Alternative Fuel

A type of fuel utilized in motor vehicles that comes from a source other than fossil based products (e.g. petroleum, gasoline, diesel, and kerosene) such as electricity, natural gas, ethanol made from corn and biodiesel made from vegetable oil.


Biodynamics is a holistic, sustainable form of agriculture that is considered above organic practices. According to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, biodynamic farming and gardening view the soil and the farm as living organisms. It regards maintenance and advancing of soil life as a basic necessity if the soil is to be preserved for generations. It also regards the farm as being true to its essential nature if it can be conceived of as a kind of individual entity in itself - a self contained individuality. It begins with the ideal concept of the necessary self-containedness of the farm and works with furthering the life of the soil as a primary means by which a farm can become a kind of individuality, which progresses and evolves.

BS 8901:2007

England recently introduced the BS 8901:2007 standard of sustainable event management. At the launch of this website, there is currently no assessment or certification to this standard but organizations are able to self-certify. In this instance, the standard provides a benchmark against which an organization can compare its existing management practices with respect to managing events more sustainably. The certification team at BSi British Standards is looking to put together a scheme for it, which may be available by the end of 2008. BSi website offers the following description for BS 8901:2007. BS 8901 provides requirements for planning and managing sustainable events of all sizes and types. BS 8901 encompasses the entire range of events ranging from large-scale conferences and unique events such as the 2012 Olympics to music festivals and air shows. The standard is applicable throughout the sector supply chain encompassing venues, organizing companies and industry contracting firms and is aimed at the following groups:

  • Event organizers
  • Venues
  • Organizations and/or individuals in the supply chain.

BS 8901 provides guidance in the form of easy to understand practical information designed to assist the user to implement the requirements and those in event management to manage their environmental, financial and social risks and impacts spanning all aspects of event management.

BS 8901 will:

  • Help companies to improve sustainable performance within available budgets
  • Reduce carbon emissions and waste, improving the resource efficiency of the entire event supply chain
  • Present opportunities for more efficient planning and encourage the re-use of equipment and infrastructure.
  • Reduce environmental impacts such as carbon usage, waste management and effects on biodiversity
  • Improve social impacts such as community involvement and fair employment
  • Establish economic impacts such as local investment and long-term viability

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide or carbon is a chemical compound – a gas that exists in the Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide or CO2 is produced by all things living during respiration including, plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms.

Carbon Footprint

Your carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activities at any given time, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). A carbon footprint is usually measured for a period of a year.

Carbon Offset

Carbon offsetting is the act of mitigating or "offsetting" greenhouse gas emissions. A common example is the purchasing of offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions from car travel or air travel. A "carbon offset" is an emission reduction credit from a different organization's project that results in less carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than would otherwise occur. Carbon offsets are typically measured in tons of CO2-equivalents (or 'CO2e') and are bought and sold through a number of international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms.

Fair Trade

(Definition provided by Associate Professor in Environmental Studies Howard Daugherty – York University, Toronto, Canada). Fair Trade is certified by the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations (FLO) and by TransFair Canada. FLO verifies that the coffee is produced by a democratically run cooperative and that the benefits are equally distributed among the membership. TransFair then certifies that the price paid by the coffee buyer is at least USD $1.26/lb (about 15 cents more for organic). Fair Trade requires nothing in terms of sustainability, but both FLO and TransFair Canada (and TransFair USA) encourage sustainable practices such as pesticide reduction, erosion control, etc. Certified Fair Trade coffee means that the coffee was produced by a democratic cooperative (no private sector allowed) and that the Fair Trade base price of USD $1.26/lb was paid. The benefit of course is that farmers receive a higher price for their coffee.

FSC Certification

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) focuses on the practice of sustainable forestry globally. They represent the comprehensive system for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes. Carrying the FSC-certification logo on your print products indicates that you support the highest social and environmental standards in the market where you use paper. Your purchase of FSC-certified paper and print products contribute to conservation, responsible management, and community level benefits for people near the forests that provide your paper.


The word ‘green' is a very loaded term and denotes many connotations. When using the word ‘green' and sometimes ‘eco', it often indicates concern for the well-being of the Earth, nature and all the natural resources it produces. It suggests an eco-consciousness and a distinct awareness to act as stewards to the Earth. For example, "Go Green" would mean consider the environment.

Greenhouse Gas

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases.

Green Building

According to Builder/Architect Magazine, a green building can be defined as any building that is sited, designed, constructed, operated and maintained for the health and well-being of the occupants, while minimizing impact on the environment. Furthermore, green buildings promote resource conservation by including design renewable energy and encourage water conservation. By promoting resource conservation, green building design creates healthy and comfortable environments, reduces operation and maintenance costs, considers environmental impacts of building construction and retrofit, and concentrates on waste minimization.

Green Meeting

A green meeting refers to a meeting or a conference with a focus on sustainability and mitigating the negative impacts of holding such events. Meetings and conferences generate a great deal of waste and consume high volumes of energy.

