Glossary of terms


No greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) are being produced or emitted by an institution.

Net zero

A net zero organisation will set and pursue an ambitious 1.5 °C aligned science-based target for its full value-chain emissions. Any remaining hard-to-decarbonise emissions can be compensated using certified greenhouse gas removal.

Reference: Carbon Trust/Science Based Target initiative

Carbon neutral

A carbon neutral footprint is one where the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) produced is offset by natural carbon sinks and/or carbon credits.

Reference: PAS 2060/Carbon Trust


A way of compensating for emissions by participating in, or funding, efforts to take them out of the atmosphere. Offsetting often involves paying another party, somewhere else, to save emissions equivalent to those produced by your activity.

Reference: BBC

Scope 1

Direct emissions from the activity of an institution through owned or directly controlled sources. For example on site fuel combustion or fuel used in university/college-owned vehicles.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions generated from electricity purchased or used by an institution.

Scope 3

All other indirect emissions, produced as a consequence of an institution's activities. This includes emissions from business travel, procurement and waste.

Gold Standard

A best practice standards for climate and sustainable development interventions, that offset schemes can be accredited. Gold Standard aims to ensure projects that reduce emissions feature the highest levels of environmental integrity and also contribute to sustainable development.

Reference: Gold Standard

Science based approach

A target developed following the methodology of the Science Based Targets initiative. The initiative encourages target setting that is in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to well-below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 °C.

Note: this does not need to be officially accredited.

Reference: Science Based Targets initiative

Biodiversity net gain

An approach to managing estates that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before. Where a campus has an impact on biodiversity it should provide an increase in appropriate natural habitat and ecological features over and above that being affected.

Reference: Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Managers


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