Acidification is caused by acid depositions of three main
pollutants: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx),
and ammonia (NH3). Acid depositions have negative impacts
on water, forests, and soil as well as causing damage to
buildings and monuments. The main sources of emissions of
acidifying substances are fossil fuel combustion used for
energy production and transport.
report Our common future (1987), put forward by
the World Commission on Environment and Development, popularized
the notion of sustainable development. The Commission
was at that time chaired by the Norwegian Prime Minister
Gro Harlem Brundtland.
metric measure used to compare the emissions from
various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming
potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly
expressed as 'million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide
equivalents (MMTCDE)'. The carbon dioxide equivalent for
a gas is derived by multiplying the tonnes of the gas by
the associated GWP. MMTCDE = (million metric tonnes of a
gas) * (GWP of the gas). For example, the GWP for
methane is 21 and for nitrous oxide 310. This means that
emissions of 1million metric tonnes of methane and
nitrous oxide respectively is equivalent to emissions of
21 and 310 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.
naturally produced by animals during respiration and
through decay of biomass, and used by plants during
photosynthesis. Although it only constitutes 0.04
percent of the atmosphere, it is one of the most
important greenhouse gases. The combustion of fossil
fuels is increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the
atmosphere, which is believed to be contributing to
Cradle to grave
assessment considers impacts at each stage of a
product's life-cycle, from the time natural resources
are extracted from the ground and processed through each
subsequent stage of manufacturing, transportation,
product use, and ultimately, disposal.
an acronym for Demonstrate and Assess New Tools for
Design for Environment (DfE)
Design for Environment (DfE) or Ecodesign are methods
developers in reducing the total environmental impact of a
product early in the product development process. This include reducing
resource consumption as well as emissions and waste.
This means choosing the method for
production, service, disposal or recovery that makes most
ecological and economic sense, ensuring optimum
conservation of resources, minimum emissions and waste and
low overall costs.
In summary: doing more with less.
branch of science studying the interactions among living
things and their environment
auditing scheme, EMAS
and Audit Scheme, was adopted by the European Union in
Community scheme allowing voluntary participation by
companies performing industrial activities, established
for the evaluation and improvement of the environmental
performance of industrial activities and the provision
of the relevant information to the public. The objective
of the scheme is to promote continuous improvements in
the environmental performance of industrial activities
(a) the establishment and implementation of
environmental policies, programs and management
systems by companies, in relation to their sites;
systematic, objective and periodic evaluation of the
performance of such elements;
(c) the provision of
information of environmental performance to the public.
Element of an organization's activities, products or
services that can interact with the environment.
A detailed study of the reasonably foreseeable significant
effects on the environment, beneficial as well as adverse, of a product, service
or process. Life Cycle
Assessment (LCA), Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) and
Eco-efficiency are examples of environmental assessments.
Any direct or indirect effects of activities, products
and services of an organization upon the environment,
whether adverse or beneficial. An environmental
effect/impact is the consequence of an environmental
intervention in an environmental system.
impact assessment, EIA
technique used for identifying the environmental effects
of development projects. As a result of Directive
85/337/EEC (as amended 1997), this is now a legislative
procedure to be applied to the assessment of the
environmental effects of certain public and private
projects which are likely to have significant effects on
the environment. An EIA requires a scooping study to be
undertaken in order to focus the assessment. This can be
carried out in the field or as a desk study depending on
the nature/scale of the project.
on human beings, ecosystems and man-made capital
resulting from changes in environmental quality.
An environmental indicator can be a measurable feature or
features that provide managerially and scientifically
useful evidence of environmental and ecosystem quality or
reliable evidence of trends in quality. Thus,
environmental indicators must be measurable with available
technology, scientifically valid for assessing or
documenting ecosystem quality, and useful for providing
information for management decisionmaking.
Indicators can be used to:
- compare current conditions with desired performance,
- show trends over time, to allow comparisons between
- help judge the sustainability of current practices,
- define and publicise new standards and measures for
assessing progress toward a sustainable future.
