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Accessible products and services: Refers to the premise that products and services (including both digital and physical shopping environments) should be equally accessible to all consumers. In particular, companies should be identifying and removing barriers limiting access to products and services for people with disabilities or people who have other physical or cognitive requirements (e.g., neuro-diverse customers, older customers, pregnant customers). Accessible design is a means of making products and services better for everyone.

ACT: ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) is an initiative between international brands & retailers, manufacturers, and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment sector. To learn more, click here.

Adaptive clothing: Refers to garments that have been specifically designed for people with disabilities or physical limitations. These garments may incorporate simpler fasteners and non-standard shapes that are easier to put on, and in the case of wheelchair users, may be designed to be more comfortable than standard garment shapes, when worn in a seated position – for example jeans with a higher rise. 

Additional services: In the context of purchasing practices, refers to the disproportionate request of services by the purchasing company, such as air freight if that is not necessary, or additional samples beyond common practice.

Adverse impact: The OECD definition of adverse impact is a harmful impact on matters covered by the OECD Guidelines (e.g., child labor, discrimination, hazardous chemicals, etc.).

Aii: Aii stands for the Apparel Impact Institute, an organization that focuses on identifying, funding and scaling proven quality solutions to accelerate positive impact in the textile, apparel and footwear industry. The Apparel Impact Institute was founded in 2017 by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Target Corporation to strategically drive sustainability improvements. To learn more, click here.

Annual leave: Refers to an allotted number of days per year for which an employee is entitled to paid time off work. A minimum amount of annual leave may be defined by law, however additional days may be provided by the employer as part of the contract of employment.  

Anti-competition: Anti-competition or anti-competitive behavior refers to actions of an organization or its employees that can result in collusion with potential competitors, with the purpose of limiting the effects of market competition.

Anti-corruption: Refers to actions and strategies to prevent, oppose and eliminate corruption. Corruption is dishonest, fraudulent, illegal conduct and may include bribery, abuse of corporate or political power or authority for private gain.

Anti-discrimination: Refers to actions and strategies to promote equal opportunities for all by protecting them from unfair discrimination.


Better Buying: Better Buying – An online rating system created to highlight areas for improved purchasing practices. Better Buying’s overarching goal is to transform buyer purchasing practices so that business relationships support suppliers in providing decent workplace conditions.

Better Work: Better Work – A partnership between the UN’s International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. Better Work seeks to bring diverse groups together – governments, global brands, factory owners, and unions and workers – to improve working conditions in the garment industry and make the sector more competitive.

Biomass: Any material or fuel produced by biological processes of living organisms, including organic non-fossil material of biological origin (e.g., plant material), biofuels (e.g., liquid fuels produced from biomass feedstocks), biogenic gas (e.g., landfill gas), and biogenic waste (e.g., municipal solid waste from biogenic sources).

Biodiversity: The United Nations (UN) defines biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.”

Biogenic CO2 emissions: CO2 emissions from the combustion or biodegradation of biomass.

Bipartite dialogue: Dialogue between worker and employer representatives with the aim to resolve workplace issues and improve the working environment.

Blue water footprint: Blue water footprint is water that has been sourced from surface or groundwater resources and is either evaporated, incorporated into a product or taken from one body of water and returned to another, or returned at a different time. Irrigated agriculture, industry and domestic water use can each have a blue water footprint.

Board (or senior leadership) composition: Refers to the structure, roles, and responsibilities of the members of a board of directors, including the Chair, CEO, and other independent and non-executive directors. It also encompasses factors such as diversity, experience, and expertise, which can affect the effectiveness and performance of the board. A Composition Policy is likely to include: the process by which members are appointed and removed (including the Chair); the proportion of executive/non-executive members; the responsibilities and attributes required of members; how conflicts of interest are addressed; succession planning and a commitment to developing or maintaining a diverse membership that reflects the communities it represents.

Board (or senior leadership) oversight and control: Refers to the responsibilities of the governing board, group or leadership team to effectively implement systems, frameworks and controls that enable them to monitor, assess and manage business risks and opportunities.

Breach of safety standard: Occurs when a company fails to meet the established guidelines or regulations set to ensure the safety of a product for consumers. This breach or non-compliance can result from various factors, such as faulty design, manufacturing defects, inadequate warning labels, or inadequate testing. Such breaches can put consumers at risk of harm or injury, and the consequences can range from minor injuries to fatalities, product recalls, and legal action against the company.

Bribery: Bribery refers to the illegal practice of promising, offering, or giving a financial or other bribe to someone, in order to gain an advantage for yourself or your company. The practice of bribery includes requesting, offering or agreeing to receive a bribe. A bribe can be money, or some other non-financial benefit.

BRM: Higg Brand and Retail Module

BSCI: Business Social Compliance Initiative – It was established in 2003 by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA, named Amfori since 2018). Amfori is a multi-sector membership organization which offers holistic trade, social and environment services to improve the resilience and sustainability of its members’ global sourcing strategies.  Amfori BSCI is an online supply chain monitoring and mapping tool.

Bullying and harassment: Refers to unwanted behavior from a person, group or organization that undermines, humiliates, or causes emotional or physical harm to another person or group.

