An employee absent from work because of incapacity of any kind, not just as the result of work-related injury or disease. Permitted absences such as holidays, study, maternity/paternity and compassionate leave are excluded

Absentee rate

Refers to a measure of actual absentee days lost as defined above, expressed as a percentage of total days scheduled to be worked by the workforce for the same period.

Additional Indicators

Additional Indicators are those Indicators identified in the GRI Guidelines that represent emerging practice or address topics that may be material to some organizations but not generally for a majority.

Air conditioner

An air conditioner is a cooling device for creating and maintaining a uniform indoor climate.  Air conditioners here only include systems in which refrigerants are used.

Areas of high biodiversity value

Areas not subject to legal protection but recognized for their important biodiversity features by a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations. These include habitats that are a priority for conservation (often defined in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans prepared under the Convention on Biological Diversity). In addition, several international conservation organizations have identified particular areas of high biodiversity value.

Associated process materials

Associated process materials are materials that are needed for the manufacturing process but are not part of the final product, such as lubricants for manufacturing machinery.

Basic Salary

A fixed, minimum amount paid to an employee for performing his/her duties. This does not include any additional remuneration.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)

The biological oxygen demand (BOD) indicates the amount of oxygen which is needed for the biodegradation of organic substances in water under certain conditions and within a certain period. BOD serves as a parameter for indicating the pollution of wastewater. The mostly commonly used indicator is BOD5. It indicates the amount of oxygen in mg/l that is consumed by bacteria and other microorganisms in a water sample within a period of 5 days and at a temperature of 20 °C to aerobicallydegrade water components. Thus BOD is an indirect measure for the sum of all biologically degradable organic substances in water. The BOD level indicates how much dissolved oxygen is needed in a certain period for the biodegradation of organic wastewater components. This effluent parameter is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Borrowed capital

Borrowed capital can arise economically or in legal transactions and is, in contrast to equity, at the organization’s disposal only for a limited period. Borrowed capital has to be listed on the liabilities side of the balance sheet and is considered to finance the organization. It may be in the form of loans, bonds, accruals and accrued or deferred items.


The boundary for a sustainability report refers to the range of entities whose performance is covered in the organization’s sustainability report.

Business travel

Business travel is defined as business visits outside the regular workplace and the home of the traveler.

Carbon dioxide equivalent

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) equivalent is the measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential (GWP). The CO2 equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tonnes of the gas by the associated GWP. The most important greenhouse gases besides carbon dioxide (CO2) are methane (CH4), nitrous oxide/laughing gas (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide (CO) mainly results through incomplete combustion of fuels. The main sources are small-scale consumption, traffic and industry. As an air pollutant, CO is particularly important for its human toxicity effects (impairment of the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin). Furthermore, CO has an impact on the photochemical generation of ground level ozone, which is significant on a global and continental scale.

CFC-11 equivalent

CFC-11 is a measure used to compare various substances based on their relative ozone depletion potential. The reference level of 1 is the potential of CFC-11 and CFC-12 to cause ozone depletion.


This term applies to all persons under the age of 15 years or under the age of completion of compulsory schooling (whichever is higher), except in certain countries where economies and educational facilities are insufficiently developed and a minimum age of 14 years might apply. These countries of exception are specified by the ILO in response to special application by the country concerned and consultation with representative organizations of employers and workers.

Note: ILO Convention 138 refers to both child labor and young workers. See below for the definition of ‘young worker’.

Clean water

Clean water refers to water that meets national regulations for freshwater quality when leaving the boundaries of the reporting organization. This can be either freshwater whose quality has not been affected by the organization’s use, or wastewater that is treated to meet freshwater standards prior to discharge.

CO2 compensation

A primary objective of an organization should be the minimization of CO2 emissions. At some point, however, CO2 emissions cannot be further reduced economically. Therefore, it is possible to "compensate" by investing in a project that has a positive impact on the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. Companies as well as individuals can make a voluntary contribution to climate protection in this way.  With a good compensation strategy the contribution to climate protection can be made credible and transparent. The necessary basis for the compensation starts with determination of the CO2 footprint or a CO2 balance and the parallel exploration of possibilities with potential for reduction.

Carbon offsets work in the following way. The member states of the United Nations agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions in their own countries. A small proportion of the reduction may be achieved by so-called carbon trading: here, some emissions are compensated for by investment in climate protection projects that reduce emissions. These climate protection projects are nearly all in countries that are not obliged to reduce emissions, typically developing and emerging countries. The emission reductions are achieved there through improved energy efficiency and by switching to renewable energy. Such projects are recognized under certain conditions by the United Nations as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), from which a CER is generated. They are approved for emissions trading by the UN.

CO2 equivalent

Different greenhouse gases have different impacts on the environment.  To compare emissions, other greenhouse gases are converted to the amount of CO2 that produces an equivalent greenhouse effect.  This is known as the CO2 equivalent and is used to compare the greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). The CO2 equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the mass of the gas by the associated GWP. The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

CO2 footprint

Greenhouse gas emissions arise from energy generation, fossil fuel combustion, transportation and industrial and agricultural processes. When calculating a CO2 footprint the activities of individuals, countries, regions, organizations, companies or industries, industrial processes and the life cycle of products and services can be considered. Direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions are measured. The CO2 footprint (also known as the carbon footprint) is calculated as the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) which are directly and indirectly related to a product. It is important that the CO2 footprint considers not only the supply chain but also the use and recycling or disposal of the product. The CO2 footprint can be calculated not only for individual products but also for companies, individuals, organizations, countries or even an event such as a concert. When the CO2 footprint of several alternatives is known it can be taken into account when making decisio

Collective bargaining agreements

There exist two types of collective bargaining agreements which are directed either to employer or employees. The agreements which are directed to employers are written agreements about employment and working conditions between an employer, a group of employers or one or more employer representatives and the employees. The collective bargaining agreements which are directed to employees are agreements between one or more worker representatives, or their duly elected and authorized representatives in the case of nonexistence of a workers organization, and the employers.

Community development programs

Plans that detail actions to minimize, mitigate, and compensate for adverse social and economic impacts, and to identify opportunities and actions to enhance positive impacts of the project on the community.

