The Edge Magazine Vol 7 The Edge Magazine Vol 7

The Edge Vol. 7

Now available! Read our latest volume of The Edge, Cushman & Wakefield’s global thought leadership magazine covering the influential trends and ideas impacting the commercial real estate (CRE) industry and more.

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A
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
B
BATTERY TECHNOLOGY

A battery is a device that stores chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. Since 1990, there has been a strong focus on rechargeable batteries and the use of batteries to store excess power generation from renewable energy sources. The aim now is to create batteries that are sustainable along their lifecycle. A battery should be long-lived, and recyclable, repurposed and capable of being remanufactured at the end of its natural life.

BIM (BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING)

The information created and accessed during the development of a building—in essence, a digital blueprint that captures every element of the building process. BIM allows for a more integrated and potentially cost and environmentally effective approach to construction.

BIODEGRADABLE

The ability of a material to break down through interaction with bacteria and fungi. It’s important to recognize that not all materials break down at the same speed or in the same way.

 
C
CARBON

A non-metal element, it is a solid element at room temperature. The human body is 20% carbon, not as an element but through joining with atoms of other elements. All living things consist mostly of carbon-containing compounds.

CARBON DIOXIDE

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is formed of one part carbon and two parts oxygen and is a gas. It is recognized as a heat trapping (greenhouse gas), which is released through the burning of fossil fuels (the process of burning causes carbon from fossil fuels to combine with oxygen in the air to form carbon dioxide and water vapor), deforestation and by the simple process of respiration.

CARBON FOOTPRINT

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions. To calculate the total carbon footprint is the total sum of the scopes correlate to who ‘owns’ those emissions and the level of control applicable to changing those emission levels at each stage.

CARBON CREDITS

Carbon credits are measurable, verifiable emission reductions from certified climate action projects. These projects reduce, remove or avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But they also bring a whole host of other positive benefits, for example, they empower communities, protect ecosystems, restore forests or reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Projects must adhere to a rigorous set of criteria to pass verification by third-party agencies and a review by a panel of experts at a leading carbon offset standard like Verra or Gold Standard. After an organization or an individual buys a carbon credit, the credit is permanently retired so it can't be reused.

CARBON OFFSET

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions made to cancel out emissions made elsewhere.

CARBON NEGATIVE

The net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the environment rather than adding it.

CARBON NEUTRAL

Balancing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ‘offsetting’—or removing from the atmosphere—an equivalent amount of carbon for the amount produced. This can be achieved through investing in ‘carbon offset’ projects such as renewable energy production or reforestation.

CDP (FORMERLY THE CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECT)

The CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) is an international nonprofit organization that helps companies publicly disclose their environmental impact.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Replacing a linear model of “make, use, dispose” approach with a circular model where the aim is to maximize the use of a product for as long as possible then work to reuse the different elements of a product either in a different way or different form.

CLIMATE CHANGE

A scientifically proven, long term shift we are seeing in temperature averages and extremes. Compared to a historical average, since the start of the industrial revolution, scientists recognize we are seeing much higher temperature levels. Rising temperatures lead to an increase in volatile weather conditions—flood, drought, shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels.

CLIMATE JUSTICE

A term and a movement that acknowledges climate change can have differing economic, social, public health, and care impacts on underprivileged individuals and communities.

CLOSED LOOP

Where a business reuses, recycles, or composts all materials used in its operation.

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

A social movement based on an increasing awareness of the impact individual and group purchasing decisions can have on the environment, consumers’ health and life for all. Alongside price and quality, environmental considerations are playing an increasing part in a purchase decision.

CSR (CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a movement that started in the late 1980s to standardize the implementation of sustainability measures and good corporate citizenship in the business world. CSR represents a company’s efforts to have a positive impact on its employees, consumers, the environment and wider community. It’s a form of self-regulation that most large companies report on annually. CSR has been replaced by Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), the latest evolution of the intentions behind CSR, provides a framework for greater transparency, greater efforts, and standardization.

CRADLE TO CRADLE

The development and production of products with the aim that they can truly be recycled or upcycled at the end of their natural life.

CRADLE TO GRAVE

Awareness and responsibility for a product/asset from its inception to its disposal.

CRYPTO CURRENCY

Produced by mass computing power, the development and transactions of this digital currency are verified and recorded on a centralized system using cryptosecurity. Examples include Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. Recent headlines around the vast consumption of electricity required to mine the remaining coins may have an impact on the general perception of cryptocurrency.

 
D
DECENTRALIZED ENERGY

The production of energy close to the place it is needed. Decentralized energy has the advantage of more typically coming from renewable energy sources, wind, solar, biomass, etc. The importance of decentralized energy is multi-faceted, increased security of supply, lower emissions and lower distribution challenges.

 
E
ELECTRIFICATION

Switching from fossil fuels burned at a building to using electricity to meet a building’s energy needs. Transition to greater use of electricity in commercial and multifamily buildings is important to take advantage of increasingly decarbonized electricity.

