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Carbon Neutral: A state of net zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be achieved by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide by eliminating emissions from society (the transition to the "post-carbon economy") or by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Most often used in the context of carbon dioxide-releasing processes associated with transport, energy production, agriculture, and industry.
Plastic Neutral: For every amount of plastic created, an equal amount of plastic waste is retrieved from or prevented from entering the environment to be appropriately disposed of (either recycled or repurposed). This can be through waste management efforts, recycling, or the use of plastic credits.
B-Corp: A private certification of for-profit companies of their “social and environmental performance.” To be granted and to maintain certification, companies must receive a minimum score of 80 from an assessment of “social and environmental performance,” integrate B Corp commitments to stakeholders into company governing documents, and pay an annual fee based on annual sales. As of September 2022, there were 5,697 certified B Corporations across 158 industries in 85 countries.
Carbon Offset: A reduction or removal of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. A carbon credit or offset credit is a transferable instrument certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction that can then be bought or sold. One ton of carbon offset or credit represents the reduction or removal of one ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.
Plastic Footprint: A measurement of the amount of plastic that someone uses and then throws away, considered in relation to the damage this causes to the environment. This can include the plastic that you consume as well as the plastic that you produce. Some examples include plastic wrap, shampoo bottles, and plastic phone covers and other tech devices.
Global Average Temperature: The average temperature as registered on the Earth’s surface. It is calculated by averaging the temperature at the surface of the sea and air temperature over land. Changes in global temperatures over the past century provide evidence for the effects of increasing greenhouse gases. When the climate system reacts to such changes, climate change follows. This measurement is one of the many lines of evidence supporting scientific consensus on climate change, which is that humans are causing warming of Earth's climate system.
Greenwashing: A form of advertising or marketing spin activated in an attempt to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally sound products, whether that means they are more natural, healthier, free of chemicals, recyclable, or less wasteful of natural resources. The tactic deceptively persuades the public that an organization’s products, aims, and/or policies are environmentally friendly.
Circular Economy:A concept that entails markets providing incentives to reusing products rather than scrapping them and then extracting new resources. A circular economy involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.
Carbon Capture: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a way of reducing carbon emissions, which could be key to helping to tackle global warming. It’s a three-step process involving capturing carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity, such as steel or cement making; transporting it; and then storing it deep underground. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
Zero Waste:A set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages redesigning resource life cycles so all products are repurposed and/or reused. The goal of the zero waste movement is to avoid sending trash to landfills, incinerators, oceans, or any other part of the environment.