Glossary

 

Glossary


DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS


Aspect
The word Aspect is used in the Guidelines to refer to the list of subjects covered by the Guidelines.

Aspect Boundary
Refers to the description of where impacts occur for each material Aspect. In setting the Aspect Boundaries, an organization should consider impacts within and outside of the organization. Aspect Boundaries vary based on the Aspects reported.

General Standard Disclosures
General Standard Disclosures offer a description of the organization and the reporting process.

Impact
In the Guidelines, unless otherwise stated the term ‘impact’ refers to significant economic, environmental and social impacts that are: positive, negative, actual, potential, direct, indirect, short term, long term, intended, unintended.

Material Aspects
Material Aspects are those that reflect the organization’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts; or that substantively influence the assessments and decisions of stakeholders. To determine if an Aspect is material, qualitative analysis, quantitative assessment and discussion are needed.

Reporting Principle
Concepts that describe the outcomes a report should achieve and that guide decisions made throughout the reporting process, such as which Indicators to respond to, and how to respond to them.

Scope
The range of Aspects covered in a report.

Specific Standard Disclosures
Specific Standard Disclosures offer information on the organization’s management and performance related to material Aspects.

Stakeholders
Stakeholders are defined as entities or individuals that can reasonably be expected to be significantly affected by the organization’s activities, products, and services; and whose actions can reasonably be expected to affect the ability of the organization to successfully implement its strategies and achieve its objectives. This includes entities or individuals whose rights under law or international conventions provide them with legitimate claims vis-à-vis the organization.

Stakeholders can include those who are invested in the organization (such as employees, shareholders, suppliers) as well as those who have other relationships to the organization (such as vulnerable groups within local communities, civil society).

Topic
The word topic is used in the Guidelines to refer to any possible sustainability subject.


GLOSSARY

Absentee
An employee absent from work because of incapacity of any kind, not just as the result of work-related injury or disease. Permitted leave absences such as holidays, study, maternity or paternity leave, and compassionate leave are excluded.

Absentee rate
Refers to a measure of actual absentee days lost expressed as a percentage of total days scheduled to be worked by the workforce for the same period.

Annual total compensation
Annual total compensation includes:
  • Salary
  • Bonus
  • Stock awards
  • Option awards
  • Non-equity incentive plan compensation
  • Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings
  • All other compensation

Anti-­competitive behavior
Actions of the organization or employees that may result in collusion with potential competitors to fix prices; coordinate bids; create market or output restrictions; impose geographic quotas; or allocate customers, suppliers, geographic areas, and product lines, with the purpose of limiting the effects of market competition.

Anti-­trust and monopoly practices
Actions of the organization that may result in collusion to erect barriers to entry to the sector; unfair business practices; abuse of market position; cartels; anti-competitive mergers; price-fixing; and other collusive actions which prevent competition.

Areas of high biodiversity value
Areas not subject to legal protection but recognized for important biodiversity features by a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations. These include habitats that are a priority for conservation (often defined in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans prepared under the UN ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ (83)). Several international conservation organizations have identified particular areas of high biodiversity value.

Areas protected
Areas that are protected from any harm during operational activities, and the environment remains in its original state with a healthy functioning ecosystem.

Areas restored
Areas that were used during or affected by operational activities, and where remediation measures have either restored the environment to its original state or to a state where it is a healthy and functioning ecosystem.

Base year
A historical datum (such as a year) against which an organization’s energy consumption is tracked over time.

Baseline
A starting point used for comparisons. For Indicators G4-EN6, G4-EN7 and G4-EN19, baseline is the projected energy consumption in the absence of any energy reduction activity.

Basic salary
A fixed, minimum amount paid to an employee for performing his or her duties. This does not include any additional remuneration, such as payments for overtime working or bonuses.

Benefits
Benefits refer to either direct benefit provided in the form of financial contributions, care paid for by the organization, or the reimbursement of expenses borne by the employee. Redundancy payments over and above legal minimums, lay-off pay, extra employment injury benefit, survivors’ benefits, and extra paid holiday entitlements may also be included. In-kind benefits such as provision of sports or child day care facilities, free meals during working time, and similar general employee welfare programs are excluded from Indicator G4-LA2.

