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This Glossary Page provides descriptions of words and acronyms commonly used in the field of GHG Management and that appear throughout FoundationFootprint™’s Help Centre.

Let us know of any other terms you would like including or require further clarification on.

Glossary Item


Activity data

Quantifies an activity, such as taxi trips or energy usage, in units that enable the calculation of emissions generated or resources used. Each activity is expressed in a specific unit e.g. litres of fuel, kwh of gas.

Carbon Asset
The potential of greenhouse gas emission reductions that an organisation or project is able to generate and sell.

Carbon footprint

The sum of an organisations direct and indirect GHG emissions over a given timeframe.

CER and

Secondary CER

Certified Emission Reductions. Secondary Certified Emission Reductions are ones issued from a project by the UN after third party verification

CO2 equivalent

The universal unit of measurement for determining the global warming potential (GWP) of each of the six greenhouse gases identified in the Kyoto Protocol. CO2e is expressed in terms of the GWP of one unit of carbon dioxide. It is used to evaluate emissions of different greenhouse gases against a common basis.

Direct GHG emissions

Emissions from sources owned and controlled by an organisation (1)

GHG emissions

The release of GHG’s into the atmosphere

Emission factor

Converts activity data to emission values from a unit of available activity data e.g. kilograms of CO2 per air kilometer travelled. They are published by various entities including government agencies and intergovernmental organisations.(1)

Emission source category

Associated with cross sector calculation tools that reference the source of an emission. Emission source categories include stationary combustion, mobile combustion, process emissions and fugitive emissions.

Fugitive emissions

Emissions that result from the intentional or unintentional releases of GHG’s e.g. equipment leaks from joints, seals, packing, gaskets etc; methane emissions from coal mines and venting; hydroflurocarbon (HFC) emissions during the use of refrigeration or air-conditioning equipment; methane leaks from gas transport.(1)

GHG emissions

The release of GHG’s into the atmosphere .(1)

GHG emission source

Any physical unit or process which releases GHG into the atmosphere .(1)

Greenhouse gases (GHG)

The six gases identified in the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydroflurocarbons (HFC’s); perflurocarbons (PFC’s); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) .(1)

GHG Inventory

A quantified list of an organisations GHG emissions and sources .(1)

GHG Protocol Corporate Standard

Provides a step by step guide for organisations to use in quantifying and reporting their GHG emissions as well as internationally recognised GHG accounting and reporting standards. Produced by a multi-stakeholder partnership of businesses, governments and NGO’s convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) .(1)


A measure of the degree of harm to the atmosphere of one unit of a particular GHG relative to one unit of CO2e.

Indirect GHG emissions

Emissions that are a consequence of the operations of an organisation, but occur at sources owned and controlled by another organisation .(1)


Kilowatt hours

Mobile combustion

Burning of fuels by transportation devises such as cars, trucks, trains, airplanes etc.(1)

Operational Boundary

The boundary that determines the direct and indirect emissions associated with operations owned or controlled by an organisation. This assessment allows an organisation to establish which operations and sources cause direct and indirect emissions and to decide which indirect emissions to include that are a consequence of its operations.(1)

Organisational boundary

The boundary that determines the operations owned and controlled by an organisation, depending on the consolidation approach taken (equity or control approach) .(1)

Process emissions

Emissions from the physical or chemical processing production outputs or goods and services.(1)

Ratio indicator

Indicators providing information on relative performance such as intensity ratios or productivity ratios.(1)


A term used to define the operational boundaries with regard to an organisations direct and indirect emissions. The use of scopes’ help improve the transparency of reported data. Three scopes are defined in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, scopes 1, 2 and 3 for GHG accounting and reporting purposes.(1)

Scope 1

The category for an organisations direct GHG emissions.(1)

Scope 2

The category for an organisations emissions associated with the generation of electricity, heating/cooling, or steam purchased for own consumption.(1)

Scope 3

The category for an organisations indirect emissions other than those covered in scope 2.(1)

Stationary combustion

Burning of fuels to generate electricity, steam, heat or power in stationary equipment such as boilers, furnaces, turbines etc.(1)

Supply chain

A network of organisations involved in the full life cycle of a product including production, sale, delivery, consumption and disposal.

Target boundary

The boundary that defines which GHG’s, geographic operations, sources and activities are covered by the target.(1)

Target commitment period

The period of time during which emissions performance is measured against a target. It ends with the target completion date.(1)

Target completion date

The date that defines the end of a target commitment period.(1)

Value chain

The chain of activities involved in producing an organisations goods and services including activities upstream and downstream of the organisation.


An objective assessment of the reliability i.e. completeness and accuracy plus conformity to GHG accounting and reporting principles of an organisations GHG inventory. Verification is conducted by an independent party(1)

(1) World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2004), Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Revised Edition),

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