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E - Alphabetical Listing of Selected Important Terms and Concepts in Sustainable Development

“A method of identifying products that cause less damage to the environment than other products (such as Fair Trade, organic, Food Alliance certified, raised without antibiotics, etc.). There exists a wide selection of eco-labels with different criteria and varying degrees of legitimacy. While some labels indicate that food was produced according to strict guidelines enforced and verified by third-party food-certifying agencies, other labels are self-awarded by food producers.”

introduction to sustainability: sustainable dictionary - Eco-labeling
[online]. Sustainable Table. Available from: http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/dictionary/ [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

Ecological Footprint (EF)
“The EF is a form of environmental accounting that measures how much bio-productive land people require to support themselves in population, consumption, and technology.”

Chambers, Nicky et al (2002). Sharing Nature’s Interest: Ecological Footprints as an indicator of sustainability. London: EARTHSCAN.


“The Ecological Footprint is a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology.”

Ecological Footprint: Overview
[online]. Global Footprint Network. Available from: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/gfn_sub.php?content=footprint_overview [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

“An ecosystem consists of a dynamic set of living organisms (plants, animals and micro-organisms) all interacting among themselves and with the environment in which they live (soil, climate, water, air and sunlight).”

(2008). Sustainability: Glossary - Ecosystem [online]. Vancouver 2010. Available from: http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/Sustainability/Glossary [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

Educating for Sustainable Development (aka Educating for Sustainability)
(NOTE: The years 2005 to 2015 are the: United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.)

In order to create a sustainable future, humans need change the way they think about their world and their place within it.

Educating for Sustainable Development aims to “integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning.... [an] educational effort [that] will encourage changes in behaviour that will create a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations.”

Education for Sustainable Development
[online]. UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Available from: http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=27234&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

Emissions Trading
“Emissions trading evolves from a system that restricts the aggregate allowable amount of a pollutant and allows market forces to continually move the allowed emissions to the highest value uses. Market transactions are driven by relative prices of emission reduction opportunities among market participants. “

(2008). IETA Home: Climate Change & Market Mechanisms [online]. International Emissions Trading Association. Available from: http://www.ieta.org/ieta/www/pages/index.php?IdSiteTree=26 [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].


“Emissions trading (or cap and trade) is an administrative approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants. [In such a plan], [a] central authority (usually a government agency) sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted. Companies or other groups that emit are required to hold an equivalent number of credits or allowances which represent the right to emit a specific amount. The total amount of credits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level. Companies that need to increase their emissions must buy credits from those who pollute less. The transfer of allowances is referred to as a trade. In effect, the buyer is being fined for polluting, while the seller is being rewarded for having reduced emissions. Thus, in theory, those that can easily reduce emissions most cheaply will do so, achieving the pollution reduction at the lowest possible cost to society.”

(2008). Emissions Trading [online]. Wikipedia. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_trading [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

Environmental Assessment (definition)
“A process to predict the environmental effects of a proposed project throughout its lifecycle (including construction, start-up, operation and shut-down) and to recommend ways to eliminate, minimize or mitigate those impacts.”

(2008). Sustainability: Glossary - Environmental Assessment [online]. Vancouver 2010. Available from: http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/Sustainability/Glossary [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].


“In general, environmental assessment is a process to predict the environmental effects of proposed initiatives before they are carried out.”

(2007). Basics of Environmental Assessment [online]. Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Available from: http://www.ceaa.gc.ca/010/basics_e.htm#1 [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].

Environmental Assessment (explained)
(The SOURCE for all the proceeding information on “Basics of Environmental Assessment” is:

(2007). Basics of Environmental Assessment [online]. Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Available from: http://www.ceaa.gc.ca/010/basics_e.htm#1 [Re-accessed: 06 March 2008].)

“Basics of Environmental Assessment

An environmental assessment:
• identifies possible environmental effects;
• proposes measures to mitigate adverse effects;
• predicts whether there will be significant adverse environmental effects, even after the mitigation is implemented.

Other environmental studies are often confused with environmental assessment.
Environmental assessments are not …
Environmental site assessments that are used to identify the nature and extent of contaminants on a specific site;
Environmental audits that are used to evaluate the environmental management and regulatory compliance of a specific operation.

What is the purpose of environmental assessment?
There are two main purposes of environmental assessment:
• minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects before they occur;
• incorporate environmental factors into decision making.

When are environmental assessments undertaken?
Environmental assessment should be conducted as early as possible in the planning and proposal stages of a project for the analysis to be valuable to decision makers and to incorporate the mitigative measures into the proposed plans.
Timely and efficient environmental assessments result in more informed decision making that supports sustainable development.

What are the benefits of environmental assessment?
By considering environmental effects and mitigation early in the project planning cycle, environmental assessment can have many benefits, such as:
• an opportunity for public participation
• increased protection of human health
• the sustainable use of natural resources
• reduced project costs and delays
• minimized risks of environmental disasters
• increased government accountability.”

“A cost or benefit of a product or service that is not included in its price.”

introduction to sustainability: sustainable dictionary - Externality
[online]. Sustainable Table. Available from: http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/dictionary/ [Accessed: 07 March 2008].


(The proceeding information is fully taken from the following SOURCE:

Johnson, Paul M. (2005). “Externality”. A Glossary of Political Economy Terms [online]. Available from: http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/externality [Accessed: 07 March 2008].

“A situation in which the private costs or benefits to the producers or purchasers of a good or service differs from the total social costs or benefits entailed in its production and consumption. An externality exists whenever one individual's actions affect the well-being of another individual -- whether for the better or for the worse --... An "external diseconomy," "external cost" or "negative externality" results when part of the cost of producing a good or service is born by a firm or household other than the producer or purchaser. An "external economy," "external benefit," or "positive externality" results when part of the benefit of producing or consuming a good or service accrues to a firm or household other than that which produces or purchases it.

Externalities of either the "positive" or the "negative" sort create a problem for the effective functioning of the market to maximize the total utility of the society. The "external" portions of the costs and benefits of producing a good will not be factored into its supply and demand functions because rational profit-maximizing buyers and sellers do not take into account costs and benefits they do not have to bear.”