Community investments

Voluntary contributions and investment of funds in the broader community (includes donations).

Company transport

Company transport is defined as all vehicles owned or leased by the organization.  All the fuel they consume is collected in the indicator for company transport, regardless of whether it is for company transport or other purposes. 


Coverage of the material topics and Indicators and definition of the report boundary should be sufficient to reflect significant economic, environmental, and social impacts and enable stakeholders to assess the reporting organization’s performance in the reporting period.

Completeness primarily encompasses the dimensions of scope, boundary, and time. The concept of completeness can also be used to refer to practices in information collection (for example, ensuring that compiled data includes results from all sites within the Report Boundary) and whether the presentation of information is reasonable and appropriate. These topics are related to report quality.

Core Indicator

Core Indicators are those Indicators identified in the GRI Guidelines to be of interest to most stakeholders and assumed to be material unless deemed otherwise on the basis of the GRI Reporting Principles.

Corporate Governance

Corporate governance refers to good and transparent management. The term contains the legal and factual framework for the planning, management and monitoring of an organization. Incomplete contracts as well as differing interests and motives provide stakeholders with opportunities to act opportunistically. Basically, guidelines on corporate governance have the objective of limiting the opportunities and motivation for opportunistic behavior stakeholders by means of suitable legal and factual arrangements.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) includes numerous different aspects, e.g. the compilation of sustainability reports, marketing activities for showing the organization’s engagement or organization of social projects, e.g. financial supporting of a kindergarten.  European Commission describes CSR more broadly as "a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis".


Cases of corruption exist when a person misuses conferred authority to achieve a personal advantage. Corruption can be committed by natural persons in the public or private economic sectors. The term here includes also corrupt practices such as bribery, fraud, blackmail, unlawful interplay (collusion), conflicts of interest and money laundering. In this connection, also the offer or acceptance of gifts, loans, charges, gratifications or another advantage to provide an incentive to do something that is illegal in connection with the management of the company, or unfair, or constitutes a breach of confidence. This includes non-monetary gifts, free goods or trips or special personal services that are provided to obtain irregular benefits or cause the grant of a benefit, or to generate moral pressure to obtain such a benefit.

Customer demographics

Customer demographics means the composition of customers of an organization according to various characteristics as e.g. distinction between end consumers and distributors.

Direct emissions

Emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting organization. For example, direct emissions related to combustion would arise from burning fuel for energy within the reporting organization’s operational boundaries.

Direct energy

Forms of energy that enter the reporting organization’s operational boundaries. It can be consumed either by the organization within its boundaries, or it can be exported to another user. Direct energy can appear in either primary (e.g. natural gas for heating) or intermediate forms (e.g. electricity for lighting). It can be purchased, extracted (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil), harvested (e.g. biomass energy), collected (e.g. solar, wind), or brought into the reporting organization’s boundaries by other means.

Direct materials

Materials that are present in a final product.


In accordance with the convention 111 (Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation of 1958) of the International Labor Organization (ILO) discrimination is defined as any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin (or any other motive determined by the state concerned) which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

Cases of discrimination can occur before the beginning, during or in the termination of a working relationship. Discrimination in organizations may occur in the following areas:

  • recruitment of new employees
  • remuneration of employees
  • entitlements
  • overtime
  • paid vacation
  • maternity protection
  • security of employment
  • distribution of tasks

Discrimination does not have to be obvious. Often employers and employees are surprised about the different instances of discrimination as soon as they start paying attention to the topic.

Disposal method

See: Method of disposal.

Distances for land transport

Distances can be determined online, for example with Google Maps

Distances for sea transport

Distances can be determined online, for example with Ship Distance Calculator . One nautical mile = 1.852 km. 

Distances for air transport

Distances can be determined online, for example with

360report distinguishes between short, medium and long-haul flights:

Short haul

Short-haul flights are normally within a country, e.g. Hamburg - Berlin, London - Edinburgh.

Medium haul

Medium-haul flights are normally within a continent, e.g. Hamburg - Madrid, Frankfurt - Istanbul or Lisbon - Helsinki.

Long haul

Long-haul flights are normally intercontinental, e.g. Frankfurt - New York, London - Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro - Los Angeles.

District heating

The external supply of buildings with heating and hot water is known as district heating. The transport of energy takes place in heat-insulated pipes, which are usually underground. In rare cases, exposed pipes are used.
District heating can originate from fossil fuels such as natural gas or renewable energy sources such as wood chips.

Drinking water

Drinking water refers to water that is suitable for human consumption and immediate use and whose quality meets the applicable legal provisions. Drinking water is prepared from raw water (ground water, spring water, surface water, rain water, possibly also sea water), and cleaned and distributed by waterworks.
The requirements for the quality of drinking water are established by law in Europe (EU directives, drinking water regulations). 

Economic value retained

Calculated as Economic value generated less Economic value distributed.

Electrical energy

Electrical power or current is defined as power which is transmitted by means of electricity or stored in electric fields. The transfer of energy by means of electricity is called electrical work. Electrical energy can be stored and converted into other forms of energy. In physics, the symbol E is used for electrical energy and it is measured in watt seconds (unit symbol: Ws). 1 Ws = 1 Joule. In power plants, batteries and accumulators, electrical energy is converted from thermal energy or chemical energy.  It is transported to consumers through power lines and converted by the consumers into other forms of energy such as power, light and heat.

Electric power consumption

The term "consumption" is not to be taken literally, because power is not consumed; rather, electrical energy is converted into another form of energy such as heat. A more appropriate term for power consumption is therefore electrical power requirement, which is the amount of electrical energy converted by electrical devices during a defined period. This energy expenditure is measured in watt-hours (Wh) or kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Employee category

Breakdown of employees by level (e.g. highest governance bodies, senior management, middle management, etc.) and function (e.g. technical, administrative, production, etc.). Data are derived from an organization’s own human resources system.

Employees' travel to work

The distance to work includes the entire distance travelled between the employee's home and workplace.  The type of transport (train, car, on foot, etc.) is not relevant here. 

Employee wages and benefits

Total monetary outflows for employees (current payments, not future commitments).

Employee turnover

Number of employees who leave the organization voluntarily or due to dismissal, retirement, or death in service.

