Reductions in GHG emissions are additional if they would not have occurred in the absence of carbon finance.


Caused by human activities, as opposed to occurring without human influence.

Audit Trail

Chronological sequence of records containing evidence related to actions, transactions, and correspondence in a business deal.


Base Year

In GHG reporting and accounting, a year chosen as a basis against which future emissions are compared.

Baseline Emissions/ Removals

An estimate of what GHG emissions or removals would have been in the absence of a project or activity.


A term used to describe the variety of life found on Earth. A common measure is "species richness", i.e. the count of species found in an area, as is "pristineness" i.e. the extent to which a natural ecosystem has been disturbed.


A renewable energy source typically used to generate heat and electricity and made from non-fossil organic materials such as wood, waste, and straw.


GHG reporting boundaries identify the scope of inclusion for an assessment, whether it is an organisational, operational or geographical boundary.


Carbon Dioxide Equivalent

Measure of global warming calculated by applying the global warming potential to the emissions of each contributing greenhouse gas; used to express the normalized global warming impact of each greenhouse gas.

Carbon Sequestration

Net CO2 uptake and storage in biomass, soil or geological formations.

Carbon Stock

The quantity of carbon contained in an area.

Carbon Stock

The quantity of carbon contained in an area.


CDP (formally known as Carbon Disclosure Project) runs the largest global disclosure system, covering thousands of companies, cities, states and regions.

Climate Change

Long term change in global weather patterns; can be natural or anthropogenic.

Consolidation Approach

Method of determining the consolidation of GHG emissions in corporate reporting; can be control or equity share; if a company completely owns all its operations, the result of a carbon footprint will be identical regardless of the approach chosen; if a company shares joint responsibility, ownership, or financial control of some or all of its operations, the results of a footprint will differ depending on the chosen approach.


Describes the control of one company over another; can be either operational (authority over operating policies) or financial (authority over financial and operating policies); in GHG accounting, is one of two methods for consolidation.


Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a concept whereby a business takes responsibility for and interest in the impact of its activities on the environment, the community, on consumers, and on its employees.



The clearance or removal of forest on land that is then converted to a different land use; such as farms, ranches or urban uses.

Direct Emission

Emissions resulting from vehicles, machinery, and facilities that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.


Efficiency Ratio

Also known as a productivity ratio; a type of key performance indicator ratio expressing the value or achievement in question divided by the total emissions; e.g. production volume per amount of GHG.

Emission Factors

Emission factors are conversion factors applied to activity data to enable the conversion from raw data to estimated GHG emissions. In calculating GHG emissions from a particular source, geographically relevant and up-to-date factors should be sourced, and care must be taken when selecting the factor.

Equity Share

Method of consolidation in which a company allocates GHG emissions resulting from specific operations according to its share of equity in said operations; equity share is frequently the same as the ownership percentage, but this is not always the case.


Forest Degradation

The gradual loss of biomass or carbon stocks in forest, caused by human activities.

Fossil Fuel

Also known as mineral fuel; fuels derived from natural resources that have been dead on the scale of millions of years.

Fugitive Emission

Emissions that are not physically controlled but result from the intentional or unintentional release of GHGs; commonly arise from the production, processing, storage, and use of fuels and other chemicals, and leaks are often through joints, seals, packing, and gaskets, through activities such as waste water treatment, cooling, and gas processing.


Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.  The greenhouse gases (GHG) included in the atmospheric emissions are those covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). These gases contribute directly to global warming and climate change, because of their positive radiative forcing effect. The potential of each GHG to cause global warming is assessed in relation to a given weight of CO2, so all greenhouse gas emissions are measured as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

GHG Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Assessment of the sum of the GHG emissions associated with each stage of a product's life cycle (extraction, processing, production, distribution, use and disposal).

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

A Global Warming Potential (GWP) is an index of the warming potency of different gases, and can also be thought of as an estimate of how much a given mass of a specific greenhouse gas will contribute to climate change. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1, and all other gases are indexed relative to CO2. For example, methane has a GWP of 25 as it causes 25 times more warming than CO2 over a 100 year time period. A quantity of greenhouse gas is converted into carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by multiplying the mass of gas by its GWP.

Greenhouse Effect

Natural feature of the Earth’s atmosphere where atmospheric gases trap solar energy and thereby increase the Earth’s temperature.


Indirect Emissions

Emissions that are a result of the operations of an organisation but that occur at sources owned by another organisation. For example, business travel by air is an indirect emission of the organisation that is travelling and a direct emission of the organisation that owns the aircraft.

