Certification and Eco-labels

Eco-labels—Third-party certification (i.e., audited by a disinterested party) that guarantees certain levels of environmental or sustainable performance.

Reference: The Food Alliance website has a good listing of different eco-labels and comparisons.

Carbon Offsets or Credits

Carbon offsets—Fees paid to offset carbon emissions through the greenhouse gas reduction actions of others.

Some of the places to buy carbon credits: The Climate Trust, Chicago Climate Exchange, or the World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund

Emerging Pollutants

Emerging pollutants—A group of chemicals often found in very small concentrations in rivers and other parts of nature. Even though the concentrations are small, these chemicals are becoming increasingly of concern because they may mimic hormones, bioaccumulate, or have other harmful environmental effects.

UV - Ultra-violet light

UV—Ultra-violet light, sometimes used to treat water by destroying DNA in water-borne microorganisms. May be considered more sustainable than other treatments such as chlorination.

Triple Bottom Line

Triple bottom line—A sustainability framework based on United Nations sustainable development models (e.g., Agenda 21); sometimes referred to as social, economic, environment or people, planet, profits. Subtly different but similar to Three E's (economy, environment and social equity). Often referred to as corporate social responsiblity.

While this can be a useful organizing structure, it must be combined with other framework(s) that take into account the limits of nature to suffice as a sustainablity strategy.

Reference: www.bsr.org

Natural Step (TNS)

The Natural Step—A sustainability framework based on science. Includes four 'system conditions' or rules for a sustainable human society.

Reference: www.naturalstep.org

MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet

MSDS—Material Safety Data Sheet, a document that must accompany products with human health risks. These provide information about the contents of the product, risks, proper use and emergency/spill response procedures

LEED - Green Building

LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally accepted scoring system for buildings to assess their environmental features. Usually refers to new construction.

LEED-EB—LEED for Existing Buildings, a process and scoring system for operating and remodeling existing buildings.

Reference: www.usgbc.org

IPM - Integrated Pest Management

IPM—Integrated Pest Management, a set of methods that minimizes but does not completely eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides.

EMS - Environmental Management System

EMS—Environmental Management System, a method for creating continuous improvement in environmental performance. The 'gold standard' for EMS's is ISO-14001.