Breach of customer privacy
Covers any non-compliance with existing legal regulations and (voluntary) standards regarding the protection of customer privacy.

Business partner
Business partners include, among others, suppliers, agents, lobbyists and other intermediaries, joint venture and consortia partners, governments, customers, and clients. In the Guidelines, suppliers include brokers, consultants, contractors, distributors, franchisees or licensees, home workers, independent contractors, manufacturers, primary producers, sub-contractors and wholesalers.

Carbon dioxide equivalent
CO2 (carbon dioxide) equivalent is the universal unit of measurement used to compare the emissions from various GHGs based on their global warming potential (GWP). The CO2 equivalent for a gas is determined by multiplying the metric tons of the gas by the associated GWP.

Career endings
Retirement by reaching statutory national retiring age or termination of employment.

CFC­-11 equivalent
CFC-11 equivalent is a measure used to compare various substances based on their relative ozone depletion potential. The reference level of 1 is the potential of CFC-11 and CFC-12 to cause ozone depletion.

Child
This term applies to all persons under the age of 15 years or under the age of completion of compulsory schooling (whichever is higher), except in certain countries where economies and educational facilities are insufficiently developed and a minimum age of 14 years might apply.

These countries of exception are specified by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in response to special application by the country concerned and consultation with representative organizations of employers and workers.

Note: The ILO Convention 138 ‘Minimum Age Convention’ (37) refers to both child labor and young workers. See the definition of young worker’.

Clawback
A repayment of previously received compensation required to be made by an executive to his or her employer in the event certain conditions of employment or goals are not met.

Collective action to combat corruption
Collective action refers to voluntary engagement with initiatives and stakeholders to improve the broader operating environment and culture to combat corruption. It can include proactive collaboration with peers, governments and the wider public sector, trade unions and civil society organizations.

Collective bargaining agreements
Binding collective bargaining agreements include those signed by the organization itself or by employer organizations of which it is a member. These agreements can be at the sector, national, regional, organizational, or workplace level.

Community development program
Plan that details actions to minimize, mitigate, and compensate for adverse social and economic impacts, and to identify opportunities and actions to enhance positive impacts of the project on the community.

Confirmed incidents of corruption
Incidents of corruption that have been found to be substantiated. This does not include incidents of corruption that are still under investigation in the reporting period.

Conflict of interest
A situation where an individual is confronted with choosing between the requirements of his/her function and his/her own private interests.

Conservation and efficiency initiatives
Organizational or technological modifications that allow a defined process or task to be carried out using less energy. This includes process redesign, the conversion and retrofitting of equipment (such as energy-efficient lighting), or the elimination of unnecessary energy use due to changes in behavior.

Continued employability
Adaptation to the changing demands of the workplace through the acquisition of new skills.

Corruption
Corruption is ‘the abuse of entrusted power for private gain’ (Transparency International) and can be instigated by individuals or organizations. In the Guidelines, corruption includes practices such as bribery, facilitation payments, fraud, extortion, collusion, and money laundering. It also includes an offer or receipt of any gift, loan, fee, reward, or other advantage to or from any person as an inducement to do something that is dishonest, illegal, or a breach of trust in the conduct of the enterprise’s business (these definitions are based on Transparency International, 'Business Principles for Countering Bribery', 2011). This may include cash or in-kind benefits, such as free goods, gifts, and holidays, or special personal services provided for the purpose of an improper advantage or that may result in moral pressure to receive such an advantage.

Customer privacy
The right of the customer to privacy and personal refuge, including matters such as the protection of data, the use of information/data only for its original intended purpose (unless specifically agreed otherwise), the obligation to observe confidentiality, and protection from misuse or theft. A customer is understood to include end-customers (consumer) as well as business-to-business customers.

Defined benefit plans
Post-employment benefit plans other than defined contribution plans.

Defined contribution plans
Post-employment benefit plans under which an entity pays fixed contributions into a separate entity (a fund) and will have no legal or constructive obligation to pay further contributions if the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employee benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods.

Direct GHG emissions (Scope 1)
Emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by the organization.

Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions come from sources (physical units or processes that release GHG into the atmosphere) that are owned or controlled by the organization.

Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions include, but are not limited to, the CO2 emissions from the fuel consumption reported in Indicator G4-EN3.

Discrimination
The act and the result of treating people unequally by imposing unequal burdens or denying benefits rather than treating each person fairly on the basis of individual merit. Discrimination can also include harassment, defined as a course of comments or actions that are unwelcome, or should reasonably be known to be unwelcome, to the person towards whom they are addressed.

Economic impact
A change in the productive potential of the economy that has an influence on a community’s or stakeholder’s well-being and longer-term prospects for development.

Employee
An individual who is, according to national law or practices, recognized as an employee of the organization.

Employee category
Breakdown of employees by level (such as senior management, middle management) and function (such as technical, administrative, production). This information is derived from an organization’s own human resources system.

Employee turnover
Employees who leave the organization voluntarily or due to dismissal, retirement, or death in service.

Employment contract
An employment contract as recognized under national law or practice that may be written, verbal, or implicit (that is, when all the characteristics of employment are present but without a written or witnessed verbal contract).
Indefinite or permanent contract: A permanent employment contract is a contract with an employee for full-time or part-time work for an indeterminate period.
Fixed term or temporary contract: A fixed term employment contract is an employment contract as defined above that ends when a specific time period expires, or when a specific task that has a time estimate attached is completed. A temporary employment contract is of limited duration and terminated by a specific event, including the end of a project or work phase or return of replaced personnel.

Employment types
Full-time: A ‘full-time employee’ is defined according to national legislation and practice regarding working time (such as national legislation defines that ‘full-time’ means a minimum of nine months per year and a minimum of 30 hours per week).
Part-time: A ‘part-time employee’ is an employee whose working hours per week, month, or year are less than ‘full-time’ as defined above.

Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions
Emissions that result from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, heating, cooling, and steam consumed by the organization.

Energy reduction
The amount of energy no longer used or needed to carry out the same processes or tasks. The term does not include overall reduction in energy consumption from reducing production capacity or outsourcing organizational activities.

Entry level wage
Entry level wage refers to the full-time wage offered to an employee in the lowest employment category. Intern or apprentice wages are not considered.

Environmental laws and regulations
Refers to regulations related to all types of environmental issues (that is, emissions, effluents, and waste, as well as material use, energy, water, and biodiversity) applicable to the organization. This includes binding voluntary agreements that are made with regulatory authorities and developed as a substitute for implementing a new regulation. Voluntary agreements can be applicable if the organization directly joins the agreement or if public agencies make the agreement applicable to organizations in their territory through legislation or regulation.

Environmental protection expenditures
All expenditures on environmental protection by the organization, or on its behalf, to prevent, reduce, control, and document environmental aspects, impacts, and hazards. These expenditures also include expenditures on disposal, treatment, sanitation, and clean-up.

Fatality
The death of a worker occurring in the current reporting period, arising from an occupational injury or disease sustained or contracted while in the organization’s employ.

Financial assistance
Direct or indirect financial benefits that do not represent a transaction of goods and services, but which are an incentive or compensation for actions taken, the cost of an asset, or expenses incurred. The provider of financial assistance does not expect a direct financial return from the assistance offered.

Forced or compulsory labor
All work and service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered herself or himself voluntarily (ILO Convention 29 ‘Forced Labour Convention’ (24)). The most extreme examples are slave labor and bonded labor, but debts can also be used as a means of maintaining workers in a state of forced labor. Examples of forced labor include:
  • Withholding identity papers
  • Requiring compulsory deposits
  • Compelling workers, under threat of firing, to work extra hours to which they have not previously agreed

Formal agreements
Written documents signed by both parties declaring a mutual intention to abide by what is contained in the documents. These can include, for example, local collective bargaining agreements as well as national and international framework agreements.

Formal committee
‘Formal committee’ refers to committees whose existence and function are integrated in the organization’s organizational and authority structure, and that operate according to certain agreed, written rules.

Formal grievance mechanisms
Systems consisting of specified procedures, roles and rules for methodically addressing complaints as well as resolving disputes. Formal grievance mechanisms are expected to be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, rights-compatible, clear and transparent, and based on dialogue and mediation.

