Carbon Accounting: A Glossary of frequently used terms and concepts

This glossary is a handy guide for anyone who wants to learn more about carbon accounting, whether you are a beginner or an expert. It covers the most common terms and concepts in this field.


Activity Data

Activity data in carbon accounting refers to the information used to calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is often assumed to be readily available and in a standard, precise format. However, data providers rarely produce primary data in the exact formats needed for GHG estimation. Therefore, GHG emissions inventory compilers and mitigation analysts must construct methods and tools to process raw statistical data into the complete and clean “useable” data required by existing emissions calculation, projections, and reporting tools Example: In fuel combustion, the activity data might be the amount of fuel used in litres or tons.


Additionality refers to the extent to which a carbon credit contributes to an emissions reduction or carbon removal that would not have occurred without the carbon finance generated through credit sales. It is applied to carbon offset projects and is the requirement for any activity that claims an amount of emission reduction to be over and above what would have happened in the absence of a carbon market incentive. This concept is integral to the policies created for carbon accounting and is often used to justify a claim that an activity actually reduces emissions.
Example: A reforestation project can claim additionality if the area wouldn't have naturally regrown without the project's intervention.


In the context of carbon accounting, Allocation refers to the boundary setting rules and norms that assign responsibility for emissions to an accounting subject—such as a company, country, city, or facility—when applying physical allocational accounting methods (e.g., emission inventories). This concept is fundamental to GHG and broader environmental accounting. The term allocation is also used in the product life cycle assessment (LCA) literature, which more narrowly refers to allocation only as the apportioning of emissions released from a single process to each of a set of co-products that the single process produces. However, when setting the GHG inventory accounting boundaries for a company, we are choosing what emissions that company will be allocated responsibility for. The same logic applies to other types of accounting subjects, such as countries, cities, facilities, or products. It’s important to note that assigning responsibility through allocation rules does not mean that a GHG inventory accounts for all emissions that a subject does or could influence through its actions.

API Services (Application Programming Interfaces):

“API Services” in carbon accounting refers to the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to facilitate the calculation and management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These services allow for real-time, automated calculations of GHG emissions based on activity data. They can integrate with existing software systems, providing a seamless way to incorporate carbon accounting into various business operations. This can include everything from tracking emissions in supply chains to assessing the carbon footprint of cloud computing activities.


An "asset" in the realm of sustainability and carbon analytics refers to any tangible or intangible resource owned, controlled, or utilised by an organisation to support its operations. Tangible assets may include equipment, machinery, buildings, and vehicles, while intangible assets can encompass intellectual property, patents, or licences. Properly managing and monitoring assets is essential for optimising resource efficiency, reducing emissions, and assessing the environmental impact of an organisation's activities.


Baseline Emissions

Baseline Emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by a business, country, or other entity before any actions are taken to reduce these emissions. This is often calculated by looking at a ‘baseline emissions period’, usually the past 1 - 5 years of an organisation’s activity. The baseline serves as a reference point against which future GHG emissions will be measured. It’s crucial in assessing the effectiveness of any action or policy addressing climate change. However, it’s important to note that establishing a baseline can be complex as it involves predicting what would have happened in the absence of any interventions.

Base year

The base year refers to a specific year chosen as the reference point for tracking GHG emissions over time. It provides a starting point for comparison of emissions in subsequent years.
Example: A company might select 2020 as its base year and compare its 2025 emissions to this reference point to gauge progress.


Bio-oil is a liquid product generated from the fast pyrolysis of biomass. It's used as a renewable fuel source or chemical feedstock, offering a potential alternative to fossil-based oils.
Example: Certain power plants might switch from using crude oil to bio-oil to reduce their carbon footprint.


Cap and trade

Cap and trade is a market-based approach to controlling pollution. Governments set a "cap" on total emissions, and companies are allocated or can buy/sell emission allowances.
Example: If Company A reduces its emissions below its allocated amount, it can sell its extra allowances to Company B, which might exceed its limit.

