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Sustainability Glossary

We created The Sustainability Glossary to increase your understanding of sustainability and CSR. The Glossary includes terms that are often used in CSR and are talked about when creating a sustainability strategy. We have gathered the definitions we found the most relevant in this field - and completed it with some of our own definitions - to help make your journey towards sustainability as smooth as possible.

  • ACM - Authority for Consumers and Markets

    The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) contributes to realizing a healthy economy by ensuring that markets work well for people and businesses. When markets function well, businesses compete fairly with one another, and people and businesses are not harmed by unfair practices. People and businesses know what rules apply, and how they are able to exercise their rights.

    Source : ACM
  • Animal Welfare

    Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter.

    Source : AVMA
  • Animal Welfare Regulations

    The government lays down rules for the treatment of animals. These rules protect their health and wellbeing in terms of cruelty to animals, invasive procedures on animals, rules for biotechnology research and animal testing.

    Source : Government of The Netherlands
  • Biodiversity Policy

    Biodiversity policies are about promoting "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources".

    Source : OECD
  • Block Chain

    The digital method of tracking and recording information - known as blockchain - can trace every step of an item’s journey from farm to customer.

    Source : Renoon
  • Carbon Emissions

    Also known as CO2 emissions, refer to the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. CO2 emissions are linked to burning of fossil fuels and biomass, land use and management, as well as to industrial production. As the principal greenhouse gas (GHG), CO2 critically affects the radiation balance on Earth and significantly contributes to global warming and climate change. The fashion industry is a major source of CO2 emissions.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • CAPs - Corrective Action Plans

    A plan that seeks to address and resolve an issue, for instance a breach of compliance in environmental or social sustainability practices.

    Source : Global Fashion Agenda Monitor
  • Carbon Neutral

    Going carbon neutral actually means making the final equation of what has been emitted and restored equal to 0. So, how can CO2 be balanced out? For fashion brands, carbon neutrality can be achieved through reducing emissions or offsetting them.

    Source : Renoon
  • Circular Design Principles

    Ways of designing and manufacturing materials and products to last and at end of life, disassembled so that they can be reused, remade, recycled, and (where relevant, after maximum use and cycling) safely composted.

    Design for Disassembly :
    Design principle that enables the product to be taken apart in such a way that allows components and materials to be reused, remade, or recycled.

    Durability :
    The ability of a physical product to remain functional and relevant over time when faced with the challenges of normal operation.

    Source : Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Circular Fashion

    Circular fashion is about designing waste and pollution out of our clothes, and ensuring they help regenerate natural systems at the end of their (long) lives. It is based partly on William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle design philosophy. Circular Fashion moves away from the traditional linear take-make-dispose business model.

    The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in particular, has been advocating for a global circular economy.

    Source : Good On You
  • Carbon Offsetting

    The practice of carbon offsetting is a compensatory action that offers individuals, businesses, and other organizations the option to balance their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits (carbon offsets) that fund projects focused at reducing emissions in developing countries.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • Due Diligence

    An ongoing risk management process that a reasonable and prudent company needs to follow in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how it addresses its adverse impacts.

    Source : United Nations Guiding Principles
  • Diversity

    Diversity refers to the recognition of and respect for the differences between individuals, communities and cultures. These may include, but are not limited to, differences in race, ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, physical abilities, health issues, political views, value systems and socio-economic status.

    In the context of fashion, diversity also means creating an environment where multiple narratives and forms of aesthetic expression can flourish side by side.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • Ecological Footprint

    Also referred to as environmental footprint, ecological footprint refers to the environmental resources that a population consumes. Measurement of ecological footprint enables estimation of the requirements of a specific population or economy on the consumption of resources and assimilation of waste over an area of productive land.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • EPR - Extended Producer Responsibility

    A policy tool that requires that all environmental costs of the entire product lifecycle are included in its market price and carried by the producer who is responsible for its design specifications. The EPR costs for designs with high environmental impact and a lack of end-of-life solutions then reflect the true price of the product and so incentivize more responsible design and systems thinking.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • ESG - Environmental, Social And Governance

    An approach to evaluating the extent to which a corporation works on behalf of social goals that go beyond the role of a corporation to maximize profits on behalf of the corporation's shareholders. Typically, the social goals advocated within an ESG perspective include working to achieve environmental goals, supporting social movements, and whether the corporation is governed in a way that is consistent with the goals of the Diversity, equity, and inclusion movement.

