A range of visible and non-visible differences that exist between people. Managing diversity well can harness these differences and can create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, where talents are fully utilised and in which organisational goals are met (www.britishcouncil.org). To find out more, read our CSR expert view on diversity.
Index of the top 10% of the leading sustainability companies in each of the DJSI industry groups. Companies are ranked according to their management of sustainability opportunities and risks in order to provide information for investors.
The efficient use of environmental resources. Eco-efficiency typically describes products or processes that use less energy.
An 'ecological footprint' is an aggregate measure of human impact which measures the amount of natural resources used by a geographical or organisational unit. It is measured in terms of land and shows how much productive land and water an individual, a business, a city, or a country occupies to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb all the waste it makes. This area may then be compared to the area of land actually occupied or to the existing space on the planet that is biologically productive.
A methodology that estimates the total economic consequences, including financial return of an economic activity. It can be applied to companies’ CR investments, highlighting where funds are being wasted or are producing low yields. See "Assessing the economic impacts of investment".
The incorporation of accounting, accountability and responsibility processes, consultation and audit findings within strategic managerial practice and policy and at operational levels of the organisation.
Substances discharged into the air or water (as by a smokestack or an automobile gasoline engine).
Emission Trading allows emission sources to trade emission allowances (permits to pollute to a certain limit) between them. Essentially, each member country of the Kyoto Protocol has a maximum limit on emissions (cap), divided up as emission allowances (authorisations to emit) and distributed among emission sources.
The interaction between employee and employer. It may be used to promote understanding, commitment, loyalty, productivity and ownership from both sides. Purchase our latest research on employee engagement.
The approach of utilising technologies and measures that reduce the amount of energy/electricity used to perform the same function, e.g. using energy efficient flourescent light bulbs in an office. See eco-efficiency.
Approach which asserts that "long-termism and regard for other stakeholders can be achieved within current principles by ensuring that directors pursue shareholders' interests in an enlightened and inclusive way". (source: UKSIF Briefing: Modern Company Law for a Competitive Economy).
A business person, especially one who seeks out new commercial opportunities. An individual who owns a company, enterprise, or venture assumes accountability for the inherent risks and consequences as well as enjoying the rewards.
The EIA procedure systematically identifies and assesses environmental consequences of a project. This should be before authorisation for the project is given. Best practice EIAs ensure that the public can give its opinion and all results are taken into account in the authorisation procedure of the project.
A socially fair resolution of environmental issues. In the same way that certain social groups or communities may be economically disadvantaged, so they may suffer disproportionate health, safety or environmental problems. Such issues can surface around various types of industrial facilities, oil fields, mines and chemical production complexes or major airports.
The main international EMS standard is ISO 14001. There are other emerging regional EMS systems, notably the European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
"The process through which the company takes up a dialogue with major stakeholders to report on past activities with a view to shaping future ones." (Source: John Rosthorn: Business Ethics Auditing - More Than a Stakeholder's Toy (Journal of Business Ethics 00: 1-11, 2000, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands)).
Ethical or socially responsible investment are terms to describe any area of the financial sector where the principles of the investor influence which organisation or venture they choose to place their money with, or how the investor uses their power as a shareholder. This usually takes account of the social and environmental performance of the organisation and may also exclude investment in controversial areas such as gambling. (source: www.eiris.com).
Fully commercial trade undertaken on terms which include compliance with social and environmental standards (e.g. labour standards, purchasing behaviour, etc) and other non-exclusively financial or technical specifications.
The science of morals in human conduct; moral philosophy; moral principles; rules of conduct. See Article 13's statement of values and ethics.
Emissions trading is emerging as a key instrument in the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rationale behind emission trading is to ensure that the emission reductions take place where the cost of the reduction is lowest thus lowering the overall costs of combating climate change. The EU ETS is one of the policies being introduced across Europe to tackle emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and combat the serious threat of climate change. The scheme commenced on 1 January 2005. The first phase runs from 2005-2007 and the second phase will run from 2008-2012 to coincide with the first Kyoto Commitment Period. Further 5-year periods are expected subsequently. The scheme will work on a 'Cap and Trade' basis. EU Member State governments are required to set an emission cap for all installations covered by the scheme. Each installation will then be allocated allowances for the particular commitment period in question.
"Executive coaching is defined as a helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organisation and a consultant who uses a wide variety of behavioural techniques and methods to assist the client in achieving a mutually identified set of goals to improve his or her professional performance and personal satisfaction and consequently to improve the effectiveness of the client's organisation within a formally defined coaching agreement. (source: Richard R Kilburg in "Executive Coaching: Developing Managerial Wisdom in a World of Chaos", American Psychological Association, p 65-67, 2000.)
Trade undertaken between small, community-based Southern producers and buyers on terms more favourable than those available on the open market for producers.
The examination of the financial records and statements of an organisation to ensure that they give a true and fair view, and that they have been prepared in accordance with the relevant accounting standards and other requirements.
Series of benchmark and tradable indices facilitating investment in companies with good records of corporate social responsibility. Assesses businesses on five areas: working towards environmental sustainability; developing positive relationships with stakeholders; upholding and supporting universal human rights; ensuring good supply chain labour standards and countering bribery.
Although this is an area in need of much further work, the goal is to develop accounting methods which account for all the key costs of a project or activity, not just the financial costs. This will include social and financial, as well as economic costs.
The right to buy or sell a financial instrument at an agreed price at some future time, e.g. commodity future contracts.
A branch of modern technology. Range of techniques used by scientists in an attempt to control or modify genes, or transfer them between two species.
The GRI is a multi-stakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is "to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainable Reporting Guidelines". These guidelines are for voluntary use by organisations for reporting on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of their activities, products and services. Read our briefing paper, available on this website, to find out more about GRI3.
Processes and systems of a specific management or leadership system. It involves the relationships, power, functions and accountability of an organisational structure. In the case of a business or of a non-profit organisation, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility. See corporate governance.
The concentration of atmospheric gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, per fluorocarbons, hydro fluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluorides that cause the atmosphere to retain heat and so contribute to climate change.
Existing and emerging innovations with the objective of minimising detrimental impacts on the environment. Alternative technologies that seek to address issues around water, carbon, energy, natural resource management, climate change, emissions and others.
Whitewashing, but with green paint. Typically when a company or organisation spends more time and money claiming to be 'green' through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimise environmental impact.
The Higgs' report on corporate governance was recently released in the UK. It has contributed to the Combined Code of Practice for British companies, and has had far-reaching consequences for corporate UK, especially in the area of non-executive directors. To find out more, read our briefing paper on codes and reports on corporate governance.
Fundamental right of individuals enshrined in international law. A civilised society, for example, recognises the right of every individual to liberty, freedom of association and personal safety. There are two main kinds of human right: political and civil rights and economic, social and cultural rights. To find out more, read our CSR expert view on IT and CSR.
(Source: Article 13 sources and World Business Council on Sustainable Development).
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