Business partner(s): Refers to companies or individuals such as suppliers, manufacturers, agents, distributors, brands, wholesalers, and retailers who collaborate in various ways to create and distribute textile, apparel and footwear products and services.


Capacity building: The UN defines capacity-building as the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world. An essential ingredient in capacity-building is transformation that is generated and sustained over time from within; transformation of this kind goes beyond performing tasks to changing mindsets and attitudes.

Career development: Refers to the support your company provides to assist employees grow and develop in their role or profession. This can include identifying talent and opportunities for growth, providing learning opportunities to build specific skills or qualifications to enable progression, or coaching/mentoring to enable an employees’ movement to a new position or project

Cause-related marketing: A marketing campaign or product promotion in partnership between a company and a non-profit organization or social cause. The aim is to promote a product or service while simultaneously supporting a cause or raising awareness of social or environmental issues. The partnership can involve a donation of a percentage of profits, a joint campaign or event, or other types of collaboration. The strategy aims to promote both social responsibility and business goals (as a result is not considered a donation)

CDP: Carbon Disclosure Project – CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts.

Cease: To stop actions within your company’s operations that are causing or contributing to harm.

CFRPP: Common Framework for Responsible Purchasing Practices 

Chemical Inventory List (CIL): A Chemical Inventory List (CIL) is an integral part of a chemical management system implementation. A CIL must contain all chemicals used and stored in the facility and may cover, but is not limited to, cleaners, adhesives, paints, inks, detergents, dyes, colorants, auxiliaries, coatings and finishing agents, and commodity chemicals, as well as those used for ETP, sanitary, laboratory and utility purposes. If a CIL is used effectively, it will assist the Supplier in making purchasing decisions, promoting responsible chemical use, preventing pollution, increasing traceability, simplifying chemical handling decisions, and controlling disposal costs. Suppliers must have a robust process for creating and updating a CIL and a dedicated person in charge of maintaining the CIL with knowledge in the interpretation of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). If the information on chemicals is missing, there must be a corrective action plan to obtain this data from chemical formulators.

Chemical management system: A Chemical Management System (CMS) is a structured approach for managing the use and handling of chemicals in an organization. The CMS includes policies, procedures, and tools for identifying, assessing, and controlling the risks associated with chemical use. This system is designed to ensure compliance with regulations, reduce occupational health and environmental risks, and improve the sustainability of operations.

Chemical risk(s): refers to the negative impacts that may arise from the presence of hazardous substances (HAZCHEM), that are compounds exhibiting intrinsically negative properties such as being persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT), very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB), carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (CMR), or endocrine disruptors (ED). Chemical risk(s) are present all through the supply chain as well as in the final, finished product. The two major classes are risk to Human Health as well as Environmental risk.

Child labor: A human rights violation defined by the ILO as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that: is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and/or interferes with their schooling by: (1) depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; and/or (2) obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

Civic and voluntary governance roles: Refers to various positions and activities undertaken by individuals or groups in the community to contribute to the governance and decision-making processes of their society. This can include roles such as community leaders, activists, volunteers, board members of non-profit organizations, and members of citizen-led committees or task-forces. 

Civil society: Sometimes referred to as the ‘third sector’ . Business is the private sector, and government is the public sector. Civil society refers to a diverse range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith groups, professional associations and foundations that work outside government to provide support and advocacy for particular issues, groups or people in society. 

Code of Conduct: A code of conduct is a set of principles and guidelines that outline the expected standards of behavior and ethical practices for individuals within a group, organization, or profession. It aims to ensure consistency, professionalism, and the protection of stakeholders.

Code of Ethics: A code of ethics is a formal document that outlines the fundamental principles and values that guide the actions and decision-making processes of an organization, profession, or community. It establishes standards of behavior and provides a framework for ethical conduct.

Closed-loop recycling: 1. Closed loop is a production process where waste (pre-consumer and/or post-consumer) is recycled into new materials and products. 2. Ideally, a zero-waste supply chain that completely reuses, recycles, or composts all materials. However, the term can also be used to refer to corporate take-back programs, where companies that produce a good are also responsible for its disposal.

CMT: Cut, Make, Trim – Refers to Tier 1 manufacturing unit where products are finished and assembled.

Corporate code business ethics: High level policy or statement of the fundamental principles that guide the behavior of your company as a whole. For example, a commitment to respect, dignity, the law, transparency, honesty, integrity of decision-making – or ‘doing the right thing’. These principles in turn inform other policies/codes such as an Employee Code of Ethics.

Collective bargaining: Collective bargaining is the official process by which trade unions negotiate with employers, on behalf of their members. It is the process in which working people, through their unions, negotiate contracts with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family, and more.  Collective bargaining is only possible where an employer recognizes a trade union and between them they decide on the scope of negotiations.

Community (or communities or community stakeholders): People, organizations and groups from specific locations impacted by a company’s value chain operations, infrastructure and/or related activities, for example residents of a town where there is a large store or warehouse, or communities affected by the production of raw materials.

Community contributions: Refers to a strategic approach to the making of financial and other donations of resources, products, time and expertise made by a company to a charity or community group or initiative for the benefit of a social or environmental cause.

Community rights: Refers to the legal and customary rights that are held by communities in a particular geographic area. These rights can include access to land, natural resources, and cultural heritage, community resources, welfare (social aspects including healthcare and education) as well as the right to participate in decision-making processes that affect their communities. Rights can be infringed by value chain activities, for example the impact of sourcing raw materials.