    Source : Wikipedia
  • Ethical / Sustainable Sourcing Policy

    A sourcing policy outlines the set of norms, rules, and standards the company follows in its sourcing and procurement practices for manufacturing, materials, and services from third parties. This policy outlines many of the same topics and standards as the Supplier Code of Conduct. But where the Code of Conduct is an agreement between parties (e.g. the brand and the manufacturer), the sourcing policy is meant for internal use and external communication. An ethical sourcing policy typically focuses on social compliance and human rights, while a sustainable sourcing policy includes environmental standards.

    Source : The Sustainability Club
  • Fair Trade/ Fairtrade

    Fairtrade, on the other hand, specifically refers to the certifying and labelling organisation Fairtrade International.The Fairtrade Standards are designed to address the imbalance of power and injustices in trading relationships. Fair Trade provides an alternative to conventional trade, with fair trade products charging a premium to consumers so that producers (such as farmers) can earn a better living. While fair trade is a step in the right direction, it is not the same as living wages, which is what people would need to make to actually live with dignity.

    Source : Good On You
  • Fast Fashion

    Fast fashion is a model of fashion production and consumption that relies on fast turnaround of styles and products with sales prices, often leading to fast discarding of pieces, cumulatively resulting in extremely high social and environmental costs throughout the entire value chain. The fast fashion model has expanded globally since the 1990s and the rise of offshore manufacture with access to cheap labor in developing countries has been a key enabler of its global expansion. It should be noted that no item of clothing can be accurately defined as ‘fast fashion’ as the cycle starts with the sowing of a seed or the extraction of oil, which takes place many months, years or decades before a finished garment is sold and worn.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • Forced Labour

    All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.

    Source : ILO
  • Freedom Of Association

    The right of workers and employers to form and join organizations of their own choosing is an integral part of a free and open society. In many cases, these organizations have played a significant role in their countries’ democratic transformation.

    Source : ILO
  • GRI - Global Reporting Initiative

    An international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. GRI provides the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting – the GRI Standards

    Source : Wikipedia GRI
  • Governance

    The exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country's affairs at all levels, comprising the mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.

    Source : United Nations
  • Green Claims

    The expressions' environmental claims' and 'green claims' refer to the practice of suggesting or otherwise creating the impression (in commercial communication, marketing, or advertising) that a good or a service has a positive or no impact on the environment or is less damaging to the environment than competing goods or services.

    Source : European Union
  • Greenwashing

    Greenwashing happens when companies - intentionally or unintentionally - make themselves or their products come across as more sustainable or ‘green’ than they actually are.

    Source : The Sustainability Club
  • Higg Index

    An open-source three-piece set of product tools developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which enables businesses to measure and score their sustainability performance

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • Inclusion

    Inclusion refers to the need to embrace human diversity and ensure that multiple voices and perspectives are covered in both micro and macro platforms, such as organizations, communities and entire societies. Inclusion enables individuals with diverse backgrounds, abilities, beliefs, and values to collaborate on common endeavors while expressing their individuality and feeling valued for their unique contributions.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • LCA - Life Cycle Assessment

    A comparative methodology for assessing the environmental impacts linked to all stages of product life cycle, from raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, retail and use to disposal and end of life.

    Source : Condé Nast Glossary
  • Living Wage

    The remuneration received for a standard work week by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.

    Source : Global Living Wage Coalition
  • Microplastics/ Microfibres

    Microplastics or microfibres refer to plastic particles smaller than 5mm. Synthetic clothes, which are one of the largest sources of environmental pollution, are responsible for more than one-third of all microplastics polluting our waters.

    Source : Good On You

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