Employment contract

An employment contract as recognized under national law or practice that may be written, verbal, or implicit (i.e. when all the characteristics of employment are present but without a written or witnessed verbal contract).

Employment types

A distinction is made between full-time and part-time employees. If an employee is considered as full-time or part-time employee depends on national law and working practices.

Energy suppliers

Energy suppliers are companies that supply their customers with electrical energy. Some supply end-users directly, while others use a distribution network.

Environmental laws and regulations

Refers to regulations related to all types of environmental issues (i.e. emissions, effluents and waste, as well as material use, energy, water and biodiversity) applicable to the reporting organization. This includes binding voluntary agreements that are made with regulatory authorities and developed as a substitute for implementing a new regulation. Voluntary agreements can be applicable if the reporting organization directly joins the agreement or if public agencies make the agreement applicable to organizations in their territory through legislation or regulation.


The equity of an organization is the difference between the value of assets and liabilities. Thus it is the net balance which shows the resources the owners provide to the organization in the long term.

Failure to comply with environmental laws and regulations

Failures to comply with environmental laws and regulations include the following administrative or judicial sanctions:

  • International declarations/conventions/ treaties, and national, sub-national, regional and local regulations including non-compliances related to spills as disclosed under EN23 that meet the criteria for EN28
  • Voluntary environmental agreements with regulating authorities that are considered binding and are developed as a substitute for implementing new regulations. In certain jurisdictions, such agreements are referred to as ‘covenants’
  • Cases brought against the organization through the use of international dispute mechanisms or national dispute mechanisms supervised by government authorities.


The death of a worker occurring in the current reporting period, arising from an occupational injury or disease sustained or contracted while in the reporting organization’s employ.

Fixed Term or Temporary Contract

A fixed term contract is a contract of employment as defined above that ends when a specific time period expires, or when a specific task that has a time estimate attached to it is completed. A temporary contract of employment is of limited duration and terminated by a specific event, including the end of a project or work phase, return of replaced personnel, etc.

Forced or compulsory labor

All work and service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered her/himself voluntarily (ILO Convention 29, Forced Labor Convention, 1930). The most extreme examples are slave labor and bonded labor, but debts can also be used as a means of maintaining workers in a state of forced labor. Withholding identity papers, requiring compulsory deposits, or compelling workers, under threat of dismissal, to work extra hours to which they have not previously agreed, are all examples of forced labor.

Freedom of association

Workers and employers may establish and join organizations of their own choosing without the need for prior authorization.


Fuel should be listed by the different types consumed. When emission factors are calculated for each type of fuel, not only the greenhouse gases generated by combustion but also those produced during the manufacture and distribution of the fuel is significant. These are accounted for by the CO2 calculator.

Full coverage

Plan assets that meet or exceed plan obligations.

Full time

A ‘full-time employee’ is defined according to national legislation and practice regarding working time (e.g. national legislation defines that ‘full-time’ means a minimum of nine months per year and a minimum of 30 hours per week).

Global Warming Potential

Global-warming potential (GWP) is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in relation to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. GWP is calculated over a specific time interval, commonly 20, 100 or 500 years. GWP is expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is standardized to 1). For example, the 20-year GWP of methane is 72, which means that if the same mass of methane and carbon dioxide were introduced into the atmosphere, the methane will trap 72 times more heat than the carbon dioxide over the next 20 years.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

GRI’s vision is of a sustainable global economy where organizations manage their economic, environmental, social and governance performance and impacts responsibly and report transparently. GRI accomplishes this vision by providing guidance and support that enables organizations to report transparently and with accountability, as drivers of the change to a sustainable global economy. All GRI Reporting Framework components are developed using a multi-stakeholder consensus-seeking approach.

Governance bodies

The committees or boards responsible for the strategic guidance of the organization, the effective monitoring of management and the accountability of management to the broader organization and its stakeholders.

Grammage, or paper weight

Grammage is the mass per unit area for paper, fabrics and films. It is expressed in g/m2.

Green energy

So-called green energy is electricity that is produced from renewable sources. Among renewable energy sources are water, tidal, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, digester and (to some extent) landfill gas energy. Since every green electricity provider supplies a different mix from the various sources of renewable energy, there is no uniform method of calculating how much CO2 is discharged per kWh of green electricity.
Users of green power improve their energy balance through resource savings and support the spread and establishment of renewable energy. A switch to green energy should be accompanied by verification of whether the power really comes from renewable energy sources.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases are gaseous constituents of the atmosphere that cause the so-called greenhouse effect.
Short wavelength solar radiation that reaches the earth is partially reflected and partially absorbed and converted into long wavelength thermal radiation.  Greenhouse gases prevent part of the long wavelength heat radiation from escaping into space. Instead, the upper layers of the atmosphere are heated, and this in turn heats the earth. There are both natural and man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse gases. Among the major natural greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and water vapor (H2O).  Man-made gases include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the use of which is limited by the Montreal Convention so that their concentration is no longer increasing.  Without greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, life would probably not exist on Earth as the surface temperature would be much lower. However, the recent increase in their concentration has resulted in a disturbance of the previous natural balance of the atmosphere, resulting in global warming, which in turn is associated with numerous consequences.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol is a globally recognized instrument that is used for the quantification and management of greenhouse gas emissions. The various GHG Protocol standards were developed in the framework of cooperation between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) that was concluded in 1998.
The GHG Protocol has developed guidelines for organization-wide calculations of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for the implementation of projects for emission reduction. These are applicable to governments, enterprises and other organizations. Companies increasingly use the GHG Protocol to manage their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. The emissions are categorized according to the scopes 1, 2 and 3 within the GHG protocol. Each Scope comprises different types of greenhouse gas emission. Scope 1 includes direct emissions from the company's own installations. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions arising from the provision of energy for the company. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions (excluding those in Scope 2), which arise in the entire value chain.

Scope 1

Scope 1 covers all greenhouse gas emissions arising directly from the company. These include emissions from stationary combustion sources (e.g. boilers) or mobile sources (e.g. the company's vehicles), greenhouse gas emissions from production or from chemical processes and fugitive emissions of greenhouse gases

Scope 2

Scope 2 includes all indirect GHG emissions that arise out of the energy supply for the company, i.e. those generated by energy supply companies in the provision of electricity, natural gas or district heating.