Community rights holders: Refers to a group of people who hold legal and customary rights to resources, welfare, and decision-making processes within a particular geographic area. The community rights holder has the right to participate in decision-making processes that affect their community, ensuring their voices are heard in matters that impact their well-being.

Community rights program: A set of initiatives designed to promote and protect the legal and customary rights of communities. These programs aim to empower communities to participate in decision-making processes that affect their well-being and ensure their voices are heard in matters that impact them (e.g., Land tenure reform, resource management, social welfare support, and capacity-building activities to promote sustainable development and social justice).

Community stakeholders: People, organizations and groups from locations impacted by a company’s value chain operations, infrastructure and/or related activities.

Compensation for late payment: Refers to a fee paid by a purchasing company to a supplier, in compensation for late payment of the supplier’s invoice. 

Confidentiality: Refers to a set of agreed rules around how information, particularly sensitive information, such as may be disclosed in a grievance, is kept and handled securely.

Consumer packaging: Consumer packaging is the materials used to contain, protect, and market products for distribution, sale, and use by consumers. The primary function of consumer packaging is to preserve and transport products while ensuring they are appealing and convenient for consumers to use.

Consumer use: Stage in the value chain where product usage, care and consumption occur.

Contractor: A person or third-party company providing services to your company for a set period or project. The workers involved are not on your company’s payroll and therefore not classified as employees.

Corporate governance: The system and structure of rules, practices and processes used to direct and manage a company.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): The direct costs associated with producing or purchasing the goods that a company sells. There are two ways of calculating: 

1) Cost of the materials and labor directly used to create the goods. It excludes indirect expenses, such as distribution costs and sales force costs; or

2) taking the inventory value at the beginning of the studied period, adding the cost of any new inventory purchased over the covered period, and subtracting the value of inventory held at the end of the period.

Critical friend: A third-party organization, such as an NGO or independent experts who provide honest and often challenging feedback. In ESG, a critical friend is someone who agrees to speak truthfully, but constructively, providing challenge during a decision-making process, in order to drive best practice. An example might be a human rights NGO providing critical friendship to a company to ensure the robustness of its remediation approaches.

Customers’ employees: Refers to the employees of business-to-business customers of your own company who are therefore stakeholders in your activities. For example, if you are a brand, your customer could be a department store, whose sales staff are then your customer’s employees.


Data privacy: Refers to controls around how data is collected, stored, managed, and shared with any third-parties, as well as compliance with the applicable privacy laws (e.g., California Consumer Privacy Act – CCPA or the General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR).

Decent work: The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines decent work as “productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity”.  The ILO continues: in general, work is considered as decent when (1) it pays a fair income (2) it guarantees a secure form of employment and safe working conditions (3) it ensures equal opportunities and treatment for all (4) it includes social protection for the workers and their families (5) it offers prospects for personal development and encourages social integration (6) workers are free to express their concerns and to organize. 

Decoupling: Decoupling happens when the rate of growth of an environmental pressure is slower than that of its economic driving force, such as GDP, during a specific time period. There are two types of decoupling: absolute and relative. Absolute decoupling is when the environmentally relevant factor remains stable or decreases while the economic driving force increases. Relative decoupling occurs when the environmentally relevant factor’s growth rate is positive but lower than that of the economic variable.

Deforestation: The conversion of forest to non-forest (UNFCCC). All activities that contribute to deforestation should be considered, including illegal logging.

DEI: Diversity, equity and inclusion (sometimes DE&I, or EDI)

Disability: Disability results from the interaction between individuals with a health condition, such as Cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and Depression, with personal and environmental factors including negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social support (WHO). One in seven working-age adults identifies as having a disability in OECD countries, a share that is also substantial and growing among young people (8% in 2019). Many of them are excluded from meaningful work and have low levels of income and social engagement.(OECD).

Discharged wastewater: Wastewater that is released from a manufacturing facility, either directly to the environment (including but not limited to: water bodies, land application/irrigation), or to a wastewater treatment facility beyond the facility’s property boundaries.

Discrimination: Refers to the unfair, prejudiced action of treating a particular person or group of people differently to another, based on their characteristics. Examples include discrimination on the grounds of race, age, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, country of origin, religion, marital status. 

Distribution and logistics: Logistics and distribution refer to the planning, coordination, and management of the movement of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption. This includes inbound logistics, which involves the movement of goods and materials from suppliers to warehouses or production facilities, as well as outbound logistics, which involves the movement of finished products to customers or retailers. Logistics and distribution can involve owned, operated, or third-party facilities and require the efficient coordination of transportation, inventory management, and warehousing.

Diversity: Refers to who is represented within an organization or group (e.g., employees, customers). Some examples of diversity include gender diversity (women, men and non-binary employees); age diversity (a mix of ages/generations ); ethnic diversity (a mix of cultural backgrounds); disability (people with disabilities and neuro-diverse individuals). See also Equity and Inclusion – often linked with Diversity and referred to as DEI, EDI or DE&I.

Downcycling: Recycling process results in a product with a lower value than the original item.

