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Sustainability Glossary


*to help you grow from a strong fashion brand to a future-proof company with a positive global image. 

We created The Sustainability Glossary to increase your understanding of sustainability and CSR. The Glossary includes terms that are often used in CSR and are talked about when creating a sustainability strategy. We have gathered the definitions we found the most relevant in this field - and completed it with some of our own definitions - to help make your journey towards sustainability as smooth as possible.


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Authority for Consumers and Markets

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) contributes to realizing a healthy economy by ensuring that markets work well for people and businesses. When markets function well, businesses compete fairly with one another, and people and businesses are not harmed by unfair practices. People and businesses know what rules apply, and how they are able to exercise their rights.

Source: ACM


Animal Welfare 

Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter.

Source: AVMA

Animal welfare 
Animal welfare regulations

Animal Welfare Regulations

The government lays down rules for the treatment of animals. These rules protect their health and wellbeing in terms of cruelty to animals, invasive procedures on animals, rules for biotechnology research and animal testing.


Biodiversity Policy

Biodiversity policies are about promoting "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources".

Source: OECD

Biodiversity policy

Block Chain

The digital method of tracking and recording information - known as blockchain - can trace every step of an item’s journey from farm to customer.

Source: Renoon

Block Chain
Carbon Emissions

Carbon Emissions

Also known as CO2 emissions, refer to the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. CO2 emissions are linked to burning of fossil fuels and biomass, land use and management, as well as to industrial production. As the principal greenhouse gas (GHG), CO2 critically affects the radiation balance on Earth and significantly contributes to global warming and climate change. The fashion industry is a major source of CO2 emissions.

CAPs -  Corrective Action Plans

CAPs - 
Corrective Action Plans

A plan that seeks to address and resolve an issue, for instance a breach of compliance in environmental or social sustainability practices. 

Carbon Neutral

Carbon Neutral

Going carbon neutral actually means making the final equation of what has been emitted and restored equal to 0. So, how can CO2 be balanced out? For fashion brands, carbon neutrality can be achieved through reducing emissions or offsetting them.

Source: Renoon

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon Offsetting

The practice of carbon offsetting is a compensatory action that offers individuals, businesses, and other organizations the option to balance their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits (carbon offsets) that fund projects focused at reducing emissions in developing countries.

Circular  Design Principles

Ways of designing and manufacturing materials and products to last and at end of life, disassembled so that they can be reused, remade, recycled, and (where relevant, after maximum use and cycling) safely composted.

Design for Disassembly:

Design principle that enables the product to be taken apart in such a way that allows components and materials to be reused, remade, or recycled.


The ability of a physical product to remain functional and relevant over time when faced with the challenges of normal operation.

Circular Design Principles
Design for disassembly

Circular Fashion

Circular fashion is about designing waste and pollution out of our clothes, and ensuring they help regenerate natural systems at the end of their (long) lives. It is based partly on William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle design philosophy. Circular Fashion moves away from the traditional linear take-make-dispose business model.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in particular, has been advocating for a global circular economy.

Source: Good On You

Circular Fashion


Circularity is the approach to designing and producing products that can be repaired remade, reused, and eventually recycled or biodegraded at the end of its use. Truly circular products must be non-toxic, preferably biodegradable, so that any waste generated is minimized.


Source: Re/make

Code Of Conduct

A detailed set of principles and practices to which one organisation holds another accountable as they interact. Brands often have detailed “Supplier Codes of Conduct” for their manufacturing partners and are increasingly adopting “Buyer Codes of Conduct” to create more equal business interactions and better protect manufacturers’ rights.

Code of Conduct
Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled.

Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company's many stakeholders, such as shareholders, senior management executives, customers, suppliers, financiers, the government, and the community.

Source: Investopedia


Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is an evolving concept of corporate governance that requires businesses to extend their responsibility from managing their own resources, to also considering the long-term impact of their practices on the resources of the society, including environmental resources.



Diversity refers to the recognition of and respect for the differences between individuals, communities and cultures. These may include, but are not limited to, differences in race, ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, physical abilities, health issues, political views, value systems and socio-economic status. 