Freedom of association
The right of workers and employers to establish and join organizations of their own choosing without the need for prior authorization.

Full coverage
Plan assets that meet or exceed plan obligations.

GHG reductions
A decrease in GHG emissions or an increase in removal or storage of GHGs from the atmosphere, relative to baseline emissions. Primary effects will result in GHG reductions, as will some secondary effects. An initiative’s total GHG reductions are quantified as the sum of its associated primary effect(s) and any significant secondary effects (which may involve decreases or countervailing increases in GHG emissions).

Global warming potential (GWP)
GWP values describe the radiative forcing impact of one unit of a given GHG relative to one unit of carbon dioxide over a given period of time. GWP values convert GHG emissions data for non-CO2 gases into units of CO2 equivalent.

Governance bodies
The committees or boards responsible for the strategic guidance of the organization, the effective monitoring of management, and the accountability of management to the broader organization and its stakeholders.

Highest governance body
The formalized group of persons charged with ultimate authority in an organization. In instances where the highest governance body consists of two tiers, both tiers should be included.

Human rights clauses
Specific terms in a written agreement that define minimum expectations of performance with respect to human rights as a requirement for investment.

Human rights reviews
A formal or documented assessment process that applies a set of human rights performance criteria.

Human rights screening
A formal or documented process that applies a set of human rights performance criteria as one of the factors in determining whether to proceed with a business relationship.

Incidents
Legal actions, complaints registered with the organization or competent authorities through a formal process, or instances of non-compliance identified by the organization through established procedures, such as management system audits or formal monitoring programs.

Indicator
Qualitative or quantitative information about results or outcomes associated with the organization that is comparable and demonstrates change over time.

Indicators of diversity
Indicators of diversity for which the organization gathers data may include citizenship, ancestry and ethnic origin, creed, and disability.

Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are those whose social, cultural, political, and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the dominant national community, or who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions.

Indirect economic impact
An additional consequence of the direct impact of financial transactions and the flow of money between an organization and its stakeholders.

Indirect political contributions
Any financial or in-kind support to political parties, their representatives, or candidates for office made through intermediary organizations such as lobbyists or charities or support given to organizations such as think tanks or trade associations linked to or supporting particular political parties or causes.

Infrastructure
Facilities (such as water supply facility, road, school, or hospital) built primarily to provide a public service or good rather than a commercial purpose, and from which the organization does not seek to gain direct economic benefit.

Injury
A non-fatal or fatal injury arising out of or in the course of work.

Injury rate
The frequency of injuries relative to the total time worked by the total workforce in the reporting period.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
An inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (68).

Lifelong learning
Acquiring and updating abilities, knowledge, qualifications, and interests throughout life, from pre-school years to post-retirement.

Local community
Persons or groups of people living and/or working in any areas that are economically, socially or environmentally impacted (positively or negatively) by the organization’s operations. The local community can range from people living adjacent to operations through to isolated settlements at a distance from operations that may experience the impacts of these operations.

Local employee
Individuals either born or who have the legal right to reside indefinitely (such as naturalized citizens or permanent visa holders) in the same geographic market as the operation. The geographical definition of ‘local’ may include the community surrounding operations, a region within a country or a country.

Local minimum wage
Minimum wage refers to compensation per hour or other unit of time for employment allowed under law. Since some countries have numerous minimum wages (such as by state or province or by employment category), identify which minimum wage is being used.

Local supplier
Organization or person that provides a product or service to the reporting organization and that it is based in the same geographical market as the reporting organization (that is, no trans-national payments to the supplier are made). The geographical definition of ‘local’ may include the community surrounding operations, a region within a country or a country.

Logistical purposes
The forward or reverse flow and storage of goods and services between the point of origin and the point of consumption.

Lost day
Time (‘days’) that could not be worked (and is thus ‘lost’) as a consequence of a worker or workers being unable to perform their usual work because of an occupational accident or disease. A return to limited duty or alternative work for the same organization does not count as lost days.