EMBODIED CARBON

The total GHG emissions that are generated to produce a building. These emissions include those created by manufacturing, extraction processes, transportation and the assembly of every product and individual element of an asset.

ENERGY RECOVERY

Process linked to aerobic and anaerobic digestion. The creation of energy through the conversion of waste materials into electricity, fuel and a heat source. Energy recovery would reduce the volume of waste heading to landfill and reduce emissions as it negates the need to burn fossil fuels.

ENERGY RESILIENCE

Having a regular, reliable supply of energy and measures in place to offset any negative issues occurring from a power cut. As the access to energy potentially becomes less stable, and managed by a broader range of corporates, the resilience of countries’ energy supply will become increasingly critical to governments (think food security—making sure we have access to enough food in an ongoing manner).

ENERGY STORAGE

Capturing and storing energy to use later. The purpose being to save energy to use at a time of higher level of demand. Battery technology continues to develop, alongside strides being made in the use of hydrogen, to store energy safely and securely.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of gender, color, background or income, with respect to the understanding, development, implantation of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

ESG (ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE)

ESG stands for Environmental External LinkSocial External Link and Governance External Link standards, Material topics in each of the ESG pillars and operational/ business approach to ESG varies by business, company, stakeholder group compositions and values.

• Environmental factors include the contribution a company or government makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, along with waste management and energy efficiency. Given renewed efforts to combat global warming, cutting emissions and decarbonizing is become more important.
• Social includes human rights, labor standards in the supply chain, any exposure to illegal child labor, and more routine issues such as adherence to workplace health and safety. A social score also rises if a company is well integrated with its local community and therefore has a ‘social license’ to operate with consent.
• Governance of a corporation refers to the rules, processes, laws, guidelines and guiderails that inform a company’s operations and controls. Corporate governance takes into account the decision-making authorities, rights and impacts on various stakeholders including a board of directors, shareholders, management and employees.

 
F
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
G
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
H
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
I
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
J
 
 
K
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
L
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
M
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
N
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
O
AEROBIC DIGESTION

The process by which organic matter is broken down-typically animal, food, sewage into carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and water. It’s a process driven by bacteria and requires water and oxygen.

ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

The process (in which oxygen is not required, hence the differing by-products when compared to Aerobic digestion) by which organic matter is broken down into carbon dioxide, methane, water and gas. This process is commonly used to create biogas. Biogas (the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide) can be used to produce heat and electricity and is mixed into vehicle fuels. Global revenues for biogas are expected to exceed $50B by the middle of the decade. In the UK alone, there are more than 800 anaerobic digestion facilities either in use or in development. By the middle of the decade, there will be enough biogas facilities produced to power more than two million homes in the UK.

 
P
PARIS AGREEMENT

The major global climate agreement signed in Paris at COP21 in December 2015 (COP26 will be held in Glasgow in 2021). The deal states ‘great concern’ around the importance of holding global temperature increase to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. They are focused on pursuing efforts to preferably reduce this to 1.5 degrees. It is a legally binding international treaty.

PLASTICS

PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)
A form of polyester used to produce plastic bottles and other products. PET is regarded as ‘straightforward’ to recycle.

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
A thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene—widely recyclable, used to produce plastic bottles, milk jugs, cutting boards, and piping.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
High strength thermoplastic material widely used in applications such as pipes, medical devices, wire and cable insulation. PVC is seldom recycled.

LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
A thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene, used for applications such as shrink wrap, packaging, pallet wrap, bags and coverings. Can be recycled, but can be easily contaminated by the items it has been used to wrap, contain.

PP (Polypropylene)
Thermoplastic ‘addition’ polymer made from a combination of propylene monomers. Used for packaging, plastic parts for various industries and for textiles. It is recyclable.

PS (Polystyrene of Styrofoam)
A naturally transparent thermoplastic that is available as both a solid plastic as well as in the form of a rigid foam material. It is not commonly recycled.

Miscellaneous Plastics
Polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, acrylonitrile, butadiene styrene, fiberglass, and nylon.

PRI (PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT)

A UN-supported network of investors, working to promote sustainable investment through the incorporation of environmental, social and governance issues into analysis and decision making.

PROCUREMENT

The act of obtaining goods or services. This typically applies to businesses and refers to the end purchase but it can also include the whole procurement process that leads to the final purchasing decision.

 
Q
 
 
R
RECYCLED CONTENT

The amount of a product that has been generated by materials recycled from other previously used items.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Energy from a natural source, wind, solar, waterpower, that will not deplete with use.

RESIDUAL WASTE

Waste material (non-hazardous in nature) that cannot be reused or recycled and must be disposed of or sent to energy recovery. Residual waste includes materials from mining, agriculture and drilling processes.

