2021 Sustainability Report
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2021 Belgian Sustainability Report

Glossary of terms

What do we mean when we mention terms like CO2 emissions or sustainability?
Our Glossary page clarifies some of the key words referenced throughout our report.

  1. Afforestation – the conversion (of land) into forest, esp. for commercial use.
  2. Biodiversity – Biodiversity is the number of distinct varieties or types within a group of living systems: distinct genes in a species, species in an ecosystem, or ecosystems in a biome.
  3. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into Earth’s atmosphere mostly by the burning of carbon-containing fuels and the decay of wood and other plant matter.
  4. Carbon footprint – A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse emissions that result directly and indirectly either from an individual's lifestyle, a company's operations, or the full life cycle of a product or service.
  5. Carbon neutral – Any CO2 released into the atmosphere from a company’s activities is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed, called offset.
  6. Climate – Climate is the weather experienced by a given location, averaged over several decades.
  7. Climate change – from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
  8. Deforestation – A reduction in the area of a forest resulting from human activity.
  9. Fossil fuels – Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas, and petroleum (puh-TROH-lee-uhm), which is often called oil.
  10. Global warming – Global warming is understood to result from an overall, long-term increase in the retention of the sun’s heat around Earth due to blanketing by “greenhouse gases,” especially CO2 and methane.
  11. Greenhouse gases – Gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that tend to trap heat radiating from the Earth's surface, thus causing warming in the lower atmosphere.
  12. Meaningful carbon credit – Projects that are aligned with our Purpose agenda and that provide social value across one of three categories (1) Just transition (avoid fossil fuel), (2) Climate justice (avoid risk from climate change) and (3) Future financing (investments in nature-based solutions).
  13. Net Zero – Activity releases net-zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
  14. Nonrenewable resources – Any naturally occurring, finite resources that diminish with use, such as oil and coal.
  15. Offset – Carbon avoidance – Projects focused on preventing emissions from being released e.g. creation of a wind farm/ investment in solar cookstoves.
  16. Offset - Carbon removal – Projects focused on removing emissions already released e.g. reforestation/ sea grass restoration/ geological storage
  17. Sustainability – At its broadest level, environmental or global sustainability refers to Earth's ability to continue functioning in a manner that supports humans and other ecosystems.
  18. Waste reduction – Waste reduction, also known as source reduction, is the practice of using less material and energy to minimize waste generation and preserve natural resources.