Management Systems, EMS
Management Systems is a set of
processes and practices that enable an organization to
reduce its environmental impact and increase its
Product Declaration, EPD
Product Declaration, is a certified, standardized (ISO 14025/TR)
and LCA based tool to communicate the environmental
performance of a product or system.
or probability, of injury, disease, or death resulting
from exposure to a potential environmental hazard.
Risk Assessment, ERA
An environmental risk assessment (ERA) is a process of
identifying and evaluating the adverse effects on the
environment caused by a chemical substance. An
environmental exposure to the chemical is predicted and
compared to a predicted no-effect concentration, supplying
risk ratios for different media.
EU LIFE- Environment program
program finances actions which aim to implement the
Community policy and legislation on the environment in
the European Union and candidate countries.
external cost is a cost not included in the market price
of the goods and services being produced, i.e. a cost
not borne by those who create it.
in the surface-air temperature, referred to as the
global temperature, brought about by the greenhouse
effect which is induced by emission of greenhouse gases
into the air.
of the atmosphere due to the reduction in outgoing solar
radiation resulting from concentrations of gases such as
term applied to those wastes that because of their
chemical reactivity, toxicity, explosiveness, corrosiveness,
radioactivity or other characteristics, constitutes a risk to
human health or the environment.
product policy (IPP) is an approach that begins by
asking how the environmental performance of products can
be improved most cost-effectively. It is founded on the
consideration of the impacts of products throughout
their life-cycle, from the natural resources from which
they come, through their use and marketing to their
eventual disposal as waste. It is also a relatively new
approach to environmental policy.
of an externality into the market decision making
process through pricing or regulatory interventions. In
the narrow sense, internalization is achieved by
charging polluters (for example) with the damage costs
of the pollution generated by them, in accordance with
the polluter pays principle.
standard on Environmental Management System, EMS.
Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the Third Session of the
Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997 in Kyoto,
Japan. It contains legally binding commitments, in
addition to those included in the UNFCCC. Countries
included in Annex B of the Protocol (most OECD countries
and EITs) agreed to reduce their anthropogenic emissions
of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6)
by at least 5 % below 1990 levels in the commitment
period 2008 to 2012.
Life cycle assessment, LCA
assessment (LCA) is a process of evaluating the effects
that a product has on the environment over the entire
period of its life thereby increasing resource-use
efficiency and decreasing liabilities. It can be used to
study the environmental impact of either a product or
the function the product is designed to perform. LCA is
commonly referred to as a "cradle-to-grave"
analysis. LCA's key elements are: (1) identify and
quantify the environmental loads involved; e.g. the
energy and raw materials consumed, the emissions and
wastes generated; (2) evaluate the potential
environmental impacts of these loads; and (3) assess the
options available for reducing these environmental
Life cycle cost, LCC
cost of a product or service over its entire life cycle.
Life cycle impact
scientific technique for assessing the potential
environmental impacts of industrial systems and their
associated products. This technique is 'cradle-to-grave'
in scope, meaning that it considers impacts at each
stage of a product's life-cycle, from the time natural
resources are extracted from the ground and processed
through each subsequent stage of manufacturing,
transportation, product use, and ultimately, disposal.
Cycle Initiative aim to develop and disseminate
practical tools for evaluating the opportunities, risks,
and trade-offs associated with products and services
over their entire life cycle to achieve sustainable
Cycle Management is a concept
launched a few years ago. It is a business management
concept based on life cycle considerations and it can be
used in the development and application of
and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw
material acquisition or generation of natural resources
to the final disposal.
of materials found in the waste stream to a beneficial
use which may be for purposes other than the original
oil, gas and coal. Their use as material and energy
sources leads to depletion of the Earth's reserves as they do
cannot be renewed in human
relevant periods of time.
the triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is a gaseous
atmospheric constituent. In the troposphere, it is
created both naturally and by photochemical reactions
involving gases resulting from human activities (photochemical
smog). In high concentrations, tropospheric ozone can be
harmful to a wide range of living organisms.