Carbon Accounting

The systematic and meticulous process of tracking, measuring, and assessing carbon emissions throughout an entity's operations, offering a clear understanding of its environmental impact. Carbon accounting aids in formulating sustainable policies, setting reduction targets, and demonstrating commitment to environmental responsibility.
Example: A corporation might use carbon accounting to calculate its yearly CO₂e emissions from operations

Carbon Analytics

A cutting-edge platform that empowers businesses to comprehensively quantify, measure, assess, and take informed actions to reduce their carbon emissions. It utilises advanced data analytics and reporting tools to drive sustainable practices and enhance environmental responsibility.

CO₂e (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent)

CO₂e is a standard unit that allows us to express the impact of various greenhouse gases in terms of the amount of CO₂ that would have the equivalent global warming potential (GWP). Different GHGs have different potentials to cause global warming. By converting the potential of other GHGs into the equivalent impact of CO₂, it simplifies comparisons and analysis across various gases.
For example:
- Methane (CH₄) has a GWP many times higher than CO₂ over a specific time horizon. This means that releasing 1 metric ton of methane into the atmosphere is equivalent, in terms of its warming potential, to releasing many times that of CO₂ over that time horizon.
- Nitrous oxide (N₂O) is another GHG with a GWP higher than CO₂.
By converting all GHG emissions into CO₂e, it allows policymakers, researchers, businesses, and other stakeholders to have a single, consistent metric to work with, making it easier to develop strategies, set targets, and monitor progress in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon Footprint

The comprehensive measure of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), produced directly or indirectly by an individual, organisation, event, or product over a specific time period. It quantifies the environmental impact and serves as a vital metric to guide emissions reduction strategies.
Example: The carbon footprint of a car includes emissions from its manufacturing, fuel consumption, and eventual disposal.

Carbon Intensity

The amount of carbon (CO2) emissions produced per unit of output or specific activity. It’s a key metric that helps businesses, countries, and other entities understand their environmental impact in relation to their productivity or revenue. This differs from carbon footprint, which measures emissions incurred in the production, processing, transportation, and distribution of an energy product. Carbon intensity takes into account both the footprint and the energy content of the resulting energy product. 

Carbon Leakage

This refers to the scenario where the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in one country leads to an increase in emissions in another country. This typically occurs when a company moves its operations from a country with strict climate policies to one with more lenient regulations. The term is used to quantify this increase in emissions

Carbon Negative

Carbon negative refers to a state where a company, sector, or country removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits. This concept is crucial in meeting ambitious international climate goals, which may require global CO2 emissions to fall below zero in the second half of this century, achieving what is known as net negative emissions.
Various strategies and technologies are being explored to achieve carbon negativity, including carbon capture and storage, reforestation, and the use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.
Example: A company that captures and stores more CO₂ than it emits from its operations is considered carbon negative

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon Neutrality is a state where the net greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of a company, sector, or country are zero. This means that the amount of GHGs emitted is equal to the amount removed from the atmosphere. Achieving carbon neutrality requires a combination of reducing emissions and implementing carbon offset strategies such as carbon capture and storage, reforestation, and the use of renewable energy. It’s an important goal pursued by various organisations across the world to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Example: A company might become carbon neutral by reducing its emissions and purchasing carbon offsets for the remainder.

Carbon Neutrality vs. Net Zero

Carbon neutrality and “net zero” are both environmental goals, but they differ in scope and comprehensiveness. “Carbon neutrality” is achieved when the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by human activities is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed from the atmosphere, often through carbon offsetting strategies. This term specifically refers to CO2 emissions.
On the other hand, “net zero” refers to the broader goal of balancing the amount of all greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by human activities with the amount removed from the atmosphere. This includes not only CO2, but also other GHGs like methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The strategies to achieve net zero can include emissions reduction efforts, carbon capture and storage technologies, and natural carbon sinks.

Carbon Offsetting

The practice of compensating for carbon emissions by investing in projects that reduce or remove an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, contributing to overall emissions reduction efforts.

Carbon Rating

A comprehensive evaluation of an entity's carbon performance against industry-specific benchmarks and established sustainability standards. This rating system assists in benchmarking, comparing performance, and striving for continuous improvement in emissions reduction and sustainable practices.

