Actions taken to cope with the impacts of climate change rather than efforts taken to reduce GHG emissions.

Annex 1 countries

The 40 industrialised countries, plus the European Union, committed to making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the near term.

Anthropogenic Climate Impacts

Caused by human beings, not by nature.

Biomass Energy

The burning of tree or plant matter to create energy.


ISO14001 equivalent for small, less complex businesses.

Carbon Footprint

Commonly used to describe the total amount of all GHG emissions for which an organisation, individual or event are responsible. The full footprint encompasses a wide range of emissions from direct use of fuels to indirect impacts such as employee travel or emissions from up and down the supply chain.

Carbon Neutral

Something (e.g. an organisation or product) having zero emissions. As things will typically have created some GHG emissions this will require accurate measurement to allow for the offsetting of these emissions in other projects (see Offset).

Carbon Sequestration

Storing carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases by planting trees to soak it up, or possibly by pumping it into underground reservoirs.


Combined Heat and Power is the simultaneous production of both heat and power. This process is significantly more energy efficient than conventional power plants, where heat is released into the atmosphere. The difference with co-generation is that the generation of heat and power may be done as parallel processes, which results in a lower overall efficiency.


The Climate Change Levy is a UK business tax on energy use that applies to electricity, gas, coal and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).


Clean Development Mechanisms allow rich countries that have CO2 reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol to fund emissions reductions in non Kyoto countries (for example in Africa), and count them towards their own legal commitments.


The Carbon Reduction Commitment is an emissions trading scheme being introduced by Government to cover large business and public sector organisations.


Department of Energy and Climate Change.


Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Emissions Conversion Factor

Allows for the conversion of energy used, either in kWh or volume of input material, into the amount of carbon dioxide emissions it results in.

Emissions Trading

A system that allows countries or businesses that have committed to CO2 reduction targets to ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ emissions permits among themselves, in theory allowing participants to reduce emissions where it is most cost-effective to do so.


An Environment Management System is the part of the overall management system which includes the organisational structure, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for determining and implementing the environmental policy.


The EU Emissions Trading Scheme, set up in January 2005. The main participants are big industrial users of energy who are allocated a number of permits by their governments.

Fossil Fuel

Carbon based underground deposits used as an energy source – includes crude oil, coal, and natural gas.


FTSE Index of sustainable companies.


All Greenhouse Gases are responsible for Climate Change not just Carbon Dioxide. These are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

GHG Protocol

The most widely used standard for emissions reporting developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It provides a methodology for the calculation of a carbon footprint.


The Global Reporting Initiative is a network-based organization that has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change established by the WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme).

ISO 14001

The ISO 14001 is an internationally recognised standard for environmental management systems.


Key Performance Indicator, a statistical measure of performance (on environmental issues).

Kyoto Protocol

Protocol to the international Framework Convention on Climate Change with the objective of reducing Greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in and entered into force on 16 February 2005.


An emissions reduction, usually a result of a project in the developing world, which has been sold to compensate for emissions elsewhere.

Product Stewardship

Requires companies to reduce energy use, resource consumption and other environmental impacts throughout the whole lifecycle of their products or services: from their design, to their final use and disposal.

Resource Efficiency

Using resources efficiently involves minimising the use of raw materials and energy in the production of goods and services. ‘Doing more with less’ results in less waste, less pollution and less cost.

Stern Review

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the most comprehensive review ever carried out on the economics of climate change, was published in 2006 and was lead by Lord Stern, the then Head of the Government Economic Service.

Sustainable Development

Development which meets the long-term needs of all stakeholders, while safe-guarding natural resources for future generations.

Tipping Point

The point at which climate change reaches a point of no return, a step change in the rate of global warming.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.