Intensity Ratio

Often labeled as “normalised” environmental impact data, they express GHG emissions per unit of activity or economic output; performance improvements are shown by decreasing intensity ratios (WBCSD/WRI).


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body that evaluates the risk associated with climate change presented by anthropogenic emissions and activities; IPCC published reports are widely respected in the field of climate change.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Figures obtained by ratios to present data in a familiar and comparable manner; useful way to communicate results on GHG assessments to stakeholders.



Materiality refers to the relevance and importance of GHG emissions and other sustainability factors in relation to a company's operations, performance, and impact on the environment and stakeholders. Materiality involves identifying which issues are most important for the company to consider and report on, in order to accurately and transparently communicate its sustainability performance to stakeholders.

Mobile Combustion

Burning (combustion) of fuels by mobile machinery, typically transportation devices, such as cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, and ships.



Emissions reductions credit purchased from a broker or offsetting organization; a monetary value is attributed to GHG emissions, measured in tonne of CO2e, which will be invested in projects aimed at reducing atmospheric greenhouse gases; offsets are bought and sold on national and international markets.

Operational Boundaries

Boundaries that define the direct and indirect emissions sources to be included in a GHG assessment.

Organisational Boundaries

The boundaries that define the organisation studied in a GHG assessment. The organisational boundary can be determined using either an equity share or control approach.


PPN 06/21

On June 21st, 2021 the UK government published an important Public Procurement Notice (PPN) stating that, by September 30th, 2021 every entity bidding on UK public contracts worth £5 million or more will be required to measure their carbon footprint and have a Net Zero target for 2050 in place.

Protected Forest Areas

A clearly legal and geographically defined area of forest that is designated for conservation or sustainable management (such as a forest reserve or national park).


Refrigerant Gas

Gas used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and other cooling systems; emissions from refrigerant gases released into the atmosphere have extremely high global warming potentials.

Reporting Metric

A reporting metric is a method of presenting GHG emissions data in a way that is relevant, familiar, and useful to an organization, and that facilitates the comparison of emissions over time. They are often industry-specific.

Reporting Period

Period of time, typically annual, covered by a single carbon footprint analysis.


Scope 1

There are three emissions scopes. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions sources resulting from company owned machinery, facilities, and vehicles; reporting of all scope 1 emissions is mandatory under the WBCSD/WRI protocol.

Scope 2

There are three emissions scopes. Scope 2 indirect emissions sources are associated with the generation of electricity, heat, steam and/or cooling; reporting of all scope 2 emissions is mandatory under the WBCSD/WRI protocol.

Scope 3

There are three emissions scopes. Scope 3 are indirect emissions which result from all other activities and sources not covered in scope 2. This includes business travel, commuting, waste, and 3rd party deliveries; reporting of all scope 3 emissions is typically not mandatory.


In the UK, the SECR (Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting) regulations replaced the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme on 1st April 2019 in an attempt to simplify reporting requirements whilst bringing almost 8,000 more businesses into the UK’s mandatory carbon reporting. The reporting requirement of energy and carbon for all large organisations in the UK (except for some exemptions, see below) is in line with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.


Individual, group, or organisation that has influence over and is influenced by or has a stake in the actions and decisions of an organisation.

Stationary Combustion

Burning (combustion) of fuels to generate electricity, steam, heat, or power in stationary equipment such as boilers, furnaces, heaters, and generators.

Supply Chain

A network of individuals and/or companies who are involved in making a product for a consumer. For example, the supply chain of a chocolate bar may include producers (who grow the raw materials), processors (who turn raw materials into something you can make chocolate from), logistics (who move the product through each stage of production), packaging and marketing.



Term describing the accessibility to the processes, procedures, assumptions, limitations, and calculations involved in a carbon footprint, and the clear and chronological documentation of supporting evidence and documents; a transparent assessment will be presented so that third party external verifiers and reviewers can re-create the assessment results.



In carbon footprints; general term referring to a lack of certainty in data, calculations, and analyses presented in GHG assessments; can result from data extrapolation, application of unreliable factors, and/or widespread or significant use of assumptions.



The World Business Council for Sustainable Development or WBSCD is a global association comprised of about 200 companies focused on the interactions, complexities, and opportunities between business and sustainable development. It is a reputable and internationally recognized source for emissions factors, reporting and accounting methodologies, and best practice solutions in sustainability.


World Resource’s Institute; environmental think tank and non profit organization established in 1982 with a focus on developing and promoting policies that protect the environment and its resources and enhance human life; the WRI created the GHG Protocol in 2001 in collaboration with the WBCSD and over 50 companies.