Carbon reduction

Carbon reduction refers to the strategies and actions taken to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), that are released into the atmosphere. This can be achieved through various means, such as improving energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy sources, implementing carbon capture and storage technologies, and promoting sustainable practices in various sectors. Carbon reduction is a critical component of efforts to mitigate climate change and achieve sustainability goals.
Example: Switching from coal-fired power plants to solar energy is a carbon reduction strategy.

Carbon removal

Carbon removal refers to the process of capturing and removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This can be achieved through various methods, including natural processes like reforestation and technological solutions like direct air capture. Carbon removal is a critical strategy for mitigating climate change, as it can help to reduce the overall concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s a relatively new field, and developing a broad portfolio of technologies and approaches will be critical to reducing risks and costs and ensuring there is capacity to remove carbon from the air at the levels needed in coming decades.
Example: Afforestation, where trees are planted on previously unused land, is a form of carbon removal.

Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of mitigating global climate change. The process can be both natural, such as through plants and soils, or artificial, such as through geologic formations.
Example: Oceans, through the absorption of CO₂, act as natural carbon sequestration systems.

Carbon sink

Carbon sink refers to natural or artificial reservoirs that absorb and store the planet’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This process helps to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Natural carbon sinks include forests and oceans, which absorb CO2 through biological processes. Artificial carbon sinks involve human activities like reforestation and carbon capture and storage technologies. Carbon sinks play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and are essential for mitigating climate change.
Example: Forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing CO₂ during photosynthesis and storing it in their biomass.

Carbon target

Carbon target refers to the specific goal set by a company, sector, or country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. These targets are often part of broader sustainability strategies and can be set in absolute terms (e.g., reduce emissions by X tons) or relative terms (e.g., reduce emissions by X% per unit of output). Carbon targets are crucial for guiding mitigation efforts and are often used to track progress towards meeting international climate commitments. They also play a key role in carbon governance and can influence the carbon performance of organisations.

Carbon tax

Carbon tax is a levy imposed on the carbon content of fossil fuels. The tax is collected from fuel suppliers, who then pass on the cost in the form of higher prices for electricity, gasoline, heating oil, and other products and services. The aim of a carbon tax is to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by making fossil fuel use more expensive. It’s a market-based strategy for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and is considered an effective tool for addressing climate change.
Example: A country might impose a carbon tax of $50 per ton of CO₂ emitted by industries.


CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, is a not-for-profit charity that provides a global platform for companies and cities to disclose their environmental impacts. It’s considered the gold standard for corporate environmental reporting. CDP gathers environmental performance data, enabling stakeholders and investors to easily access climate information.

Climate investment

Climate investment refers to the allocation of capital towards initiatives that mitigate the effects of climate change. This includes investing in renewable energy technologies, energy-efficient infrastructure, and other projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate positive

Climate positive describes a state where an entity, such as a company or a country, removes more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it emits. This goes beyond achieving net-zero emissions (carbon neutrality) and results in a net decrease in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Climate positive actions can include a combination of reducing emissions, enhancing natural carbon sinks, and utilising carbon capture and storage technologies.
Example: A brand that offsets 110% of its carbon emissions is considered climate positive.

Climate Risk Assessment

The process of identifying and evaluating the potential effects of climate change on an organisation. This includes both physical risks, such as damage to assets from extreme weather events, and transition risks, such as policy changes or technological advancements that could impact a company’s operations. The assessment helps organisations understand their exposure to climate risks and develop strategies to manage these risks.
For example, a company might assess its risk of flooding due to sea-level rise and decide to relocate its facilities to a safer location. It’s important to note that climate risk assessments should be integrated into an organisation’s overall risk management process and be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

CO₂ mineralisation

CO₂ mineralisation is a carbon removal technique that transforms atmospheric CO2 into a solid mineral. This process occurs naturally when certain rocks are exposed to CO2, but it can be accelerated using technology. By converting CO2 into a stable, solid form, CO₂ mineralisation provides a long-term storage solution for carbon, which helps to decrease the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 


The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It’s an annual conference attended by countries that are party to the UNFCCC. The COP reviews the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and takes decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements. The COP plays a crucial role in setting global standards for climate action, including carbon accounting.