Scope 3

Scope 3 includes all other greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with the company's activities. These include greenhouse gas emissions from outsourced divisions, waste management and recycling, and those from business travel or commuting of employees, etc. More detailed information can be found in the Guide to the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard.

GRI Content Index

A GRI content index is a table or matrix that lists all of the Standard Disclosures, and where responses to the Disclosures can be found (page number or URL). Reporting organizations can also add reference to organization-specific (non-GRI Guidelines) Indicators. The Content Index provides users with a quick overview of what has been reported and increases ease of report use. A Content Index is especially important if some of the Disclosures appear in other reports, such as a financial report or previous sustainability reports.

Grievance mechanism

A system consisting of specified procedures, roles and rules for methodically addressing complaints and resolving disputes. Grievance mechanisms are expected to be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, rights-compatible, clear and transparent and based on dialogue and mediation.

HAP (hazardous air pollutants)

The term HAP (hazardous air pollutants) is used particularly in the USA and includes pollutants and contaminations which cause or may reasonably be anticipated to cause adverse effects to human health or adverse environmental effects. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) identifies and lists HAP which you can find here.

Hazardous waste

Hazardous wastes increase the potential of environmental hazards. Hazardous waste materials are marked with a star in the "European List of Waste Materials" and the country-specific regulations of the EU-member states. The original List of Waste you can find
here and the update of some wastes from 2008 here.


Heating is defined here as used for the heating of buildings.  Types include electric heating, district heating, gas heating, wood heating, coal heating, night storage heating, oil heating, pellet heating systems, heat pumps and system components such as boilers and radiators.
Heating fuel types include:
- Liquid fuels: light fuel oil, heavy fuel oil, diesel
- Gaseous fuels: natural gas, biogas, biomethane
- Solid fuels: coal, wood (logs, pellets or wood chips)
Electricity is not burned and thus does not count as a fuel.

Highest governance body

The highest governance body of an organization depends on the legal form of the company and can be e.g. the manager, the executive board or another committee.

Human rights

Human rights are subjective rights which apply equally to all human beings. The concept of human rights assumes that every human being has the same rights by reason of being a human and that these egalitarian constituted rights are universal, inalienable and indivisible.

Examples of human rights include the right to life and physical inviolability, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, right to work and appropriate remuneration, right of workers to form unions, and the right to an adequate standard of life including adequate food.

Besides international conventions on human rights (e.g. the Geneva Convention for Refugees or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)) there exist regional agreements on human rights which apply for the various continents. In Europe this is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Human rights clauses

Specific terms in a written agreement that define minimum expectations of performance with respect to human rights as a requirement for investment.

Human rights reviews

A formal or documented assessment process that applies a set of human rights performance criteria.

Human rights screening

A formal or documented process that applies a set of human rights performance criteria as one of the factors in determining whether to proceed with a business relationship.

Impact Assessment

An impact assessment (IA) is a process aimed at structuring and supporting the development of policies. It identifies and assesses the problem at stake and the objectives pursued. It identifies the main options for achieving the objective and analyses their likely impacts in the economic, environmental and social fields. It outlines advantages and disadvantages of each option and examines possible synergies and trade-offs.

Indefinite or Permanent Contract

A permanent contract of employment is a contract with an employee for full-time or part-time work for an indeterminate period.

Indicator Aspects

The general types of information that are related to a specific Indicator category (e.g. energy use, child labor, customers).

Indicator Categories

Broad areas or groupings of sustainability topics. The categories included in the GRI Guidelines are: economic, environmental and social. The social grouping is categorized in terms of Labor Practices, Human Rights, Society, and Product Responsibility. A given category may have several Indicator Aspects.

Indicators of diversity

Indicators for which the reporting organization gathers data may include, for example, citizenship, ancestry and ethnic origin, creed and disability.

Indirect emissions

Emissions that result from the activities of the reporting organization but are generated at sources owned or controlled by another organization. In the context of this Indicator, indirect emissions refer to greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity, heat or steam that is imported and consumed by the reporting organization.

Indirect energy

Energy produced outside the reporting organization’s organizational boundary that is consumed to supply energy for the organization’s intermediate energy needs (e.g. electricity or heating). The most common example is fuel consumed outside the reporting organization’s boundary in order to generate electricity to be used inside the organization’s boundary.

Information about and labeling of products and services

The terms information and labeling are used interchangeably and describe advices and declarations which are handed out with the product or service and describe particular characteristics of the product or service.


Facilities (e.g. a water supply facility, road, school or hospital) built primarily to provide a public service or good rather than a commercial purpose, and from which the organization does not seek to gain direct economic benefit.


A non-fatal or fatal injury arising out of or in the course of work.

Injury rate

The frequency of injuries relative to the total time worked by the total workforce in the reporting period.

Input-output balance

The input-output balance forms part of the environmental balance and contrasts the input (e.g. raw materials, associated process materials, energy, water etc.) with the output (e.g. products or services, greenhouse gas emissions, wastewater etc.) during the reporting period. Thus the organization gets an overview of the mass flows, can control them and can set goals.

Intermediate energy

Forms of energy that are produced by converting primary energy into other forms. For most organizations electricity will be the only significant form of intermediate energy. For a small percentage of organizations other intermediate energy products might also be important, such as steam or water provided from a district heating plant or chilled water plant or refined fuels such as synthetic fuels, biofuels, etc.

ISO 26000

The guidelines of ISO „ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility“ have the aim of providing guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way. This means acting in an ethical and transparent way that contributes to the health and welfare of society. ISO 26000 provides guidance rather than requirements, so it cannot be certified to unlike some other well-known ISO standards. Instead, it helps clarify what social responsibility is, helps businesses and organizations translate principles into effective actions and shares best practices relating to social responsibility, globally. It is aimed at all types of organizations regardless of their activity, size or location.

