- In the context of ESG, accountability refers to the expectation for public and private organizations to assume responsibility for the social and environmental impact caused by their activities. It is a voluntary commitment that goes beyond compliance with basic legal requirements.
This requires for them to identify and evaluate their impact, communicate it transparently to all stakeholders, and, ultimately, take measures to reduce it.
- B Corp
- B Corp is a certification awarded to businesses that meet high social and enviornmental standards, commit to show accountability to all their stakeholders, and prioritize transparency in their operations.
It is known for its rigorous verification process of corporate green, governance and social impact claims.
B Corp is also well known for promoting inclusivity by working with businesses all sizes and revenues. While start-ups and new businesses cannot become B Corp certified straight away, they can be given the status of Pending B Corp, which gives them time to prepare for the complete certification process.
As of November 2022, there are 5741 registered B Corps worldwide.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Approach where business responsibility is extended to benefit societal interests and social change (through activism, charity or philanthropy) and highlights the importance of a long-term strategy regarding corporate culture and of a long-term strategy concerning their resource use. The concept has evolved to include wider social, human and environmental considerations, especially after the 1990s mainly due to the expansion of supply chains.
- Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
- EU Directive that requires businesses with over 10 employees or over 20M € in turnover to report regularly on the sustainability aspects of their company, including their environmental and social impacts, diversity and governance, and anti-corruption measures.
- Digital Product Passport (DPP)
- An essential part of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan that aims at making circular and sustainable products the norm.
The DPP will display information about a product collected throughout its entire lifecycle – including but not limited to manufacturers, logistics operators, retailers and consumers.
Making this information digitally available, the EU takes a stand for transparency and supply chain traceability, and creates a framework to understand how certain products can be improved to have a lower environmental impact (to be easier to recycle, to last longer, or to pollute less during its production and use, for example). This will allow consumers and businesses make informed choices about their purchases, operations and strategies.
As of November 2022, the precise form the DPP will take has not yet been announced.
- Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (also: Eco-design policy)
- Proposal published in March 2022 that builds on the existing Ecodesign Directive (2009) by including products beyond the energy sector.
It is a key part of the Commission’s green strategy which consists on the creation of a framework of product-specific requirements to ensure that circularity and sustainability principles, including improved energy performance, are followed throughout the production process.
The requirements include:
– durability and reparability
– potential for circularity
– energy and resource efficiency
– recycled content, as well as the potential for remanufacturing and recycling
– carbon and environmental footprints
– other information requirements, including a Digital Product Passport
Official EU environmental voluntary label with global recognition.
It requires independent verification that a product complies with high environmental standards throughout its life cycle.
The Ecolabel allows consumers to choose verified eco-friendly products and make informed choices in their day-to-day.
For businesses, Ecolabel:
– leverages the consumer preference for eco-friendly products (in both B2C and B2B)
– gives businesses a chance to optimise existing and future products through compliance with the Ecolabel criteria
– increases competitiveness in public procurement
– offers a tool for transparent marketing in line with ISO 14024
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
- A business approach that considers social, environmental and corporate governance criteria when assessing the impact and sustainability performance of an organization.
It allows stakeholders to analyse and recognise the risks to which the organisation might be vulnerable currently or in the future, and the opportunities that pursuing high environmental, social and governance standards can offer.
ESG assessments often materialise in a thorough report including relevant areas of improvement, ESG goals and a roadmap to achieve them.