Corporate sustainability

The integration of environmental, social, and governance issues into a company’s business model and strategy. It involves the measurement and management of a company’s carbon footprint, which is often disclosed through sustainability reporting.


“CSR” or Corporate Social Responsibility refers to the commitment by businesses to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employees, their families, the local community, and society at large to improve their lives in ways that are good for business and for development. This includes efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.In the context of carbon accounting, CSR involves measuring, disclosing, and communicating information about a company’s environmental impact, including its carbon emissions. This can be done through sustainability reporting, which often includes disclosures on carbon emissions related to Scope 1 (direct emissions), Scope 2 (indirect emissions from energy purchased), and Scope 3 (other indirect emissions) as required by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).For example, a company might implement energy-efficient practices in its operations to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its CSR strategy. It might also invest in renewable energy projects or participate in carbon offset programs to further reduce its environmental impact. These actions not only help the company fulfil its social responsibility but also enhance its reputation and potentially provide a competitive advantage.

CSRD Reporting (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive)

The “Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)” is a directive by the European Union that aims to improve the flow of sustainability information in the corporate world. It requires companies to report on a wide range of sustainability matters, including their environmental impact and carbon emissions. The CSRD is designed to ensure that companies provide reliable and comparable sustainability information, which is crucial for investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters. This directive applies to large companies and all publicly listed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as listed and non-listed companies in the banking and insurance sectors. It’s important to note that the CSRD is part of the EU’s broader strategy to integrate sustainability considerations into its financial policy framework and mobilise finance for sustainable growth.
Example: A European manufacturing company might publish an annual report in line with CSRD guidelines to showcase its sustainability initiatives.



The systematic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from human activities. It involves identifying emission sources, setting emission reduction targets, implementing sustainable practices, and transitioning to renewable energy sources. The ultimate goal of decarbonisation is to eliminate CO2 emissions.
For example, a company might develop a decarbonisation strategy that includes increasing energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, and investing in carbon capture and storage technologies. This strategy would be part of the company’s broader sustainability efforts and would be reflected in its carbon accounting.

Direct air capture

Direct air capture (DAC) is a technology that captures CO₂ directly from the ambient air and stores it or uses it as a raw material.
Example: A DAC plant might capture CO₂ from the air and then store it underground in geological formations.


Double-counting in the carbon market refers to the scenario where a single emission reduction is claimed by more than one entity or for more than one purpose.
Example: If a company sells carbon credits from a reforestation project and also claims those reductions for its own carbon neutrality, it results in double-counting.

Downstream emissions

Downstream emissions are GHG emissions resulting from the use and end-of-life treatment of goods and services produced by an entity.
Example: For an automaker, the emissions from the combustion of fuel in cars they've sold are considered downstream emissions.


Enhanced weathering

Enhanced weathering is a geoengineering technique that accelerates the natural weathering process to capture and store CO₂ from the atmosphere in the form of stable minerals.
Example: Spreading pulverised silicate rocks on farmland can promote enhanced weathering, as the rocks react with CO₂ and convert it into stable carbonates.

Emissions Factor

A coefficient that quantifies the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced per unit of activity, energy, or spending. Emission factors play a pivotal role in quantifying GHG emissions and understanding the environmental impact of various activities, processes, or products. They are typically expressed as the mass of a gas per unit of the emissions-producing activity or material input, such as kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per tonne of bituminous coal combusted.

Emission Factors Database

A repository of emission coefficients for various activities, sectors, and regions. These factors enable accurate calculations of greenhouse gas emissions based on specific inputs.

Emissions Intensity

The ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to a specific unit of output, enabling comparison of emissions efficiency across different processes, products, or industries.

ESG reporting

ESG reporting involves disclosing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance metrics by businesses to showcase their sustainability and ethical efforts.
Example: A corporation might release an annual ESG report, highlighting its water conservation initiatives, employee welfare programs, and board diversity.

EU Taxonomy

The EU Taxonomy is a classification system introduced by the European Union, defining environmentally sustainable economic activities to guide investments and policy-making.
Example: Under the EU Taxonomy, a renewable energy project might be classified as a sustainable activity eligible for green financing.


