Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
 
Allocation
The partitioning of emissions and removals from a common process between the studied productís life cycle and the life cycle of the co-product(s).
Assurance
The level of confidence that the inventory results and report are complete, accurate, consistent, transparent, relevant, and without material misstatements.
Attributable processes
Service, material, and energy flows that become the product, make the product, and carry the product through its life cycle.
 
B
 
Biogenic

Produced by living organisms or biological processes, but not fossilized or from fossil sources

C
 
Carbon stock

The total amount of carbon stored on a plot of land at any given time in one or more of the following carbon pools: biomass (above and below ground), dead organic matter (dead wood and litter), and soil organic matter. A change in carbon stock can refer to additional carbon storage within a pool, the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, or the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Comparative assertion

An environmental claim regarding the superiority or equivalence of one product versus a competing product that performs the same function.

Consumer

An individual that purchases and uses a product.

Co-product

A product exiting the common process that has value as an input into another productís life cycle.

Cradle-to-gate inventory

A partial life cycle of an intermediate product, from material acquisition through to when the product leaves the reporting companyís gate (e.g., immediately following the productís production).

Cradle-to-grave inventory

Removals and emissions of a studied product from material acquisition through to end-of-life.

Customer

An entity that purchases, rents, or uses the products of another entity (i.e., a supplier).

Climate change

A change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. (IPCC, 2011)

D
 
Direct emissions data

Emissions released from a process (or removals absorbed from the atmosphere) determined through direct monitoring, stoichiometry, mass balances, or similar methods.

Downstream

GHG emissions or removals associated with processes that occur in the life cycle of a product subsequent to the processes owned or controlled by the reporting company.

E
 
Emissions factor
GHG emissions per unit of activity data.
End-of-life stage
A life cycle stage that begins when the used product is discarded by the consumer and ends when the product is returned to nature (e.g., incinerated) or allocated to another productís life cycle.
Extrapolated data
Data specific to another process or product that has been adapted or customized to resemble more closely the conditions of the given process in the studied productís life cycle.
 
F
 
Final product
Goods and services that are ultimately consumed by the end user rather than used in the production of another good or service.
Financial activity data
Monetary measures of a process that result in GHG emissions or removals.
First party (self or internal) assurance
Assurance performed by a person(s) from within the reporting company but independent of the GHG inventory determination process.
Function
The service provided by the studied product.
Functional unit
The quantified performance of the studied product.
 
G
 
Gate-to-gate
The emissions and removals attributable to a studied product while it is under the ownership or control of the reporting company.
GHG impact
The results calculated when GHG emissions and removals are multiplied by the relevant global warming potential (GWP).
Global warming potential (GWP)
A factor used to calculate the cumulative radiative forcing impact of multiple specific GHGs in a comparable way.
 
I
 
Intermediate products
Goods that are used as inputs to the production of other goods or services.
Inventory results
The GHG impact of the studied product per unit of analysis.
 
L
 
Land-use change impacts
Emissions and removals due to land-use change.
Level of assurance
The degree of confidence stakeholders can have over the information in the inventory report.
Life cycle
Consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation of natural resources to end-of-life.
Life cycle assessment
Compilation and evaluation of inputs, outputs and potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its lifecycle.
Life cycle stage
A useful categorization of the interconnected steps in a productís life cycle for the purposes of organizing processes, data collection, and inventory results.
 
M
 
Material acquisition and pre-processing stage
A life cycle stage that begins when resources are extracted from nature and ends when the product components enter the gate of the studied productís production facility.
 
N
 
Non-attributable processes
Processes and services, materials and energy flows are not directly connected to the studied product because they do not become the product, make the product, or directly carry the product through its life cycle.
 
P
 
Primary data
Data from specific processes in the studied productís life cycle.
Process activity data
Physical measures of a process that result in GHG emissions or removals.
Product
Any good or service.
Product category
Group of products that can fulfill equivalent functions.
Product distribution and storage stage
A life cycle stage that begins when the finished studied product leaves the gate of the production facility and ends when the consumer takes possession of the product.
Product GHG inventory
Compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs, and the potential GHG impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle.
Product rule
A document containing additional specifications needed to enable comparisons or declarations about a product or product category.
Production stage
A life cycle stage that begins when the product components enter the production site for the studied product and ends when the finished studied product leaves the production gate.
 
Q
 
Qualitative uncertainty
A general and imprecise term which refers to the lack of certainty in data and methodology choices, such as the application of non-representative factors or methods, incomplete data on sources and sinks, lack of transparency, etc.
Quantitative uncertainty
Measurement that characterizes the dispersion of values that could reasonably be attributed to a parameter (adapted from ISO 1995).
 
R
 
Recycling processes
Processes that occur as a result of a product or material being reused or recycled as a material input into another productís life cycle.
Reference flow
The amount of studied product needed to fulfill the function defined in the unit of analysis.
Removal
The sequestration or absorption of GHG emissions from the atmosphere, which most typically occurs when CO2 is absorbed by biogenic materials during photosynthesis.
 
S
 
Secondary data
Process data that are not from specific processes in the studied productís life cycle.
Service life
The amount of time needed for a product to fulfill the function defined in the unit of analysis.
Studied product
The product for which the GHG inventory is performed.
 
T
 
Third party (external) assurance
Assurance performed by a person(s) from an organization independent of the product GHG inventory determination process.
Time period
The period of time when attributable processes occur during the studied productís life cycle, from when materials are extracted from nature until they are returned to nature at the end-of-life (e.g., incinerated) or leave the studied productís life cycle (e.g., recycled).
 
U
 
Unit of analysis
The basis on which the inventory results are calculated; the unit of analysis is defined as the functional unit for final products and the reference flow for intermediate products.
Upstream
GHG emissions or removals associated with processes that occur in the life cycle of a product prior to the processes owned or controlled by the reporting company.
Use stage
A life cycle stage that begins when the consumer takes possession of the product and ends when the used product is discarded for transport to a waste treatment location or recycled into another productís life cycle.
 
W
 
Waste
An output of a process that has no market value.
 

References:

WRI et WBCSD (2011). Product life cyle accounting and reporting standard. Greenhouse Gas Protocol (online)

Jolliet, O. et al. (2005). Analyse de cycle de vie, Comprendre et réaliser un écobilan. Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes.