Sustainable Investing ESG Glossary

How do we invest our money responsibly?

If your pension committee or your employees are asking this question, you’ve come to the right place.

We help you better understand the different approaches to sustainable investing and to know which one is right for you and your plan.

We've created a Glossary of ESG Investing Terms here to help demystify many of the confusing terms that you or your plan members may encounter in this space.
TermAcronym Full PhraseDefinition
Active ownership Refers to actively exercising your rights as a shareholder. The two main ways of doing this are voting at shareholder meetings and by engaging, or having an ongoing dialogue with company management
Carbon Neutral any CO2 released into the atmosphere from a company's activities is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed.
CDPCarbon Disclosure ProjectA global non-profit organization that runs a global disclosure system for investors and organizations to manage their environmental impacts.
ESGEnvironmental, Social, & GovernanceAn investment approach that incorporates environmental, social and goveranance factors into the investment process.
ESG Integration the systematic and explicit inclusion of material ESG factors into investment analysis and investment decisions
FSBFinancial Stability Boardan international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. It was established after the G20 London summit in April 2009. They created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information.
Green bonds Debt securities for which the proceeds are exclusively used to promote climate and environmental sustainability purposes.
Greenwashing The practice of trying to make people believe that a company is doing more to adopt sustainability than it really is, often for public relations reasons.
GRIGlobal Reporting InitiativeInternational, non-profit organization, their GRI Standards enable all companies and organizations to report their economic, environmental, social and governance performance.
Impact Investing Investing in companies, organizations and funds which have the commercial purpose of solving social or environmental problems.
Materiality The relevance of a sustainability factor to a company's financial performance.
MiFIDMarkets in Financial Instruments DirectiveEuropean regulation intended to increase the transparency of the EU's financial markets and standardizes regulatory disclosures. Their suitability requirements now require that firms who provide investment advice must now take into account a client's ESG preferences in addition to other factors.
Negative Screening The investment approach of excluding entire sectors, companies or countries from a fund or portfolio based on ESG criteria or moral or ethical views.
Net Zero Emissions the overall balance of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) produced and GHG emissions taken out of the atmosphere. Most often applied to countries as they aim to meet the Paris Agreement of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050.
Paris Agreement The Paris Agreement is an international accord that aims to limit the rise in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Positive Screening The investment approach that favours companies demonstrating positive ESG performance relative to peers.
PRIPrinciples for Responsible InvestmentUnited Nations-backed network of investors who confirm they incorporate ESG in their decisions and commit to certain best practices.
RIAResponsible Investment AssociationCanada's industry association for responsible investment.
SASBSustainability Accounting Standards BoardTheir SASB Standards guide the disclosure of financially material ESG information by companies to their investors
Scope 1 Emissions Carbon emissions that are directly generated by a company, such as an airline emitting exhaust fumes.
Scope 2 Emissions Carbon emissions that are created by the generation of the electricity or heat needed by the company to sell its main products or provide its main services.
Scope 3 Emissions Carbon emissions caused by the entire value chain, including the end-user of the product over its life cycle, and are much more difficult to measure.
SDGSustainable Development GoalsAdopted by members of the United Nations in 2015, this set of 17 goals are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere by the year 2030.
SRISocially Responsible InvestingA broad category of investing that incorporates ESG factors. Investing strategies typically included here include ethical, green, socially responsible, impact, thematic, among others.
TCFDTask Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosuresvoluntary, consistent climate-related financial disclosures for companies
UN Global CompactUnited Nations Global CompactA global corporate sustainability initiative, calling on companies, investors and other participants to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.