Fugitive emissions

Fugitive emissions are unintentional GHG releases during the production, processing, transmission, storage, and use of fossil fuels.
Example: Methane leaks from natural gas pipelines are considered fugitive emissions.



Gap in carbon accounting is a term that refers to the difference between the greenhouse gas emissions reported by countries or companies and the actual emissions that occur in reality. This gap can arise due to various factors, such as incomplete or inaccurate data, different accounting methods, or intentional underreporting.

GHG Emissions (Greenhouse Gas Emissions)

These gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change. Measuring and managing GHG emissions is crucial for sustainable development.

GHG protocol

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a joint initiative of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It provides accounting and reporting standards, sector guidance, calculation tools, and training for businesses and governments. The GHG Protocol has created a comprehensive, global, standardised framework for measuring and managing emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains, products, cities, and policies. It categorises greenhouse gases into Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 based on the source. The GHG Protocol is considered the global standard for corporate accounting and reporting emissions

Global Reporting Standards & Protocols

Internationally recognised frameworks that guide organisations in reporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data, ensuring transparency and comparability.


Greenwashing refers to deceptive practices where an organisation falsely claims or exaggerates its environmental benefits, often for marketing purposes.
Example: A company might label a product as "eco-friendly" despite having minimal sustainable attributes, engaging in greenwashing.


Global Reporting Initiative, an independent, international organisation that helps businesses and other organisations take responsibility for their impacts by providing them with a global common language to communicate those impacts. The GRI Standards are the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting. In the context of carbon accounting, the GRI provides specific standards for reporting emissions, including direct (Scope 1), energy indirect (Scope 2), and other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions. These standards play a crucial role in enabling organisations to measure, manage, and report their carbon footprints


Indirect emissions

Indirect emissions are GHG emissions that are a consequence of an entity's activities but occur from sources owned or controlled by a different entity.
Example: The emissions produced by a power plant supplying electricity to a company's office are considered the company's indirect emissions.

Interactive Dashboards

Dynamic visual tools that present real-time data in a user-friendly manner. They enable users to explore and analyse complex emission data, facilitating effective decision-making and providing actionable insights for optimising sustainability efforts.


Lifecycle Assessment (LCA)

LCA is a systematic, cradle-to-grave analysis that quantifies the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life. It generally involves four main stages: goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation. LCA provides a comprehensive view of the environmental aspects of the product or process and a sound basis for informed decision-making. It’s particularly useful in carbon accounting as it quantifies greenhouse gas emissions, helping organisations identify hotspots and opportunities for reduction.


Net Zero

Achieving a state where the amount of emitted greenhouse gases is equal to the amount removed from the atmosphere, creating a balance and reducing the impact of climate change.
Example: A city might aim to become net zero by 2050, meaning it will offset or remove all its emissions by that year.

Net zero journey

A net zero journey refers to the series of steps and strategies an organisation or nation undertakes to achieve a net zero carbon status over time.
Example: A company's net zero journey might include milestones like sourcing 50% renewable energy by 2025 and complete decarbonization of its supply chain by 2040.

Net Zero Programme Management

Strategic planning and implementation of initiatives aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This involves setting clear emissions reduction targets, developing and implementing strategies to achieve these targets, and monitoring and reporting on progress. It requires a comprehensive understanding of an organisation’s carbon footprint, as well as the potential impacts of various mitigation strategies. Effective Net Zero Programme Management can help organisations align their operations with global climate goals, reduce their environmental impact, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.


NFRD, or the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, is a European Union directive mandating certain large companies to disclose non-financial and diversity information, including environmental matters.
Example: Under the NFRD, a large European bank might report on its sustainability initiatives and gender diversity on its board.


Operational Boundaries

Operational Boundaries are crucial for determining the scope of an organisation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory. They define which emissions sources are included in the inventory, based on the organisation’s activities.
For example, consider a manufacturing company. Its operational boundaries would include direct emissions (Scope 1) from its own operations, such as fuel combustion in its facilities or vehicles. It would also include indirect emissions (Scope 2) from purchased electricity, steam, or chilled water used in its operations.However, operational boundaries can vary depending on the organisation’s control over its operations. For instance, if a company leases a facility but does not have operational control over it, the emissions from that facility might not be included in the company’s operational boundaries.


Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a global treaty adopted in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Example: Under the Paris Agreement, countries submit their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) outlining their climate action plans.


Being Paris-aligned means aligning strategies, actions, or investments with the goals and targets of the Paris Agreement.
Example: A financial institution might offer a Paris-aligned investment fund that only invests in sustainable and climate-positive ventures.


In the context of carbon offsetting or sequestration, permanence refers to the long-term stability and durability of stored carbon, ensuring it doesn't return to the atmosphere.
Example: Geological carbon storage, where CO₂ is injected into deep underground rock formations, is considered to have high permanence.

Primary Data

In carbon accounting, “Primary Data” refers to data that is collected directly from the source. This data is provided by suppliers or other value chain partners related to specific activities in the reporting company’s value chain. Primary data is considered more accurate and reliable as it’s collected first-hand for the specific purpose of carbon accounting. It plays a crucial role in quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and understanding the environmental impact of various activities, processes, or products.
For example, primary data can include energy or fuel consumed, amount of material purchased, or the amount of waste generated by a company’s operations. In contrast, secondary data is not from specific activities within a company’s value chain and can include average data, proxy data, or industry average data.
However, collecting primary data can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. To address this challenge, companies can use automated systems to collect primary data more efficiently and accurately.
For instance, some companies use sensors to collect real-time data on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Others use blockchain technology to track carbon emissions throughout their supply chains.

Procurement Analytics

 In the context of carbon accounting, Procurement Analytics can help organisations identify and reduce their carbon footprint by analysing the environmental impact of their procurement activities. This includes assessing the carbon emissions associated with the production, transportation, and disposal of goods and services. By leveraging Procurement Analytics, organisations can make informed decisions about their supply chain, such as choosing suppliers with lower carbon emissions or reducing transportation distances. This can help organisations reduce their carbon footprint.



The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) provides industry-specific standards for companies to disclose financially material sustainability information to investors.
Example: A mining company might use SASB standards to report on its water management and worker safety practices.


The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between multiple organisations, promoting the setting of corporate emission reduction targets in line with climate science.
Example: A food and beverage company might set its emission reduction goals in line with SBTi to ensure they are consistent with the Paris Agreement's targets.

Science-based target

A science-based target (SBT) is a GHG emission reduction target set by an organisation, in line with what scientific consensus deems necessary to prevent dangerous climate change.
Example: A retailer might set an SBT to reduce its GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 to align with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Scope 1 emissions

Scope 1 emissions refer to direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are owned or controlled by an organisation. These emissions are typically associated with the combustion of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal, and the release of GHGs from industrial processes

Scope 2 emissions

Scope 2 emissions refer to indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat, or cooling that an organisation consumes.Scope 2 emissions are typically categorised into two types: market-based and location-based. Market-based emissions are calculated based on the contractual instruments used to purchase electricity, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs) or guarantees of origin (GOs). Location-based emissions are calculated based on the average emissions factor of the grid where the organisation is located.

Scope 2 emissions

Scope 2 emissions refer to indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat, or cooling that an organisation consumes.Scope 2 emissions are typically categorised into two types: market-based and location-based. Market-based emissions are calculated based on the contractual instruments used to purchase electricity, such as renewable energy certificates (RECs) or guarantees of origin (GOs). Location-based emissions are calculated based on the average emissions factor of the grid where the organisation is located.

Scope 3 emissions

Scope 3 emissions refer to indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are not owned or controlled by an organisation, but are a consequence of its activities. These emissions are typically associated with the production and disposal of goods and services that an organisation uses, such as purchased goods and services, transportation, and waste disposal.
Scope 3 emissions are typically categorised into 15 different categories, which include upstream and downstream activities such as purchased goods and services, transportation, waste disposal, and employee commuting 3.
Here is a list of the 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions:
Purchased goods and services
Capital goods
Fuel- and energy-related activities (not included in Scope 1 or 2)
Upstream transportation and distribution
Waste generated in operations
Business travel
Employee commuting
Upstream leased assets
Downstream transportation and distribution
Processing of sold products
Use of sold products
End-of-life treatment of sold products
Downstream leased assets

Secondary Data

Data that is not collected directly from the source. This data can include industry average data, process life cycle inventory data, and industry association data. Secondary data is not as accurate as primary data, but it can be useful when primary data is not available or when collecting primary data is too time-consuming or resource-intensive.
For example, secondary data can include average energy consumption or emissions for a particular industry or region2. It can also include proxy data, which is a substitute for primary data that is used when primary data is not available.
However, it’s important to note that secondary data has limitations and may not be applicable to all situations. Therefore, it’s essential to use secondary data with caution and ensure that it’s relevant and reliable.