RESILIENCE

Around the world, the frequency, intensity and impacts of natural disasters are increasing. These events can significantly affect the social, economic and environmental functionality of communities and individual buildings. Resiliency can be defined as the ability of commercial buildings and the businesses they house to adequately prepare for such events and quickly return to full operations.

 

 
S
SCIENCE BASED TARGETS

A set of goals developed by a business to define a clear pathway to reducing GHG emissions. A target is defined as science based if it has been developed in line with the scale of change needed to keep global warming between 1.5°C and 2°C degrees. The SBTi (science-based target initiative) was developed as a partnership between CDP, the UN Global Compact (UNCG), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).If all companies across the world adopt agreed and measurable targets in line with SBTi, we stand a much greater chance of achieving the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement.

SCIENCE BASED TARGETS INITIATIVE (SBTI)

The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a third-party target approval body that approves whether an organization is setting carbon reduction targets that are in alignment with climate science.

SCIENCE BASED TARGETS INITIATIVE (SBTI)

Scope 1:
Covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources

Scope 2:
Covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company

Scope 3:
The broadest category and includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain

SHARING ECONOMY

In order to save money and waste, goods and services are shared as opposed to being owned outright. Examples include Airbnb, Uber car-pooling, car clubs, and apparel or accessory rentals.

SINGLE USE PLASTICS

Definitions still vary, but in essence, anything designed or likely to be used once before disposal or recycling—plastic drink bottles, plastic straws, plastic bags, much of the packaging that wraps our fruit, vegetables, food and drink. Many of the items are bought to be consumed on the go and the onus is then on the purchaser to seek out an appropriate recycling receptacle. Some countries like Germany offer a deposit scheme which encourages return to store and many businesses are exploring bio-degradable packaging or ‘naked’ products to be sold in stores and taken home in the consumers’ own glass jars, bottles. The sight of coconuts wrapped in plastic or a single apple in a hard plastic shell being promoted as a grab-n-go healthy snack are somewhat incongruous with the impact the packaging has on the health of the planet.

SOLAR POWER

Energy using the power of our sun. It is renewable, making it a clean, emissions free way to produce much needed power and energy. Solar cells are most commonly used to produce solar energy and can be found in solar farms and on business and household roofs.

SUPPLY CHAIN

The activities required by a company to deliver goods and services to a customer. A system of organizations, people, processes, information and resources involved in the supply of the goods or services in question to the customer.

SUSTAINABILITY

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (1987 UN Brundtland Commission Definition).

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS)

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

 
T
TCFD (TASK FORCE ON CLIMATE-RELATED FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES)

TCFD aims to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information.

TRACEABILITY

Allowing for the tracking, measuring and oversight of all elements of the supply chain. Are the claims made regarding sustainability substantiated? The aim is ensuring good practices related to human labor, the environment, anti-corruption, compliance, and legal framework.

TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

A business concept that encourages businesses to measure their environmental and social impact alongside the detailed measurement related to their financial performance. The three Ps of the triple bottom line are well known—People, Profit, Planet. It has been proven repeatedly that it is possible to perform well and do good.

 
U
UNFCCC (UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE)

The UNFCCC came into force in 1994. Today, it has near global membership with 197 countries having ratified the convention. The prevention of dangerous human interference with the climate system is the aim of the UNFCCC.

 
V
VALUE CHAIN

At its basic level, a set of activities a business carries out to create value for its customers. There is an increased focus on understanding the impact on the environment of each stage of the supply chain.

VG2 (VEHICLE TO GRID)

VG2 is a technology that allows energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric vehicle. V2X is a range of different use cases where, even if your vehicle does not directly push back

 
W
WASTE FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE

European Union framework on how waste should be managed. It requires that waste be managed without endangering human health and harming the environment, without risk to water, air, plants or animals; without causing a noise nuisance or emitting odors that offend; and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

WASTE HIERARCHY

Prevention being better than cure is the main theme. The hierarchy: prevention (non-waste) – preparing for re-use – recycling – recovery – disposal (all four associated with waste). The prevention of waste should be the preferred option, sending waste to landfill the last.

WHOLE LIFE COSTING

Taking into account the total cost of a service or product over the course of its lifetime. This can be measured in terms of cost (an electric vehicle may be a more expensive initial purchase than one fueled by gasoline, but the cost of running the vehicle over its lifetime may be less), or in terms of environmental impact. The initial production of a product may have a higher environmental impact than one developed to do a similar job, but may in turn result in lower impacts overall during its lifetime use and may be easier to recycle.

 
X
 
 
Y
 
 
Z
ZERO WASTE

A focus on developing products with a whole life use in mind. Developing to be recycled, reused, and repurposed. Also applies to clients’ buildings/organizations that work to reduce their waste, possibly even pursuing a certification such as TRUE zero waste.

ZERO-CARBON

No carbon emissions are being produced from a product/service.