Due diligence: The OECD definition of due diligence is the process through which enterprises can identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their actual and potential adverse impacts (harms). An enterprise is expected to conduct due diligence on its own activities and on its suppliers across its supply chain and other business relationships. Due diligence is an ongoing exercise, recognising that risks of harm may change over time as the enterprise’s operations and operating context evolve.


Endemic issues: Refers, in this context, to human rights issues that are prevalent in global supply chains, including forced labor, harassment and discrimination, child labor and gender inequality. 

Employee(s): A person who works under a contract of employment with your company and is paid through your company’s payroll system.

Employee code of ethics: A set of guidelines and principles that outlines ethical and behavioral expectations for employees and wider stakeholders to fulfill the requirements of the Corporate Code of Business Ethics; to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, and to promote integrity and professionalism.  

Employee engagement: A term used in human resources management to describe the extent to which employees of a company are emotionally committed to their work, the organization and its goals. A committed, enthusiastic workforce is seen as critical for successful business outcomes.

Employee representation: Refers to the right of employees to seek a union, a group or an individual to represent them for the purpose of negotiating with management on employment standards such as wages, hours, benefits and working conditions.

Employee retention: A term used in human resources management to describe strategic efforts to prevent employees from leaving the company to join another employer.

Employee satisfaction: A term used in human resources management to describe the extent to which employees are content with elements of their jobs, such as employment standards, the employee experience, culture, equality, management practices and any other aspects of working life that the company chooses to ask about.

Employment stability: A stable job is one that an individual can hold for a long period of time without disruption. Jobs may also offer stability by having consistent hours, wages and working conditions. Employment stability contributes to employee well-being, engagement and effective work performance. A lack of stability (e.g., layoffs, restructures, fluctuating hours) contributes to stress and anxiety and poor employee engagement.

Employee voice and representation: Refers to the practice of providing various channels and opportunities for employees to share their views with management and participate in decision-making and business strategy development. It recognizes employees as stakeholders in a company and aims to facilitate their participation in shaping the organization’s direction and outcomes. This is seen as a way to build an engaged workforce and a successful company. Examples of channels include, surveys and feedback systems, employee forums, focus groups, one to one meetings, open meetings, ‘ideas walls’, internal social media platforms.

Employee wellbeing: Refers to the overall mental, physical, emotional, and economic health of your company’s employees. A wide range of factors impact on employee well-being, from job security and work-life balance, to effective workplace consultation, supportive managers, career progression opportunities, an equitable and inclusive culture, appropriate addressing of health and safety issues. Programs to support employee wellbeing may also include initiatives aimed at supporting mental and physical health, such as gym memberships, counseling services, mental health first aid training.

Employment standards/terms: The terms that regulate the relationship between an employer and an employee, including compliance with employment law in the applicable country or region. Employment standards govern what employers can expect from employees, what employers can ask employees to do, and employees’ rights at work.

End of life: Stage in the value chain where product disposal and end of life management occur. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Equal opportunity: Delivering fair outcomes to all your company’s staff and customers, regardless of background or personal characteristics. It also refers to the prevention of discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimization.

Equity: Takes into consideration a person’s unique circumstances, adjusting treatment accordingly so that the end result is equal. The aim of an equitable approach is to ensure that a person’s identity does not define or predict their opportunities or outcomes.See also Equity and Inclusion – often linked with Equity as DEI, EDI or DE&I 

ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

Ethnicity: Refers to a person’s identity relating to ethnic, racial and/or indigenous heritage. In virtually all OECD countries, diverse populations are protected by non-discrimination legislation in the field of employment. In almost all countries, discrimination is prohibited on the grounds of sex/gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age and race, ethnic origin or skin color (OECD).


Fair payment terms: Defined by CFRPP as where the purchasing company and suppliers agree on fair and transparent payment terms that include all relevant information regarding the payment procedure and do not place a disproportionate burden on one party. Contractual obligations are honored at all times. Payments are made in full and on time.

Fair and equitable process: Refers to a process that is non-discriminatory, impartial and equally accessible to everyone whatever their personal situation. 

Fibers and raw materials: Used as an overarching term for raw materials and their initial processing which includes both fibers which can be spun into yarn, and non-fibers that are not spun into yarn, but are otherwise transformed into textile products or product components.

Feedstock: A raw material that supplies or fuels an industrial process.

FEM: Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) – Informs manufacturers, brands, and retailers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, empowering them to scale sustainability improvements.

Financial donation(s): Donations of funds made by a company (or donated by a company to a third-party charity/community group via a company’s corporate foundation). In the BRM this category excludes payroll giving or fundraising by employees.  However ‘match funding’  where a company donates an equivalent amount to an employee’s donation, can be included.

Fixed term work: Refers to employees with a contract of employment that ends on a particular date, or on completion of a specific task or project.  For example, an employee covering someone’s maternity leave, or a specialist taking on for a specific project.  Agency workers do not count as fixed term employees. 

FLA: Fair Labor Association – An international network promoting human rights in the workplace.  

Flexible working: Refers to a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example working from home, starting work earlier or later, job sharing, working less than full time hours, working full time hours but ‘condensed’ into fewer days. 

Force majeure: In contract terms refers to uncontrollable events (such as war, labor stoppages, or extreme weather) that are not the fault of any party and that make it difficult or impossible to carry out normal business. A company may insert a force majeure clause into a contract to absolve itself from liability in the event it cannot fulfill the terms of a contract (or if attempting to do so will result in loss or damage of goods) for reasons beyond its control.