Lost day rate
The impact of occupational accidents and diseases as reflected in time off work by the affected workers. It is expressed by comparing the total lost days to the total number of hours scheduled to be worked by the workforce in the reporting period.

Marketing communications
The combination of strategies, systems, methods, and activities used by an organization to promote its reputation, brands, products, and services to target audiences. Marketing communications can include activities such as advertising, personal selling, promotion, public relations, and sponsorship.

Mechanisms for reporting concerns about unethical or unlawful behavior, and matters related to integrity
Systems and processes through which an individual or organization can report concerns about illegal, irregular, dangerous or unethical practices related to the organization’s operations. Individuals may include the organization’s governance body members, employees, business partners, and other stakeholders.

New employee hires
New employees joining the organization for the first time.

Non-­renewable energy sources
Energy sources that cannot be replenished, reproduced, grown or generated in a short time period through ecological cycles.

Non-renewable energy sources include:
  • Fuel distilled from petroleum or crude oil (such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, heating oil)
  • Natural gas (such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG))
  • Fuels extracted from natural gas processing and petroleum refining (such as butane, propane, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG))
  • Coal
  • Nuclear power


Non­-renewable materials
Resources that do not renew in short time periods, such as minerals, metals, oil, gas, or coal.

Occupational disease
A disease arising from the work situation or activity (such as stress or regular exposure to harmful chemicals), or from a work-related injury.

Occupational disease rate
The frequency of occupational diseases relative to the total time worked by the total workforce in the reporting period.

Operation
A single location used by an organization for the production, storage and/or distribution of its goods and services, or for administrative purposes (such as office). Within a single operation, there may be multiple production lines, warehouses, or other activities. For example, a single factory may be used for multiple products or a single retail outlet may contain several different retail operations that are owned or managed by the organization.

Operations with significant actual or potential negative impacts on local communities
This refers primarily to operations, considered alone or in combination with the characteristics of local communities, that have higher than average potential of negative impacts, or actual negative impacts, on the social, economic or environmental wellbeing of local communities (for example, local community health and safety).

Other indirect GHG emissions (Scope 3)
Other indirect GHG emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) that occur outside of the organization, including both upstream and downstream emissions.

Ozone­-depleting substance (ODS)
Any substance with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) greater than 0 that can deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. Most ODS are controlled under the UNEP ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer’ (120) and its amendments, and include CFCs, HCFCs, halons, and methyl bromide.

Parental leave
Leave granted to men and women workers on the grounds of the birth of a child.

Political contributions
Any financial or in-kind support given directly or indirectly to political parties, their elected representatives, or persons seeking political office. Financial contributions may include donations, loans, sponsorships, retainers, or the purchase of tickets for fundraising events. In-kind contributions may include advertising, use of facilities, design and printing, donation of equipment, or the provision of board membership, employment or consultancy work for elected politicians or candidates for office.

Precautionary Principle
The Precautionary Principle refers to the approach taken to address potential environmental impacts. See United Nations (UN) Declaration, ‘The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development’, 1992. ‘Principle 15: In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’

Product
Article or substance that is offered for sale or is part of a service delivered by an organization.

Product and service information and labeling
Information and labeling are used synonymously and describe communication delivered with the product or service describing its characteristics.

Product category
A group of related products sharing a common, managed set of features that satisfy the specific needs of a selected market.

Protected areas
A geographically defined area that is designated, regulated, or managed to achieve specific conservation objectives.

Reclaimed
Refers to collecting, reusing, or recycling products and their packaging materials at the end of their useful lives. Collection and treatment may be carried out by the manufacturer of the product or by a contractor. This refers to products and their packaging materials that are:
 
  • Collected by or on behalf of the organization
  • Separated into raw materials (such as steel, glass, paper, some kinds of plastic) or components
  • Used by the organization or other users

Recycled input materials
Materials that replace virgin materials that are purchased or obtained from internal or external sources, and that are not by-products and non-product outputs (NPO) produced by the organization.

Regular performance and career development review
Performance targets and reviews are based on criteria known to the employee and his or her superior. This review is undertaken with the knowledge of the employee at least once per year. It can include an evaluation by the employee’s direct superior, peers, or a wider range of employees. The review may also involve personnel from the human resources department.