A "site" in the context of sustainability and carbon analytics refers to a specific physical location or facility owned or operated by an organisation. This location can encompass various types of assets, such as manufacturing plants, office buildings, distribution centers, or retail stores. Sites are fundamental units for tracking and assessing environmental and sustainability performance, including carbon emissions and resource consumption. Effective site management is crucial for achieving sustainability goals and minimising environmental impact.

Site Operation

”Site operation" encompasses the day-to-day activities and processes carried out at a specific site or facility within an organisation. These operations can include manufacturing, energy consumption, transportation, waste management, and more. In the context of sustainability, site operation management involves implementing practices and strategies that minimise the environmental footprint of these activities. Analysing and optimising site operations are critical steps in achieving sustainability objectives and reducing carbon emissions associated with a particular location.

Supplier Questionnaire Assessment

A structured process involving standardised questionnaires to evaluate suppliers' environmental practices, ethical standards, and adherence to sustainability criteria. This assessment enhances transparency within the supply chain and aids in making informed decisions to align with responsible sourcing practices.

Supplier Sustainability Assessment 

A systematic evaluation of suppliers' practices, encompassing environmental, social, and ethical dimensions, to ensure alignment with sustainable standards and enhance supply chain resilience.

Supply Chain Transparency 

The extent to which an organisation discloses information about its suppliers, sourcing practices, and production processes, promoting accountability and ethical standards.

Sustainability Journey 

The ongoing process of transitioning an organisation towards sustainable practices, encompassing efforts to reduce environmental impact, promote social responsibility, and ensure long-term economic viability.

Sustainability Strategy 

A comprehensive plan that integrates environmental, social, and economic considerations into business decisions. It seeks to minimise ecological footprint, enhance social well-being, and ensure long-term profitability.


TCFD Assessment (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) 

An evaluation of an organisation's climate-related risks and opportunities, aligning with the recommendations of the Task Force. This assessment enhances financial decision-making by considering climate risks and the potential impact on long-term sustainability and resilience.


Unit of Measurement

A "unit of measurement" refers to a standardised quantity used to quantify and express various aspects of sustainability and carbon-related data. In the context of GHG accounting, units of measurement are crucial for assessing and comparing environmental metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., metric tons of CO2 equivalent), energy consumption (e.g., kilowatt-hours), water usage (e.g., cubic metres), or waste generation (e.g., kilograms). Selecting appropriate units of measurement ensures accuracy, consistency, and transparency in sustainability reporting and helps organisations track progress toward sustainability goals.


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals established in 2015 to address various challenges, including poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation.
Example: A non-profit might align its projects and initiatives with specific UN SDGs, such as Goal 13 on climate action or Goal 5 on gender equality.

Upstream emissions

Upstream emissions are GHG emissions from the production and transport of fuels and materials purchased by an entity.
Example: For a retailer, the emissions from the production and transportation of products they sell are considered upstream emissions.



In the context of carbon accounting, verification refers to the independent assessment of reported GHG emissions or reductions to ensure accuracy, completeness, and consistency.
Example: A third-party auditor might verify a company's carbon footprint to ensure it aligns with recognised standards and methodologies.

Voluntary carbon market

The voluntary carbon market allows individuals and organisations to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions voluntarily, as opposed to regulatory compliance.
Example: A hotel chain might buy carbon credits from a reforestation project in the voluntary carbon market to offset its guests' stays.



The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organisation that addresses critical environmental and sustainability issues, including climate change and resource scarcity.
Example: WRI, in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), co-developed the GHG Protocol.

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