2 that occur in the value chain of the reporting company.
SECR, or Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting, is a UK government policy that was implemented on 1 April 2019. It aims to bring the benefits of energy and carbon reporting to businesses through encouraging the implementation of energy efficiency measures that helps businesses to cut costs and make a positive impact on the planet. If your company is within the scope of SECR you will have to report on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions through your annual report. By achieving Planet Mark certification you already meet the criteria set out in the SECR guidelines.
Social value is an umbrella term to describe the wider economic, social and environmental effects of a business' actions. It is the net social and environmental benefits generated by an organisation to society through its corporate and community activities reported as financial performance. At Planet Mark business can choose to measure their social value alongside their carbon footprint, providing a more holistic view of their impact on planet and society.
TCFD is the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures established by The Financial Stability Board. The goal is to develop recommendations for more effective climate-related disclosures to promote better informed investment, credit and insurance underwriting decisions. This would allow stakeholders to better understand the concentrations of carbon-related assets in the financial sector. In 2017, the TFCD released climate-related financial disclosure recommendations to help companies provide better information to support informed capital allocation.
There are 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) which recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth. Tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests underpins these. Planet Mark businesses and Planet Mark itself are contributing to these goals through the measurement and reduction of their carbon emissions.
Zero carbon emissions means that no carbon is emitted in the first place.