Forced labor: A human rights violation defined by the ILO as work that is performed involuntarily and under the menace of any penalty. It refers to situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as manipulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities. There is a high risk of forced labor and modern slavery in apparel value chains.

Freedom of Association: Is a fundamental human right that allows individuals to form, join, or leave groups voluntarily, including trade unions and other organizations, without fear of reprisal or interference. In an employment context this usually refers to the right of an employee or worker to seek or join a trade union or other group to represent them for the purpose of negotiating with an employer on employment standards including wages, hours, benefits and other working conditions. 

Front-line teams: Refers to any employees/teams who interact with customers directly in stores or online, such as sales associates, and customer service representatives. 

FTI: Fashion Transparency Index – Benchmarking framework by NGO, Fashion Revolution, ranks 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers based on their public disclosure of human rights and environmental policies, practices, and impacts, across their operations and supply chains.


Gender: Gender refers to the roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society at a given time considers appropriate for men and women. In addition to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, gender also refers to the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes. They are context/ time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or a man in a given context. In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities undertaken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making opportunities. Gender is part of the broader socio-cultural context, as are other important criteria for socio-cultural analysis including class, race, poverty level, ethnic group, sexual orientation, age, etc.

Gender equality: This refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a women’s issue but should concern and fully engage men as well as women. Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centered development.

Gender Identity and Gender Expression: Gender identity refers to a person’s innate, deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s physiology or designated sex at birth. It includes both the personal sense of the body, which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical, or other means, and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, and mannerisms.

GHG: Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) are gasses in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of thermal infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere itself, and by clouds. This results in the greenhouse effect. There are seven major GHG gasses caused by human activity, but the most relevant ones for most fashion companies are carbon dioxide (CO2) — produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil – and methane (CH4)—which may be emitted in the use of natural gas for fuel and is also released in the leather supply chain (i.e., from cattle). The full list of GHG gasses, and their relative global warming potentials (i.e., gasses differ on their heat trapping capacity), can be found on the GHG Protocol website.

GHG Emissions: The release of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. 

Global Framework Agreements: An international (or global) framework agreement (IFA) is an instrument negotiated between a multinational enterprise and a Global Union Federation (GUF) in order to establish an ongoing relationship between the parties and ensure that the company respects the same standards in all the countries where it operates. Sectoral trade unions from the home country of the multinational also participate in the negotiation of the agreement.(ILO)

Goods-not-for-resale (GNFR) or ‘Non-Stock’ purchases: Goods and services purchased by the company that are not for re-sale to customers. For example, cleaning services, printing, or energy.

Good practice: Refers to strategies, approaches and/or ways of working that have been shown and widely accepted as effective, efficient and sustainable and to reliably lead to the desired result. 

Governance risks: Potential threats to the effective and ethical management and oversight of an organization, arising from inadequate or inappropriate governance practices, processes, or structures. These risks can impact the organization’s reputation, financial stability, and overall success.

Green claims: Also known as environmental claims, these are claims by companies about the environmentally beneficial qualities or characteristics of their goods and services. They can refer to the manner in which products are produced, packaged, distributed, used, consumed and /or disposed of.  In addition to environmental aspects, these claims are sometimes defined to include the socially responsible in which products are produced and distributed (OECD). Green claims can appear on a product, a label, packaging, marketing material, point of sales material, any kind of media, online communications, and in promotions. Regulation is increasing globally on the use of green claims.  See also ‘Greenwashing’. 

Greenwashing: Behavior, marketing, language, imagery or activities intended to make consumers believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment and reduce negative social impacts, than it really is.

Grievance (or complaint) mechanism: Refers to a formalized means by which individuals or groups can raise concerns about the impact an enterprise has on them—including, but not exclusively, on their human rights, and can seek remedy (UNGP).


Habitat: The array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are present in an area, such as to support the survival and reproduction of a particular species.

Harassment and abuse: Harassment refers to a range of unacceptable behaviors and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.

Abuse refers to a single act or series of acts of physical, verbal or psychological violence that violate someone’s human and civil rights. 

Health and safety: The systematic prevention of accidents and ill health to employees and those who may be affected by their work.

“High risk” areas or regions: A location or region that is at significant likelihood of being negatively impacted by environmental pollution or destruction, often due to natural or human activities, which may lead to irreversible damage to the ecosystem and its inhabitants.

“High risk” materials: Materials that are sourced from regions or processes with a significant likelihood of environmental harm, labor rights violations, or other ethical issues. These materials may include those sourced from conflict zones, areas with high levels of corruption, or regions with poor environmental protections.

“High risk” production techniques: Production methods that pose significant risks to environmental sustainability, worker safety, or public health. These may include techniques that lead to excessive water or energy consumption, hazardous waste production, or poor labor conditions.

“High risk” species: Species that are at significant risk of extinction due to overexploitation, habitat loss, or other environmental pressures. These may include species listed on international conservation lists like the IUCN Red List or those affected by illegal or unsustainable trade practices.

“High risk“ suppliers: Suppliers that operate in a manner posing significant risks to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. These risks might include poor labor practices, non-compliance with environmental regulations, engagement in corrupt practices, or sourcing from conflict-affected areas.