Remuneration
Basic salary plus additional amounts such as those based on years of service, bonuses including cash and equity such as stocks and shares, benefit payments, overtime, time owed, and any additional allowances (such as transportation, living and childcare allowances).

Renewable energy sources
Energy sources that are capable of being replenished in a short time through ecological cycles. Renewable energy sources include:
  • Geothermal
  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Hydro
  • Biomass

Renewable materials
Renewable materials are materials that are derived from plentiful resources that are quickly replenished by ecological cycles or agricultural processes so that the services provided by these and other linked resources are not endangered and remain available for the next generation (135).

Reporting period
Reporting period is the specific time span covered by the information reported.

Risk control for diseases
Practices that seek to limit exposure and transmission of diseases.

Security personnel
Individuals employed for the purposes of guarding property of the organization; crowd control; loss prevention; and escorting persons, goods, and valuables.

Senior executive
A top ranking member of the management of an organization that includes a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and individuals reporting directly to the CEO or the highest governance body. Individual organizations define which members of their management teams are senior executives.

Serious diseases
Occupational or non-occupational related impairment of health with serious consequences for employees, their families, and communities. This may include HIV/AIDS, diabetes, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), malaria and stress.

Service
Action of an organization to meet a demand or need.

Services supported
Services that provide a public benefit either through direct payment of operating costs or through staffing the facility or service with the organization’s own employees. Public benefit may also include public services.

Significant air emissions
Air emissions that are regulated under international conventions and/or national laws or regulations, including those listed on environmental permits for the organization’s operations.

Significant impact for biodiversity
Impacts that may adversely affect the integrity of a geographical area or region, either directly or indirectly. This occurs by substantially changing its ecological features, structures, and functions across its whole area and over the long term. This means that the habitat, its population level, and the particular species that make that habitat important cannot be sustained.

On a species level, a significant impact causes a population decline or change in distribution so that natural recruitment (reproduction or immigration from unaffected areas) cannot return to former levels within a limited number of generations. A significant impact can also affect subsistence or commercial resource use to the degree that the well-being of users is affected over the long term.

Significant operational changes
Alterations to the organization’s pattern of operations that have substantial positive or negative consequences for its employees. Such changes may include, for example, restructuring, outsourcing of operations, closures, expansions, new openings, takeovers, sale of all or part of the organization, or mergers.

Significant spill
All spills that are included in the organization’s financial statements (such as due to resulting liabilities) or recorded as a spill by the organization.

Skills management
Policies and programs that focus on developing employees’ skills to meet the evolving strategic needs of the organization or the industry.

Spill
Accidental release of a hazardous substance that can affect human health, land, vegetation, water bodies, and ground water.

Standard benefits
Standard benefits refer to those typically offered to the majority of full-time employees. Such benefits do not need to be offered to every single full-time employee of the organization. The intention of Indicator G4-LA2 is to disclose what full-time employees can reasonably expect.

Substantiated complaint
Written statement by regulatory or similar official body addressed to the organization that identifies breaches of customer privacy, or a complaint lodged with the organization that has been recognized as legitimate by the organization.

Supervised worker
An individual who performs regular work on-site for, or on behalf of, the organization but is not recognized as an employee under national law or practice.

Supplier
Organization or person that provides a product or service used in the supply chain of the reporting organization.

The supplier can have a direct or indirect relationship with the organization.

Examples of suppliers are:
  • Brokers: Persons or organizations that buy and sell products, services, or assets for others, including contracting agencies that supply labor
  • Consultants: Persons or organizations that provide expert advice and services on a legally recognized professional and commercial basis. Consultants are legally recognized as self-employed or are legally recognized as employees of another organization
  • Contractors: Persons or organizations working onsite or offsite on behalf of an organization with a relationship determined by a contract. A contractor may hire their own staff directly or hire sub-contractors or independent contractors
  • Distributors: Agents that supply products to others
  • Franchisees or licensees: Persons or organizations that are granted a franchise or license by the reporting organization. Franchises and licenses permit specified commercial activities (such as the production and sale of a product)
  • Home workers: Persons at home or in other premises of their choice, other than the workplace of the employer, who perform work for remuneration and which results in a product or service as specified by the employer, irrespective of who provides the equipment, materials or other inputs used
  • Independent contractors: Persons or organizations working for an organization, a contractor, or a sub-contractor, with a relationship determined by a contract. Independent contractors do not have an employment relationship with the organization
  • Manufacturers: Persons or organizations that make products for sale
  • Primary producers: Persons or organizations that grow, harvest, or extract raw materials
  • Sub-contractors: Persons or organizations working onsite or offsite on behalf of an organization that have a direct contractual relationship with a contractor or sub-contractor but not necessarily with the organization. A sub-contractor may hire their own staff directly or hire independent contractors
  • Wholesalers: Sellers of products in large quantities to be retailed by others

