Climate change news and information can be overwhelming for those not working in sustainability every day. It’s important for everyone to understand terms and concepts that affect our decisions at work and at home. This is the first of two articles that aim to demystify some of the key concepts in sustainability.

Sharp is adapting to the changing regulations for environmental sustainability and ESG worldwide, like other organizations.  We are creating a sustainability plan to follow the appropriate laws and regulations for the pharma sector. We also want to improve our operations to be more sustainable as our business grows.

A cornerstone of any sustainability strategy development is stakeholder engagement. We need to align our strategy with the priorities and opinions of our people, clients, parent company, and suppliers. This helps us understand and act on what is important to each of them, not just what is important to our own business. Double materiality, as it is referred to, is critically important in sustainability. It ensures we consider all the key Environment, Social & Governance themes that are essential for any ESG strategy.

Below are some examples of the kind of questions included in a sustainability or materiality survey.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

Sample Materiality Questions

Survey questions on sustainability cover various topics related to business operations, the environment, people, and practices. Some typical examples include:

1.     Tell us more about your background and current role? What does sustainability mean to you and your organization?

2.      What risks do you see, sustainability or otherwise?

3.     What opportunities do you see, sustainability or otherwise?

4.     Is Sharp a leader in sustainability, or should it be?

5.     Where should Sharp focus its effort on improving its practices and behaviours?

Understanding Materiality In Medicine Packaging

Demystifying Climate & ESG Terminology

Below are some of the key terms you might hear or read about relating to climate, carbon emissions or ESG. We hope you find these helpful!

Business SustainabilityAlso known as corporate sustainability, business sustainability is the ethical, responsible management of an organization’s continued success with environmental, social and financial concerns.
Carbon Footprintcarbon footprint measures the amount of carbon dioxide and methane produced by individuals, organizations, products, or practices.
Carbon Offsetcarbon offset is an activity or purchase that is intended to compensate for carbon emissions produced by individuals and organizations. Carbon storage through tree planting or land restoration is a common example. Businesses that create carbon offset programs receive carbon tokens.
Circular Economy or CircularityThe circular economy keeps products in circulation to the fullest extent possible by reducing material consumption, streamlining processes and collecting waste for reuse.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)CDP solicits primarily climate-related information from companies annually by sending Climate Change, Water, and Forest Questionnaires. Companies that disclose information to CDP are assigned grades and are regularly benchmarked against their peers.
Climate ResilienceThe ability to support a community, company or the natural environment before, during and after a climate event in a timely, efficient manner. Climate resilience differs from climate adaptation, but the two are often used synonymously.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)For-profit companies use the CSR business model to gauge social and environmental benefits alongside organizational goals such as profitability.
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires companies to report on the impact of corporate activities on the environment and society, and requires the audit (assurance) of reported information.
Energy EfficiencyThe same task or result is achieved with less energy. For example, heating, cooling and operating appliances and electronics are less energy-intensive in energy-efficient homes and buildings.
Environmental, Social and GovernanceSustainable and ethical interests that can be central to an organization’s financial and corporate interests.
ESG framework. A set of objectives that companies can use to report on ESG issues. The process begins when an organization selects an ESG reporting method. Examples of standardized reporting frameworks include the CDP, GRI, SBTi etc
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)Global Reporting Initiative, an independent international organization that has been involved in sustainability reporting since 1997. GRI is the most widely used and most extensive voluntary reporting framework for ESG and sustainability topics.
Global WarmingGlobal warming refers to Earth’s heating from trapped greenhouses gases resulting from human activities such as transportation, agriculture, overfishing, fossil fuel energy production and overconsumption. Unless companies, governments and consumers make major shifts, global warming and climate change will heat the planet so much that it will be unliveable in the near future.
Greenhouse Effect  The result of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides in Earth’s atmosphere trapping the sun’s heat.
Greenhouse Gas EmissionsThe sum of emissions of various heat-trapping gases. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons.
Greenhouse Gas ProtocolA globally recognized set of reporting and accounting frameworks for managing greenhouse gas emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions.
GreenwashingDeceptive, misleading or false claims or actions that an organization, product or service has a positive environmental effect is called greenwashing. Whether intentional or unintentional, the practice is detrimental.
Materiality AssessmentA materiality assessment is a formal way of assessing stakeholders’ commitment to specific ESG issues and calculates an organization’s ESG score. It works by identifying the impact of a certain issue on a company’s performance and competitiveness in the market.
Net zeroThe result of lowering greenhouse gas emissions as close as possible to zero and balancing remaining emissions with removals.
RecyclingThe process of collecting and processing waste materials, ideally to make new products.
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)The SASB finalized industry-specific voluntary reporting frameworks for “material” ESG and sustainability topics in late 2018. The SASB encourages companies to disclose “material” ESG and sustainability information on identified topics in annual financial reports
Science Based Targets initiatives (SBTi)The collaboration between CDP, the UNGC, World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature that requests for companies to create and publish targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures
Scope 1, 2, 3 EmissionsDeveloped by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, scopes give organizations a way to categorize their emissions. Organizations may find it easier to control scopes 1 and 2, but scope 3 emissions are the most difficult to track.
Scope 1 emissionsThe direct emissions generated by an organization’s operations. Running machinery, manufacturing products, driving vehicles, heating buildings and providing power to devices generate emissions.
Scope 2 emissionsThe indirect emissions generated by an organization’s energy purchase and usage. Investment in renewable energy sources may help lower these emissions.
Scope 3 emissionsThe indirect emissions generated by an organization’s customer and supplier activities.
SustainabilityThe ability to meet present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. In practice, sustainability aligns environmental protection, human well-being, and economic development.
Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial DisclosuresTCFD develops voluntary climate risk disclosures. The recommendations are divided into operational categories. governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)A non-binding United Nations pact to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.
United Nations Sustainable Development goals (UNSDGs)Goals set to be achieved by nations and companies by 2030 and that provide a general backdrop for the UNGC. The UN PRI is a set of guidelines for investors to incorporate ESG and sustainability issues in their decision-making and to seek disclosure from companies in which they invest
Zero wasteThe concept of managing products, packaging and materials responsibly to minimize environmental harm.

Learn more about our Sustainable Packaging Services.