In the context of fashion, diversity also means creating an environment where multiple narratives and forms of aesthetic expression can flourish side by side.

Due Diligence

Due Diligence

An ongoing risk management process that a reasonable and prudent company needs to follow in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how it addresses its adverse impacts.

Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint

Also referred to as environmental footprint, ecological footprint refers to the environmental resources that a population consumes. Measurement of ecological footprint enables estimation of the requirements of a specific population or economy on the consumption of resources and assimilation of waste over an area of productive land.

Extended Producer Responsibility

A policy tool that requires that all environmental costs of the entire product lifecycle are included in its market price and carried by the producer who is responsible for its design specifications. The EPR costs for designs with high environmental impact and a lack of end-of-life solutions then reflect the true price of the product and so incentivize more responsible design and systems thinking. 

In the Netherlands an Extended Producer Responsibility for fashion and textiles will be adopted in 2023, making companies who sell textiles on the Dutch market responsible for the collection and recycling of those textiles.


ESG - Environmental, Social And Governance 

An approach to evaluating the extent to which a corporation works on behalf of social goals that go beyond the role of a corporation to maximize profits on behalf of the corporation's shareholders. Typically, the social goals advocated within an ESG perspective include working to achieve environmental goals, supporting social movements, and whether the corporation is governed in a way that is consistent with the goals of the Diversity, equity, and inclusion movement. 

Source: Wikipedia

Ethical / Sustainable Sourcing Policy

A sourcing policy outlines the set of norms, rules, and standards the company follows in its sourcing and procurement practices for manufacturing, materials, and services from third parties. This policy outlines many of the same topics and standards as the Supplier Code of Conduct. But where the Code of Conduct is an agreement between parties (e.g. the brand and the manufacturer), the sourcing policy is meant for internal use and external communication.

An ethical sourcing policy typically focuses on social compliance and human rights, while a sustainable sourcing policy includes environmental standards.

Source: The Sustainability Club

Sourcing Policy
Fair Trade/ Fairtrade

Fair Trade/ Fairtrade

Fair trade refers to the general movement, which encompasses many different organisations with the shared aim of supporting producers and protecting workers’ rights and the environment. Fair trade describes a brand or an individual product that has been certified and labelled by an independent organisation because it meets certain standards.

Fairtrade, on the other hand, specifically refers to the certifying and labelling organisation Fairtrade International.

The Fairtrade Standards are designed to address the imbalance of power and injustices in trading relationships. Fair Trade provides an alternative to conventional trade, with fair trade products charging a premium to consumers so that producers (such as farmers) can earn a better living. While fair trade is a step in the right direction, it is not the same as living wages, which is what people would need to make to actually live with dignity.

Fast fashion

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a model of fashion production and consumption that relies on fast turnaround of styles and products with sales prices, often leading to fast discarding of pieces, cumulatively resulting in extremely high social and environmental costs throughout the entire value chain. The fast fashion model has expanded globally since the 1990s and the rise of offshore manufacture with access to cheap labor in developing countries has been a key enabler of its global expansion.

It should be noted that no item of clothing can be accurately defined as ‘fast fashion’ as the cycle starts with the sowing of a seed or the extraction of oil, which takes place many months, years or decades before a finished garment is sold and worn.

Forced Labour

Forced Labour

All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.

Freedom Of Association

Freedom Of Association

The right of workers and employers to form and join organizations of their own choosing is an integral part of a free and open society. In many cases, these organizations have played a significant role in their countries’ democratic transformation.

Source: ILO

Global Reporting Initiative

An international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.

GRI provides the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting – the GRI Standards.

Sources: Wikipedia




The exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country's affairs at all levels, comprising the mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.


Green Claims 

The expressions' environmental claims' and 'green claims' refer to the practice of suggesting or otherwise creating the impression (in commercial communication, marketing, or advertising) that a good or a service has a positive or no impact on the environment or is less damaging to the environment than competing goods or services.

Green claims

Green Hushing

The deliberate under communication of sustainability practices.

Green Hushing