The standard was launched in 2010 following five years of negotiations between many different stakeholders across the world. Representatives from government, NGOs, industry, consumer groups and labour organizations around the world were involved in its development, which means it represents an international consensus. ISO 26000 can be divided into five parts:

  1. Chapter 1 – 3: Basic information about defininitions and explications of social responsibility and the meaning for companies as well as the coverage of the norm
  2. Chapter 4: Description of basic principals of social responsibility (transparency, consideration of stakeholder interests, consideration of human rights etc.)
  3. Chapter 5: Discussion about social responsibility, especially about the vertical and horizontal sphere of interest, e. g. along the value chain or identification of potential stakeholder groups  
  4. Chapter 6: Definition of the seven core subjects of social responsibility on the particular fields of action. The seven core subjects are (1) Verantwortungsvolle Unternehmensführung, (2) human rights, (3) labour practices, (4) the environment, (5) fair operating practices, (6) consumer issues, (7) community involvement and development.
  5. Chapter 7: Information regarding prioritization of the core subjects, which aspects should be considered in implementation of social responsibility and how it should be communicated.

Lifecycle Assessment (LCA)

A life-cycle assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis, eco-balance, and cradle-to-grave analysis) is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from cradle to grave (i.e. from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance and disposal or recycling). LCA helps to quantify the environmental pressures related to goods and services (products), the environmental benefits, the trade-offs and areas for achieving improvements taking into account the full life-cycle of the product. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) and Life Cycle Impact assessment (LCIA) are consecutive parts of a Life Cycle Assessment, where:

  • Life Cycle Inventory is the collection and analysis of environmental interventions data (e.g. emissions to air and water, waste generation and resource consumption) which are associated with a product from the extraction of raw materials through production and use to final disposal, including recycling, reuse and energy recovery.
  • Life Cycle Impact Assessment is the estimation of indicators of the environmental pressures in terms of e.g. climate change, summer smog, resource depletion, acidification, human health effects, etc. associated with the environmental interventions attributable to the life-cycle of a product.

The data used in LCA should be consistent and quality-assured and reflect actual industrial process chains. Methodologies should reflect a best consensus based on current practice.


Animals, plants and other organisms in inland waters (limnic), in contrast to such on land or in sea (marine).


Refers to efforts to persuade or influence persons holding political office, or candidates for such office, to sponsor policies, and/or to influence the development of legislation or political decisions. In this Indicator, it can relate to lobbying governments or international institutions at any level.

Local community

People or groups of people who live or work in areas which are influenced economically, socially or ecologically by sites of the organization (in a positive or negative way). The local community can refer to people who live in the direct neighborhood of the organization's site, as well as to isolated settlements which are located away from the site but are affected by it.

Local hiring

Local refers to individuals either born in or who have the legal right to reside indefinitely (e.g. naturalized citizens or permanent visa holders) in the same geographic market as the operation. Reporting organizations can choose their own definition of ‘local’ because, in some cases, cities, regions, and even small countries could be reasonably viewed as local. However, the definition should be clearly stated.

Locally-based suppliers

Providers of materials, products and services that are based in the same geographic market as the reporting organization (i.e. no trans-national payments are made to the supplier). The geographic definition of ‘local’ may vary because, in some circumstances, cities, regions within a country, and even small countries could be reasonably viewed as ‘local’.

Lost day

Time in days that could not be worked (and is thus lost) as a consequence of a worker or workers being unable to perform their usual work because of an occupational accident or disease. A return to limited duty or alternative work for the same organization does not count as lost days.

Lost day rate

The impact of occupational accidents and diseases as reflected in time off work by the affected workers. It is expressed by comparing the total lost days to the total number of hours scheduled to be worked by the workforce in the reporting period.


Animals, plants and other organisms in sea (marine) - in contrast to such on land (terrestrial) or in inland waters (limnic).

Marketing communication

The combination of strategies, systems, methods and activities applied by an organization with the objective of improving their reputation or promoting their products or services within a specific target group. Marketing communication can include measures such as advertisements, personal distribution, sales promotion, public relations and sponsoring.


Materiality is the threshold at which a topics or Indicators becomes sufficiently important that it should be reported. Beyond this threshold, not all material topics will be of equal importance and the emphasis within a report should reflect the relative priority of these material topics and Indicators.

The concept of a threshold is also important in sustainability reporting, but it is concerned with a wider range of impacts and stakeholders. Materiality for sustainability reporting is not limited only to those sustainability topics that have a significant financial impact on the organization. Determining materiality for a sustainability report also includes considering economic, environmental and social impacts that cross a threshold in affecting the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. These material issues will often have a significant financial impact on an organization in the near- or long-term. They will therefore also be relevant for stakeholders who focus strictly on the financial condition of an organization.

A combination of factors with significance to stakeholders and to the organization should be used to determine whether information is material.

Means of transport

The fuel consumption per journey is estimated from the transport type.  Cars are divided by engine size. The following categories are used:

  • Small car: up to 1.4 l capacity (e.g. VW Polo)
  • Medium car: 1.4 - 2.0 l capacity (e.g. VW Golf)
  • Large car: above 2.0 l capacity (e.g. VW Passat, BMW 5-series)
  • Taxi
  • Motorbike
  • Public local transport (bus, tram, metro, etc.)
  • Intercity train
  • Bicycle / walking.

Method of disposal 

In the recovery or disposal of waste, different procedures are used that depend on the nature of the waste and the objective of the treatment. To minimize the impact on the environment and at the same time to draw the maximum benefit from the waste, are the key objectives of advanced waste management.
Disposal methods or procedures include:

  • Recycling: recycling means any recovery operation by which waste is processed into products, materials or substances which are subsequently used for their original purpose, for other purposes, or returned to their starting materials for use as secondary raw materials. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are intended for use as fuels or for backfilling.
  • Energy recovery: waste with a high calorific value can be used as a substitute for conventional energy sources and burnt for electricity and heat generation. The replaced fossil fuels thereby contribute to resource conservation.
  • Composting: composting is the biological process of the nutrient cycle whereby organic material is broken down into easily usable material under the influence of oxygen, bacteria and moulds. Carbon dioxide is released and water-soluble minerals such as nitrates, ammonium salts, phosphates, potassium and magnesium compounds are made available to act as a fertilizer.
  • Landfill: this is used for the long-term above-ground storage of waste, and is intended as permanent disposal in most cases. As opposed to a "dump", a landfill has a structural and technical design so as to achieve the disposal of waste with as little damage as possible to the environment.

Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer is a multilateral, and this obligatory under international law, environmental treaty which was designed to protect the ozone layer. The protocol was accepted by the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer on September 16, 1987 and is a concretion of the convention. It came into force on January 1, 1989. The parties of the Montreal Protocol commit to "take appropriate measures to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects resulting or likely to result from human activities which modify or are likely to modify the ozone layer or to be responsible for ozone depletion."

New employee hires

New employees joining the organization for the first time.

Net sales/net revenues

Net sales/net revenues include the gross proceeds net of value-added taxes, rebates, discounts and other agreed deductions as well as allowances for bad debts and inventory obsolescence.

NH3 (Ammonia)

Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. It is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, is also a building-block for the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals and is used in many commercial cleaning products. Although in widespread use, ammonia is both caustic and hazardous.

NMVOC (non-methane volatile organic compounds)

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) are mainly released during the evaporation of solvents (in paint, varnish and adhesives) and fuels as well as during incomplete combustion. Also biogenic sources, especially forests, make a significant contribution.

Non-renewable materials

Resources that do not renew in short time periods, such as minerals, metals, oil, gas, coal, etc.

Normal paper

In contrast to recycled paper, normal paper is not made from recycled paper, so that the consumption of natural resources is much higher.  For this reason it is preferable that recycled paper should be used.

NOx (Nitrogen oxides) (Nitrogen oxides)

Nitrogen oxides - in chemical formal language NOx - is a collective term for different gaseous compounds which are based on the atoms nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O). Often, for simplification only the most important compounds NO (nitrogen monoxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) are included in this category. Nitrogen dioxides belong to the main pollutants in the air: more than one million tons per year are released in Germany alone.

Occupational disease

A disease arising from the work situation or activity (e.g. stress or regular exposure to harmful chemicals), or from a work-related injury.

Operating costs

Payments to suppliers, non-strategic investments, royalties and facilitation payments.


A single location used by an organization for the production, storage and/or distribution of its goods and services, or for administrative purposes (e.g.,office). Within a single operation, there may be multiple production lines, warehouses, or other activities. For example, a single factory may be used for multiple products or a single retail outlet may contain several different retail operations that are owned or managed by the reporting organization.

Operations with significant potential or actual negative impacts on local communities

This refers primarily to operations, considered alone or in combination with the characteristics of local communities, that have higher than average potential for negative impacts, or actual negative impacts, on the social, economic or environmental wellbeing of local communities (for example, local community health and safety).

Ozone-depleting substance (ODS)

Any substance with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) greater than 0 that can deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. Most ozone-depleting substances are controlled under the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, and include CFCs, HCFCs, halons and methyl bromide.

Paper types

There are various paper types that differ in composition, preparation, size and appearance. Commonly used names are not standardized, and are based on different criteria such as the manufacturing process, the raw material or intended use. Important for the calculation of CO2 emissions is therefore the weight and size as well as an indication of whether the paper is recycled.

Paper weight/grammage

Grammage is the mass per unit area for paper, fabrics and films. It is expressed in g/m2.

Parental Leave

Leave granted to men and women workers after the birth of a child.


A ‘part-time employee’ is an employee whose working hours per week, month or year are less than ‘full time’ as defined above.

Payments to government

Gross taxes.

Payments to providers of capital

All financial payments made to the providers of the organization’s capital.

Performance Indicator

Qualitative or quantitative information about results or outcomes associated with the organization that is comparable and demonstrates change over time.

PM (particulate matter)

Particulate matter (PM) is a contributor to atmospheric pollution which has a major impact on human health. Particulate matter (PM<sub>10</sub>) is the total mass of all dust particles whose diameter is smaller than 10 µm. A subset of PM<sub>10</sub> is the particulate matter PM<sub>2.5</sub>, which contains particles smaller than 2.5 µm. Particulate matter is produced mainly by human activity. It results from emissions of motor vehicles, energy generation and industrial plants, metal and steel production and the handling of bulk materials. In populated areas road traffic is the main source of particulate matter. Particulate matter can also be of natural origin (e.g. as a result of soil erosion).

POP (persistent organic pollutants)

POP (persistent organic pollutants) are organic chemicals which are only slowly degraded. Hence, they are very stable and can persist in the environment for decades, centuries or evenmillenia. This category includes numerous chemicals synthesized by humans as well as some substances generated in nature, e.g. during forest fires. POP are also called persistent  organic contaminants. The Their entry into the environment is irreversible because they cannot be removed. Moreover, because of their physical properties, many POPs can be transported over long distances through the atmosphere as a gas or bound to fine dust particles . In addition, many POPs have the undesirable property of accumulating in humans, animals and plants.

Primary energy source

The initial form of energy consumed to satisfy the reporting organization’s energy demand. This energy is used either to provide final energy services (e.g. space heating, transport) or to produce intermediate forms of energy such as electricity and heat. Examples of primary energy include non-renewable sources such as coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear energy. Also included are renewable sources such as biomass, solar, wind, geothermal and hydro energy. Primary energy might be consumed on-site (e.g. natural gas to heat the reporting organization’s buildings) or off-site (e.g. natural gas consumed by the power plants that provide electricity to the reporting organization’s facilities).

Pro bono work

Pro bono work is often mentioned in the economy in the context of the exemption of employees by the employer to allow charitable activities.

Product category

A product category is a group of related products which have certain properties in common, and which satisfy needs in particular markets.

Profile Disclosures

The numbered information requirements in Part 2 of the Guidelines that set the overall context for reporting and understanding organizational performance (e.g. 2.1, 3.13).

Protected area

A geographically defined area that is designated, regulated or managed to achieve specific conservation objectives.

Public policy development

Organized or coordinated activities to effect government policy formulation.

Raw materials

Raw materials are natural resources used for conversion to products or services such as ores, minerals, wood, etc.


Refers to collecting, reusing or recycling products and their packaging materials at the end of their useful life. Collection and treatment can be carried out by the manufacturer of the product or by a contractor. This refers to products and their packaging materials that are:

  • Collected by or on behalf of the reporting organization;
  • Separated into raw materials (e.g. steel, glass, paper, some kinds of plastic, etc.) or components; and
  • Used by the reporting organization or other users.

