As our knowledge of sustainable business practices and our ability to implement them expand, so, too, does the lexicon of green business. The technology surrounding how to make our businesses more eco-friendly continues to evolve, and as we invent new solutions to help reduce our impact on the environment, we also need to create new terminology to describe these advances. By understanding the vocabulary of green business terms, we can gain a better understanding of how businesses affect the environment and what we can do to minimize these effects.

Green Business Terms


Biofuel: A type of fuel made from biological materials, usually plants, that have recently died (as opposed to fossil fuels, which come from biological sources that died long ago)


Cap and Trade: A government policy that caps the amount of greenhouse gas emissions allowed for each business, grants each business a number of credits that corresponds to this amount, and then allows businesses to trade credits that they don’t need. Under this type of program, greener businesses can sell their extra credits to businesses that create more emissions than they’re allowed to.


Carbon Footprint: The amount of carbon dioxide produced by the activities of a person or organization in a given period of time


Carbon Neutrality: The point at which the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere is the same as the amount released into the atmosphere


Carbon Offsets: Payments made by a polluting business or other organization to fund efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, offsetting the environmental damage of the polluting activities


Carbon Tax: A tax on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released by a business or other entity or on fossil fuels that produce emissions when they are used


Circular Economy: An economic system in which products and materials are reused, refurbished, and recycled as much as possible


Corporate Social Responsibility: A business policy focused on both profitability and having a positive social and environmental impact


Cradle to Cradle: The production of goods that can be recycled when they are no longer useful, meaning that the materials get a new life rather than going into a landfill


Energy Audit: An assessment of how much energy a building uses and how this use can be minimized


Green Building: A build designed with the goal of maximizing efficient use of resources, both during and after construction, and minimizing negative effects on the environment


Green Business: A business that works toward improving the environment, either by offering eco-friendly products or services or implementing eco-friendly policies


Green Economy: The sector of the economy focused on producing goods and services that improve and protect the environment


Green Roof: A roof that’s covered with soil and plants, which better insulates the roof and provides a habitat for wildlife


Green Supply Chain Management: Managing how a business gets raw materials, makes products, and delivers those products to customers with the goal of minimizing the environmental impacts of every step of this process


Green-Collar Economy: An economy focused on developing clean energy technologies and creating more jobs in this field


Greenwashing: The deceptive positioning of a company as environmentally friendly in order to improve the company’s public image


LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized certification for green buildings


Life Cycle Assessment: An examination of the environmental impact of a product or service over the course of its entire life span, from the materials and energy consumed to create it to the waste that is generated when it is created and used


Photovoltaics: The field of study having to do with using solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity


Social Return on Investment: A measurement of the social and/or environmental impact of an investment in a nonprofit or business. For example, if a company invests in building sustainable and affordable housing, the SROI would include the lower environmental impact of construction as well as the improved living conditions of the new residents.


Solar Thermal: Technology that captures the sun’s energy as heat, which can be used to provide hot water for a building


Sustainability: Meeting our own needs today while ensuring that people in the future will be able to do the same


Triple Bottom Line: An approach to running a business that focuses on profitability, social responsibility, and environmental impact


Weatherization: Reducing energy use by better protecting the inside of a building from the elements


Zero-Carbon Building Standards: A set of guidelines created by the Canada Green Building Council for designing energy-efficient buildings with a minimal impact on the environment


More Green Business Resources

Written by

Manoj Kukreja is a real estate expert and trusted guide in the pursuit of the perfect property. With a remarkable professional journey, Manoj began his career in major Canadian financial institutions, achieving the prestigious Certified Financial Planner designation in 2010. During this time, they earned recognition as one of Canada's top ten financial planners and also played a role in training industry peers. Manoj's extensive financial background now serves as a valuable asset in the real estate domain, ensuring clients make informed decisions during their property search.