Human rights: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.


IDH: Initiative for Sustainable Trade – A sustainable trade initiative based in the Netherlands.  Describes its mission as: built upon three core values: convening, co-financing and learning & innovating. We convene public-private partnerships to jointly set ambitious targets and formulate co-investment plans that unlock scaling of sustainable production & trade to deliver large scale impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.

ILO: International Labour Organization – The International Labour Organization, abbreviated as ILO, is the only tripartite United Nations (UN) agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action to promote decent work worldwide. Its stated mission is to advance opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive employment in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

ILO Core Labor Standards: Refers to the International Labour Organization (ILO) labor standards (conventions) that apply universally to all ILO’s member state, regardless whether they ratified those conventions or not. They include: – Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining (Convention No. 87 & No. 98) – The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor (Convention No. 29 & No. 105) – The effective abolition of child labor (Convention No. 138 & No. 182) – The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation (Convention No. 100 & No. 111) Other important areas of risk to be monitored could include amongst others : migrant workers, wages, contracts, bipartite-dialogue, grievance systems, harassment and abuse, diversity, equity and inclusion, health and safety.

Impact(s): The effects or outcomes of a company’s actions or decisions on the environment, society, and corporate governance. Environmental impact refers to the effects of a company’s activities on the natural environment, such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste production, water usage, and pollution. Social impact refers to the effects of a company’s activities on society, such as its treatment of employees, community engagement, and impact on human rights. Governance impact refers to the effects of a company’s governance practices on stakeholders, such as transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior.

Inclusion: In the workplace, inclusion refers to how employees experience their workplace, and the degree to which organizations embrace all employees, foster a sense of belonging, and enable them to make meaningful contributions. See also Equity and Diversity, often linked with Inclusion as DEI, EDI or DE&I

Inclusive products and services: Refers to an intentional strategy to recognize and serve the needs of diverse customer groups. It means factoring the needs of all different types of people with many different types of needs into standard products and service offerings. This can include inclusive approaches to marketing and advertising, as well as product design, product selection, pricing, sizing, promotions and edits, store layout, changing room provision, delivery options – an inclusive approach can benefit customers and businesses at all touch points in the customer journey. See also Adaptive Clothing.

Indirect employee/worker: A person who is not on your company’s payroll but whose work contributes to the operations in your value chain. An indirect employee/worker in the BRM refers to someone paid by a third-party contracted to provide outsourced services on behalf of your company – for example in a company providing third-party distribution services. 

IR: Industrial Relations – The management of employment standards between employers and employees.



KPI: Key Performance Indicator – A measure of performance over time for a specific objective or target.


Labor rights: Labor rights are both legal rights and human rights relating to labor relations between workers and employers.

Land and forests: Converting forests to agricultural land emits high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping carbon in the land (sequestration) can mitigate climate change through ‘avoided’ emissions. Techniques include converting non-forest land to forests, planting trees or allowing forests to regenerate naturally, restoring peatlands and converting cropland to permanent pasture. Agricultural techniques that are ‘climate smart’ include mixing trees with crops (agroforestry) or with forage and livestock (silvopasture) as ways to sequester carbon alongside sustainable forest management. (Global Environment Facility – GEF)

Land use: All the arrangements, activities, and inputs undertaken in a certain land-cover type (a set of human actions) or the social and economic purposes for which land is managed (e.g., grazing, timber extraction, conservation).

Land use conversion: Refers to large scale geographic change, i.e., a change in the primary usage of land, such as deforestation for agricultural or other use.

Landfill: Refers to a waste management practice, which is the lowest priority in the waste hierarchy, whereby solid waste material is buried in managed landfill sites. 

Learning and Development (L&D): A continuous process of encouraging the professional development of your company’s employees. It involves analyzing skills gaps in your business and designing training programs that empower employees with specific knowledge and skills that support business goals and high performance.

Living wage: The Global Living Wage Coalition has agreed the following definition of a living wage based on over 60 global definitions including the ILO:  remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events.

Local community: A group of people who reside near a company’s operations, or the operations of its value chain and are directly and indirectly affected by its activities. These communities may include employees, customers, suppliers, and residents living in the surrounding area.


Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL): A list of substances banned or restricted from intentional use in commercial chemical formulations used by manufacturing facilities in the textile, apparel, leather and footwear sectors.

Measuring: Systematically gathering and recording qualitative or quantitative data to identify risks, opportunities or progress.

Median worker pay: The middle number in a set of salaries listed from highest to lowest. Where a median salary figure is reported, half of the salaries in the set are less than that number and half are higher.

Micro-fiber shedding: Microfiber shedding is the process by which fibers, thinner than a human hair, are released from textiles during manufacture and use. These fibers can cause environmental pollution and harm marine life.

Migrant workers: The ILO defines “migrant for employment” as a person who migrates from one country to another with a view to being employed otherwise than on his or her own account.

Milestone: An interim target or checkpoint in a larger project or strategic plan, that represents the successful completion of  events, tasks, or groups of tasks along your project timeline.

Missed deadlines: In purchasing, this refers to proportional penalties if a supplier misses its delivery deadline.