Recycled input materials

Materials that replace virgin materials which are purchased or obtained from internal or external sources, and that are not by-products and non-product outputs (NPO) produced by the reporting organization.

Recycled paper

In contrast to ordinary paper, recycled paper consists mainly of recyclable waste paper. By conserving timber and using up to 60% less energy and water compared to conventional paper it is environmentally friendly. When processing the waste paper to recycled paper, the product is normal ly bleached. Since it is very costly to remove ink residue from waste paper, recycled paper is often grayer than other types of paper, although there is also white recycled paper which looks similar to non-recycled paper.
In Germany, a 100% recycled product qualifies for the environmental label "Blue Angel".


Refrigerants are used in air conditioners. According to DIN EN 378-1 par 3.7.1 refrigerant is defined as "a fluid which is used to transfer heat in a refrigeration system, that absorbs heat at low temperature and low pressure and discharges heat at a higher temperature and higher pressure, typically with a change of state between liquid and gas."
Unlike halogenated hydrocarbons (hydrocarbons in which at least one hydrogen atom is replaced by fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine), ammonia, carbon dioxide and water are referred to as natural refrigerants, even though considerable quantities of halogenated hydrocarbons may be released by microorganisms and plants as well as a result of volcanic activity.

Regular working hours

Regular working hours are calculated on the on basis of labor law or collective bargaining, i.e.  contractually determined working hours.


Basic salary plus additional amounts such as those based on years of service, bonuses including cash and / or equity such as stocks and shares, benefit payments, overtime, time owed and any additional allowances such as transportation, living and childcare allowances.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are constantly replenished. This includes electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

Renewable resources

Resources capable of being replenished within a short time through ecological cycles (as opposed to resources such as minerals, metals, oil, gas, coal that do not renew in short time periods).

Reporting content

In order to ensure a balanced and reasonable presentation of the organization’s performance, a determination must be made of the content the report should cover. This determination should be made by considering both the organization’s purpose and experience and the reasonable expectations and interests of the organization’s stakeholders. Both are important reference points when deciding what to include in the report.

Reporting Principles

Concepts that describe the outcomes a report should achieve and that guide decisions made throughout the reporting process, such as which Indicators to respond to, and how to respond to them.


Net sales plus revenues from financial investments and sales of assets.

Risk control

Practices that seek to limit exposure and transmission of diseases.

Scope 1

Direct greenhouse gas emissions of the organization, e.g. emissions of combustion from residential sources (e.g. heating boilers) or mobile sources (e.g. company-owned fleet), GHG emissions resulting from production or chemical processes as well as volatile GHG emissions.

Scope 2

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions from purchased energy for own use. Scope 2 includes all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling via the energy supplier.

Scope 3

All remaining greenhouse gas emissions associated with company activity. Scope 3 includes greenhouse gas emissions resulting from outsourced departments, waste disposal and recycling as well as emissions resulting from business travel or commuting traffic etc. Detailed information on Scope 3 can be found in the report Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard of the GHG Protocol.

Semi-manufactured goods or parts

Semi-manufactured goods or parts, including all forms of materials and components other than raw materials that are part of the final product.

Serious diseases

Occupational or non-occupational related impairment of health with serious consequences for employees, their families and communities, such as diabetes, RSI and stress.

Services supported

Providing a public benefit either through direct payment of operating costs or through staffing the facility/service with the reporting organization’s own employees. Public benefit can also include public services.

Significance to the organization

In defining material topics, take into account factors that are significant for the organization, including:

  • Key organizational values, policies, strategies, operational management systems, goals and targets.
  • The interests/expectations of stakeholders specifically invested in the success of the organization (e.g. employees, shareholders and suppliers).
  • Significant risks to the organization.
  • Critical factors for enabling organizational success.
  • The core competencies of the organization and the manner in which they can or could contribute to sustainable development.
  • Reasonably estimable sustainability impacts, risks or opportunities (e.g. global warming, hunger, poverty) identified through sound investigation by people with recognized expertise, or by expert bodies with recognized credentials in the field.

Significance to stakeholders

In defining material topics, take into account factors that are significant for the stakeholders, including:

  • Main sustainability interests/topics and Indicators raised by stakeholders (e.g. vulnerable groups within local communities, civil society).
  • The main topics and future challenges for the sector reported by peers and competitors.
  • Relevant laws, regulations, international agreements or voluntary agreements with strategic significance to the organization and its stakeholders.

Significant air emissions

Air emissions that are regulated under international conventions and/or national laws or regulations, including those listed on environmental permits for the reporting organization’s operations.

Significant financial assistance

Significant direct or indirect financial benefits that do not represent a transaction of goods and services, but which are an incentive or compensation for actions taken, the cost of an asset or expenses incurred. The provider of financial assistance does not expect a direct financial return from the assistance offered.

Significant impact

Impacts that may adversely affect the integrity of a geographical area/region, either directly or indirectly. This occurs by substantially changing its ecological features, structures and functions across its whole area and over the long term. This means that the habitat, its population level and/or the particular species that make that habitat important cannot be sustained.

On a species level, a significant impact causes a population decline and/or change in distribution so that natural recruitment (reproduction or immigration from unaffected areas) cannot return to former levels within a limited number of generations. A significant impact can also affect subsistence or commercial resource use to the degree that the well-being of users is affected over the long term.

Significant operational changes

Alterations to the reporting organization’s pattern of operations that will have substantial positive or negative consequences for its employees. Such changes may include restructuring, outsourcing of operations, closures, expansions, new openings, takeovers, sale of all or part of the organization or mergers.

Significant spill

All spills that are included in the reporting organization’s financial statement (e.g. due to resulting liabilities) or recorded as a spill by the reporting organization.

Significant suppliers, contractors and other business partners

External parties from whom products or services are obtained or with whom contracts are concluded for the provision of such products and services. In the context of this Indicator, ‘significant’ refers to suppliers and contractors who are:

  • the primary providers of a given type of good or service and overall comprise the majority of the organization’s purchases; or
  • are identified as having the highest risk of incidents of violations related to human rights.