Supplier screening
A formal or documented process that applies a set of performance criteria as one of the factors in determining whether to proceed with a relationship with a supplier.

Supply chain
Sequence of activities or parties that provides products or services to the organization.

Termination payment
All payments made and benefits given to a departing executive or member of the highest governance body whose appointment is terminated. This extends beyond monetary payments to the giving of property and the automatic or accelerated vesting of incentives given in connection with a person’s departure from office.

Total water discharge
The sum of water effluents discharged over the course of the reporting period to subsurface waters, surface waters, sewers that lead to rivers, oceans, lakes, wetlands, treatment facilities, and ground water either through:
  • A defined discharge point (point source discharge)
  • Over land in a dispersed or undefined manner (non-point source discharge)
  • Wastewater removed from the organization via truck. Discharge of collected rainwater and domestic sewage is not regarded as water discharge

Total water withdrawal
The sum of all water drawn into the boundaries of the organization from all sources (including surface water, ground water, rainwater, and municipal water supply) for any use over the course of the reporting period.

Total workforce
The total number of persons working for the organization at the end of the reporting period (that is, the sum of all employees and supervised workers).

Training
Refers to:
  • All types of vocational training and instruction
  • Paid educational leave provided by the organization for its employees
  • Training or education pursued externally and paid for in whole or in part by the organization
  • Training on specific topics such as health and safety

Training does not include on-site coaching by supervisors.

Transportation
The act of transferring resources and goods from one location to another (between suppliers, production plants, warehouses, and the customer), using different modes of transport, including passenger transportation (such as employee commuting and business traveling).

Transportation of the members of the organization’s workforce
Transportation used for commuting to and from work by members of the workforce or travel for business purposes including air, train, bus, and other forms of motorized and non-motorized travel.

Two-­tier board system
A governance system found in a limited number of jurisdictions where supervision and management are separated or where local law provides for a supervisory board drawn from non-executives to oversee an executive management board.

Type of non-­compliance
Court judgment on failure to act in accordance with regulations or laws, categorized by the nature of the laws or regulations breached.

Under-­represented social group
A population that, relative to its numbers in a given society, has less opportunity to express its economic, social, or political needs and views. Specific groups included under this definition are not uniform for every organization. The organization identifies relevant groups based on its operating context.

Vulnerable groups
A vulnerable group is a set or subset of people with some specific physical, social, political, or economic condition or characteristic that places the group at a higher risk of suffering a burden, or at a risk of suffering a disproportionate burden of the social, economic or environmental impacts of an organization’s operations. Vulnerable groups may include children and youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, ex-combatants, the internally displaced, refugees or returning refugees, HIV/AIDS-affected households, indigenous peoples, and ethnic minorities. Vulnerabilities and impacts may differ by gender.

Waste disposal method
The method by which waste is treated or disposed of, including composting, reuse, recycling, recovery, incineration, landfill, deep well injection, and on-site storage.

Water recycling and reuse
The act of processing used water and wastewater through another cycle before discharge to final treatment and discharge to the environment. In general, there are three types of water recycling and reuse:
  • Wastewater recycled back in the same process or higher use of recycled water in the process cycle
  • Wastewater recycled and reused in a different process, but within the same facility
  • Wastewater reused at another of the organization’s facilities

Worker
Generic term for any person performing work, regardless of the contractual relationship.

Young worker
A person who is above the applicable minimum working age and younger than 18 years of age.