Mitigation: (OECD) Refers to actions taken to diminish or eliminate the harm if a negative event occurs. Mitigation measures may be taken before, during or after an event with the aim of reducing the degree of harm. For example, a textile mill adopts the best available technologies to reduce water pollution.

Modern slavery: A human rights violation where individuals are exploited for commercial gain. The ILO describes modern slavery as situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power. Can include forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking.

Monitoring: Maintaining observation of an activity over a period of time.

MSI: Multi-stakeholder initiative – A framework for collaboration between businesses, civil society and other stakeholders (including governmental bodies)  to address specific environmental, social or governance issues.

Multi-stakeholder initiative (MSI): Refers to a framework for collaboration between businesses, civil society and other stakeholders (including governmental bodies) to address specific environmental, social or governance issues.


Nature:  All non-human living entities and their interaction with other living or non-living physical entities and processes (IPBES Global Assessment 2019). This definition recognizes that interactions bind humans to nature, and its subcomponents (e.g., species, soils, rivers, nutrients), to one another. This definition also recognizes that air pollution, climate regulation, and carbon are part of “nature” more broadly—therefore, when we talk about acting for nature, we are talking about acting on issues related to climate change as well.

Nature impacts: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines nature impacts as the effects of climate change on natural systems, such as ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources. These impacts can include changes in the distribution and abundance of species, alterations in the timing of seasonal events, and shifts in the availability and quality of natural resources. This can also have consequences for human societies, including impacts on food and water security, public health, and economic development.

Natural capital: Refers to the world’s natural resources in terms of their social, environmental and economic benefits to human beings (e.g., habitats, ecosystems, geology, soils, air, water, living organisms).

Non-conformities: Conformity assessment means that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled. A non-conformity happens when those requirements are not met.

NGO: Non Governmental organization – A non-profit organization typically established to address a social or environmental issue.

Non-consumer packaging: Non-consumer packaging refers to packaging intended solely for industrial use or wholesale distribution, including transport packaging. This type of packaging, often used in logistics and distribution, is not sent to consumers or used in retail environments. Examples include film, strapping, B2B boxes, and transport packaging materials like pallets, crates, and protective wraps, which are essential for securing and transporting goods from manufacturers to retailers or between businesses.

Non-financial donations: Covers a wide range of tangible and intangible donations other than money, which are made by the company to a charity or community organization. For example, donations of employee time and expertise, using the company’s public profile (e.g., social media accounts) to support fundraising or awareness, or donations of tangible items such as products, infrastructure, technology. Product donation includes donations for charity auctions, as well as products for use by the charity’s beneficiary groups.


OECD: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – Abbreviated as OECD and based in Paris (FR), is an international organization of 38 countries committed to democracy and the market economy.

On-product claim(s): Refers to a statement or label that appears directly on a product’s packaging or labeling, advertising a specific attribute or benefit of the product. These claims can influence consumer purchasing decisions and must be truthful and not misleading (see Green Claims).

OSH: Occupational Safety and Health

Other general waste: Also called residual waste, this refers to material discarded by businesses and domestic premises that cannot be recycled. 

Overseas donations:  In the context of the Brand and Retail Module (BRM), overseas donations refer to the practice of donating clothing to third countries. This encompasses actions by individuals, charities, thrift shops, or companies to give away garments, footwear, or accessories (used or not) that are no longer wanted or needed. The donated items are then shipped overseas, where they are distributed or sold in local markets. Broadly, an overseas donation is a charitable gift, which can be fiscal or in kind, made to recipient organizations located outside the company’s country of residence, where the headquarters is situated. In this specific context, it focuses on the transference of clothing to international destinations for charitable purposes or as a form of aid.


Packaging design initiative(s): Refers to packaging design strategies aimed at increasing the sustainability of packaging by considering the full lifecycle of the package, and identifying ways to reduce its environmental and social impacts as it moves through the value chain. Examples include designing reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging, reducing the overall volume of packaging materials, and using preferred materials and production methods.

Paid leave for sickness/injury: Payment made to an employee who is unable to work due to ill health or injury.

Pay: Remuneration provided to an employee by a company in return for services provided under a contract of employment.

Pay gap(s) or ratio(s): Calculated by comparing the median pay rate of one group of employees against another across an organization (for example, comparing the median pay rate of employees by gender, national origin, ethnicity or other characteristics). Calculating pay gaps helps companies identify areas of inequality so that these inequalities can be addressed strategically.

Payment timelines: In purchasing, this refers to targets set related to the number of days a company takes to pay its suppliers.

Payroll giving: A program that allows employees to make regular donations to charities or non-profit organizations through their employer’s payroll system. Employees can choose the amount and frequency of their donations, which are deducted from their pre-tax income.

Parental leave (maternity, paternity, adoption,fostering, other) and return to work: An employment standard that enables persons with a parental responsibility to take time away from work to look after a dependent child or children or to arrange for their care. The employee’s job is protected during parental leave, which may be paid or unpaid depending on individual contract terms and/or local regulation.

Part-time work: Refers to employees of a company whose contracted hours are fewer than a full-time worker in that company.  There is no specific number of hours that defines work as part time. 

Penalties: A purchasing term that refers to reductions of the agreed price, additional services or future price reduction as a result of a supplier not meeting the requirements as agreed with your company, such as quality issues or late delivery.  