SOx (Sulfur oxides)

Sulfur oxide (SO2) is the most important gas of the group of sulfur oxides (SOx), which results mainly from burning coal and heavy heating oil. The main emission sources are combustion plants in the energy, industrial and small-scale consumption sectors. In high concentrations sulfur oxide harms humans, animals and plants. The oxidized products lead to acid rain, which jeopardizes sensitive ecologic systems such as forests and seas (e.g. in Scandinavia) and affects buildings and materials. Particulate sulfates are a contributor to large-scale particulate pollution.


Accidental release of a hazardous substance that can affect human health, land, vegetation, water bodies and ground water.


Stakeholders form the opposite pole to shareholders. The term includes all social and corporate interest groups. Stakeholders are defined broadly as those groups or individuals: (a) that can reasonably be expected to be significantly affected by the organization’s activities, products and/or services or (b) whose actions can reasonably be expected to affect the ability of the organization to successfully implement its strategies and achieve its objectives. Examples of stakeholders are employees, suppliers, customers, NGOs, scientific institutions, governments, investors, labor unions, associations, interested citizens, rating agencies for sustainability etc.

Standard effluent parameters

Standard effluent parameters include numerous measurable parameters. The selection depends on the legal regulation of each country. Among others, the following parameters are measurable: ammonia, aluminum, AOX (adsorbable organic halogens), arsenic, barium, lead, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, COD (chemical oxygen demand), cyanide (easily dissociable), iron, chlorine, paint, fish toxicity (test on fish eggs), fluoride, hydrocarbons, cations, copper, conductivity, nickel, nitrite, pH value, phosphorus, mercury, silver, nitrogen, sulfate, sulfide, TOC (total organic carbon), TNb (total bound nitrogen), zinc, tin.

Suppliers' transport

Transports from suppliers include all transport of goods to and on behalf of the reporting entity, which was not undertaken with vehicles owned or leased by the organization. 

Sustainability Report

Sustainability reporting is the practice of measuring, disclosing and being accountable for organizational performance while working towards the goal of sustainable development. A sustainability report provides a balanced and reasonable representation of the sustainability performance of the reporting organization, including both positive and negative contributions.


Animals, plants and other organisms on land (terrestrial) - in contrast to such in inland waters (limnic) or in sea (marine).

Total capital

Total capital is the sum of equity (e.g. bank deposit, cash assets, property, shares) and borrowed capital (e.g. liabilities, accruals) of an organization. Basically, the greater the share of equity to total capital, the more resistant against crisis is an organization.

Total materials used

The total materials used is the sum of all raw materials, associated process materials, semi-manufactured goods or parts and packaging materials purchased from external suppliers or obtained from internal sources (captive production and extraction activities).

Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Suspended solids are components which cannot be dissolved in water, e.g. finest sand, clay and some organic materials. Suspended solids in water are measured in milligrams or grams per liter. The total amount of the substances forms the total suspended solids (TSS). This effluent parameter is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act.

Total water discharge

The sum of water effluents discharged over the course of the reporting period to subsurface waters, surface waters, sewers that lead to rivers, oceans, lakes, wetlands, treatment facilities and ground water either through:

  • A defined discharge point (point source discharge);
  • Over land in a dispersed or undefined manner (non-point source discharge); or
  • Wastewater removed from the reporting organization via truck. Discharge of collected rainwater and domestic sewage is not regarded as water discharge.

Total water withdrawal

The sum of all water drawn into the boundaries of the reporting organization from all sources (including surface water, ground water, rainwater and municipal water supply) for any use over the course of the reporting period.


Refers to:

  • All types of vocational training and instruction;
  • Paid educational leave provided by the reporting organization for its employees;
  • Training or education pursued externally and paid for in whole or in part by the reporting organization; and
  • Training on specific topics such as health and safety.

Training does not include on-site coaching by supervisors.

Types of waste

There are different types of waste that must be disposed of in different ways or are recyclable. The Commercial Waste Ordinance requires the separate collection of recyclable waste such as paper, glass, plastics and metals. This allows companies not only to make a valuable contribution to climate protection but also to reduce their costs.  It is made possible by the consistent segregation of recyclable waste and intelligent recycling, and can be achieved without excessive effort in most trade and industrial plants. It can reduce both the amount of waste and the need for replacement of resources. This is good for the environment and also reduces cost.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol distinguishes between the following types of waste:

  • Construction waste: this includes, for example, window glass, stones, bricks, earth or ceramic, but not asbestos or tar-containing construction waste. In special waste disposal yards the components are sorted and recycled.
  • Batteries: this includes dry batteries and rechargeable batteries up to 5 kg. For collection in household and small industrial quantities, battery collection boxes that can be emptied at all recycling centers are suitable.
  • Organic waste: green waste such as grass, hedge clippings, flowers, fruit and vegetable scraps can be composted at site or brought to a recycling center.  Organic waste should be collected separately from other waste, as it is a valuable raw material that is processed into high quality humus.
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment: this comprises electrical and electronic equipment, including accessories and consumables from all types of e-waste. Light bulbs and packing material is not included.
  • Residual waste / non-hazardous commercial waste: non-hazardous commercial waste is generated in commercial premises, shops, service businesses, public institutions and industry, if it is of a type and quantity similar to household waste. The origins are mostly packaging, office waste and canteen waste. All recyclable products should be previously separated and recycled. The residual waste is taken to landfill or incineration.
  • Industrial waste: this indicates production-related wastes resulting from industrial plants which cannot be returned to the production process. Some companies use in-house industrial waste treatment plants. The disposal of industrial waste is normally performed by the private waste management industry.

Vehicle type

Fuel consumption is calculated according to the type of vehicle.  The following categories are used, divided by engine size or vehicle weight capacity:

  • Small car: up to 1.4 l capacity (e.g. VW Polo)
  • Medium car: 1.4 - 2.0 l capacity (e.g. VW Golf)
  • Large car: above 2.0 l capacity (e.g. VW Passat, BMW 5-series)
  • Motor bike
  • Transporter / van: < 3.5 tons
  • Truck: > 3.5 tons
  • Truck: articulated.

VOC (volatile organic compounds)

Volatile organic compounds are used in numerous technical processes and activities (e.g. painting, printing). These substances can directly harm human health. Also they form, together with nitrogen oxides, precursor substances of ground level ozone, which is generated by high solar radiation.

Young worker

A person who is above the applicable minimum working age and younger than 18 years of age.