Green Roof

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities defines a green roof system as an extension of the existing roof, which involves a high quality waterproofing and root repellant system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants. Green roof development involves the creation of "contained" green space on top of a human-made structure. This green space could be below, at or above grade, but in all cases the plants are not planted in the "ground'. Green roofs can provide a wide range of public and private benefits such as savings on energy heating and cooling costs and sound insulation.

Hybrid vehicles

Any vehicle that joins two or more sources of power that can provide propulsion power is a hybrid. Most hybrid cars on the road right now are gasoline-electric hybrids.

ISO 14001 Standard

According to the ISO 14000/ISO 14001 Environmental Management, this standard specifies the actual requirements for an environmental management system. It applies to those environmental aspects, which the organization has control, and over, which it can be, expected to have an influence. ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner stone standard of the ISO 14000 series.

This standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to:

  • Implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental policy (those policy commitments of course must be made)
  • Demonstrate conformance
  • Ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations
  • Seek certification of its environmental management system by an external third party organization
  • Make a self-determination of conformance


Organic means that food and other agricultural products are not being produced using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. As well, organic meat and poultry must be fed only organically grown feed (does not contain any animal or animal by-products) and cannot be administered any hormones or antibiotics. Furthermore, the animals must have outdoor and open pasture accessibility (does not necessarily have to graze on pasture to be considered organic).

Pesticide Free

This term refers to the non-usage of synthetic chemicals and substances to eradicate or control a variety of agricultural pests that can damage crops and livestock and reduce farm productivity. Commonly applied pesticides are insecticides (insects), herbicides (weeds), rodenticides (rodents), and fungicides (to control fungi, mold, and mildew). However, the most commonly known pesticide is herbicides (weed killers) as they are sprayed on public and private green spaces.

Post Consumer Waste

Post consumer waste (PCW) is paper made out of paper that has been used by the end consumer and then collected for recycling from a range of recycling programs. This is the best paper to buy because no trees are cut down for making this type of paper. The actual percentage of the recycled and post-consumer recycled content is important to note when buying paper. For example, 50% recycled 20% PCW, means 50% comes from virgin wood, 30% is pre-consumer recycled and 20% is post-consumer recycled. If environmental sustainability is encouraged, choosing 100% PCW recycled and are either unbleached or bleached without using chlorine or chlorine derivatives should be priority.


It is important to realize that all paper is recyclable. The recycling symbol, which we have all grown accustomed, has very little meaning. It is used on many items which can be ‘recycled' but may have no recycled content. Paper, which is designated as ‘recycled', can be a mixture of virgin wood fiber, pre-consumer waste or post-consumer waste. It is important to distinguish between the pre-consumer and post-consumer content in recycled paper.

Shade Grown Coffee

(Definition provided by Associate Professor in Environmental Studies Howard Daugherty – York University, Toronto, Canada). Coffee has traditionally been grown under mature shade trees. Genetic manipulation during the last 40 years has resulted in sun-tolerant varieties of coffee. As a result, coffee today is grown in systems, which range from zero shade to the traditional shade cover of about 60%. The yields of sun-grown coffee are higher than shade grown so many farmers switched. However, the quality of the bean is lower. Coffee beans develop more taste and aroma when grown in cooler shade grown systems (or at higher elevations where it is cooler).

There has been a trend back to shade grown coffee in recent years for two reasons: one is to provide a higher quality coffee for the specialty market and secondly to restore wildlife habitat, particularly migratory birds that over-winter in the tropics. The Smithsonian Institute began about 20 years ago to promote shade grown coffee as part of its Migratory Bird Program, irrespective of farm size. The Rainforest Alliance (RA) has developed a certification program for tropical timbers and several agricultural crops, including coffee. Their definition of "shade-grown" is 40% shade cover (again regardless of farm size). However, the RA certification program deals more with larger private sector coffee estates. Many coffee roasters prefer the RA system because of its balanced approach to ecological sustainability, social justice and economic equitability.


The capacity to provide for the needs of the current world population without destroying the ability of future generations to provide for themselves. When a process is sustainable, it can be performed repeatedly without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs to anyone involved.


Refers to someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. Vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.


The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as someone living on a diet of grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits, with or without the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or slaughter by-products.

Waterless Printing

Waterless printing is an offset lithographic printing method that removes the use of water or dampening solution used in regular printing. Waterless printing plates have the added benefit of not requiring fountain solution for offset printing. It uses a special silicone rubber coated printing plate, special ink (sometimes vegetable ink), and typically a means of temperature control on press.


This term first came out in the state of Colorado. It refers to sustainable landscaping or a water-conservative approach to landscaping. Vegetation is carefully chosen to reflect the cultural requirements and appropriate to the local climate. This type of landscaping is designed to pay extra attention to avoid water wastage to evaporation and run-off.

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