Tropospheric ozone acts as a greenhouse gas. In the
stratosphere, ozone is created by the interaction
between solar ultraviolet radiation and molecular oxygen
(O2). Stratospheric ozone plays a decisive role in the
stratospheric radiative balance. Depletion of
stratospheric ozone, due to chemical reactions that may
be enhanced by climate change, results in an increased
ground-level flux of ultraviolet (UV-) B radiation.
integrated change in total ozone per unit mass emission
of a specific compound, relative to the integrated
change in the total ozone per unit mass of CFC-11.
compound that contributes to stratospheric ozone
depletion. Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) include CFCs,
HCFCs, halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, and
methyl chloroform. ODS are generally very stable in the
troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet
light in the stratosphere. When they break down, they
release chlorine or bromine atoms, which then deplete
indicators compare actual conditions with a specific set
of reference conditions. They measure the "distance(s)"
between the current environmental situation and the
desired situation (target): distance to target
Individuals, especially those in official bodies, who have
the authority to make decisions about which problems
within a particular sector that are to be
addressed and how these
problems are to be handled.
anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.
Stewardship is "the responsible
and ethical management of the health, safety and
environmental aspects of a product throughout its total
A resource recovery method involving the collection and
treatment of a waste product for use as raw material in
the manufacture of the same or a similar product. (2)
the EU waste strategy distinguishes between: reuse meant
as a material reuse without any structural changes in
materials; recycling meant as a material recycling, only,
and with a reference to structural changes in products;
and recovery meant as an energy recovery only.
voluntary program developed by the chemical industry
that helps it to raise its standards and win greater
trust from the public. Under Responsible Care, the
worldwide chemical industry is committed to continual
improvement in all aspects of health, safety and
environmental performance and to open communication
about its activities and achievements.
losses (of lives, persons injured, property damaged and
economic activity disrupted) due to a particular hazard
for a given area and reference period. Based on
mathematical calculations, risk is the product of hazard
procedure in which the risks posed by inherent hazards
involved in processes or situations are estimated either
quantitatively or qualitatively.
of evaluating alternative regulatory and non-regulatory
responses to risk and selecting among them. The
selection process necessarily requires the consideration
of legal, economic and social factors.
Safety Data Sheet, SDS
Data Sheet presents information on a product's health
and environmental hazards. It provides information on
safe handling, transportation, storage, physical data (e.g.
boiling, melting, and flash point), toxicity, health
effects, first aid, reactivity, disposal, protective
equipment, and spill/leak procedures.
process used within a project to determine whether more
environmental assessments are needed and the type and level of
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
(SETAC) is a nonprofit, worldwide professional society
comprised of individuals and institutions engaged in:
SETAC's mission is to support the development of
principles and practices for protection, enhancement and
management of sustainable environmental quality and
- the study, analysis, and solution of environmental
- the management and regulation of natural resources
- environmental education
- research and development
SETAC is the scientific body that
developed the LCA methodology.
institution, organization, or group that has some
interest in a particular sector or system.
on how and when to use different sustainability tools
for eco-efficiency evaluation. See methods, tools
Sustainability Performance Indicators, SPI
Performance Indicators, SPIs, are a limited number of
key indicators used to find and keep track of
the sustainability performance of e.g. projects, products
or organizations. SPIs cover the economic , environmental (EPI) or social
dimension of sustainability.
The concept of meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their needs (from Our common future, see Brundtland
The term was originally applied to natural resource
situations in a long term perspective. Today, it applies to many
disciplines, including economic development, environment,
food production, energy, and social organization. Basically,
sustainability/sustainable development refers to doing
something with the long term in mind. Today's decisions are
made with a consideration of sustaining our activities into
the long term future.
selected with the aim to provide information on the
essence of sustainable development; it may refer to
systemic characteristics such as carrying capacities of
the environment, or it may refer to interrelations
between economy, society and the environment.
degree to which a chemical substance elicits a
deleterious or adverse effect upon the biological system
of an organism exposed to the substance over a
designated time period.
Nations Environmental Program http://www.unep.org/
Willingness to pay
amount an individual is willing to pay to acquire a
product or service. This may be elicited from stated or
revealed preference approaches.