Performance and incentives: Refers to programs which link the achievement of targets or goals, or desired behaviors, with financial or other types of compensation or reward.

Performance review: An HR management practice by which a company assesses an employee’s performance.  Typically this will  take place at regular intervals, and provides useful feedback for the employee to enable them to progress in their role or career.  During the review the employee and their manager are likely to agree goals and identify any training or development needed to achieve them. Ideally this process is a two-way dialogue between the employee and their manager. 

Philanthropy: Donating money, time, or resources to charitable causes, non-profit organizations, or social initiatives. This can include donations of cash, goods, or services, as well as employee volunteer programs, grants, or sponsorships of charitable events.

Policy (or equivalent corporate statement): A set of rules and guidelines established by an organization to govern its operations, employees, and wider stakeholders.

Post-consumer waste/material: Material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product that can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of material from the distribution chain (ISO 14009:2020).

Pre-consumer waste/material: Material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. Excluded is reutilization of materials such as rework, regrind or scrap generated in a process and capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it (ISO 14009:2020). 

Preferred material: A fiber or raw material that delivers consistently reduced impacts and increased benefits for climate, nature, and people against the conventional equivalent, through a holistic approach to transforming production systems.

Prevention: Action that is intended to stop a harm from occurring. In other words, “prevent” does not necessarily equate to risk-avoidance. Furthermore, prevention may refer to actions an enterprise takes to prevent harm in its own operations or the actions it takes to prevent harms linked to its supply chain (e.g., supplier capacity building etc.).

Price changes: In purchasing, refers to changes to the price of an order after agreement was reached and the purchase order was issued.

Pro-bono: Refers to the provision of professional services or expertise without charge or payment. 

Product recall: Process to remove products from the market, usually over safety or quality concerns related to a manufacturing or design defect that may cause harm. Typically consumers are informed and requested to return a product to a retailer or manufacturer with a mechanism for refund. 

Production planning: Effective production planning is a key element of responsible purchasing practices. It refers to the expected production of a number of products and styles over a certain period.

Program (or strategy): It is a structured approach to making a strategy a reality, with clearly defined accountabilities, initiatives, timelines, and budgets. (Strategy defines what an organization wants to achieve in the long run).

Public reporting: Refers to information available in the public domain and freely accessible.

Purchasing practices: Refers to the way that companies do business with the manufacturers that supply their products. They encompass strategic planning, sourcing, development, purchasing and the underlying behaviors, values and principles which have an impact  on value chain workers. Good purchasing practices promote better working conditions. Poor purchasing practices can have a negative impact on suppliers and workers in the global supply chain and can contribute to poor working conditions, unauthorized subcontracting, labor disputes and strikes and wages which do not cover the basic needs of workers and their families in garment producing countries.



Raw materials: A specific substance used by the textile industry which can be either primary (virgin) materials (cultivated or extracted from the earth) or secondary feedstocks (reclaimed and recycled from pre-consumer or post-consumer waste streams and fed back into the production cycle). Materials can be either renewable or non-renewable. (Source: Textile Exchange)

Recycled fibers (materials): Material that has been reprocessed from reclaimed material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product. Recovered material could be from pre-consumer material or post-consumer material.

Redundancy protections: Redundancy is a form of dismissal of an employee from their job. It occurs when a business needs to reduce their workforce for an economic, commercial or other business reason. Redundancy implies that the role the employee carries out is no longer needed by the company.   Redundancy protections refers to steps that an employer must take to ensure the redundancy is a genuine redundancy and that the redundancy process is fair, for example by having a fair, open and transparent selection criteria by which employees are selected.  Other protections include a consultation period, in which alternatives to redundancy are considered, and payment to compensate the employee for loss of their role. See also Transfer of Undertaking.

Regular work and employment stability: Refers to continuous employment, whether full time or part-time. Regular work is the opposite of casual work, where an individual may be engaged for a task or number of hours, but has no expectation of ongoing work, or a ‘zero hours’ contract where working hours and therefore income are expected to be irregular.

Remanufactured products: Feedstock for remanufactured products: Products are disassembled and their components (such as fabrics and trims) are used to create a new garment. 

Remediation: Access to effective remedy is a core component of the UN Guiding Principles on the Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Guiding Principle 1 recalls States to take “appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress” business-related human rights abuses within their territory and/or jurisdiction. Examples of remedy must be specific to the rights breached, but may include compensation, replacement housing for communities, apologies for harms caused, reinstatement in a job, contribution to communities’ livelihoods, agreement on joint monitoring of a situation.

Responsible exit: In purchasing terms, refers to terminating a business relationship in a responsible manner. Responsible means taking measures at an early stage to either minimize or mitigate adverse impacts on the suppliers’ employees. A responsible exit strategy should define to which relationship it applies, the reasons for exiting (this can only be an adverse impact if it cannot be reversed, or all attempts to reverse it have failed), when it can be escalated and the process for exiting in a way that mitigates adverse impact on workers.

Responsible clothing care behavior(s): Refers to a set of recommended practices aimed at promoting sustainable and ethical clothing consumption habits for consumers. These guidelines include washing clothes in cold water, air-drying when possible, using eco-friendly detergents, repairing and donating clothes instead of discarding them, and purchasing wisely to increase the lifecycle of the product. 

Responsible consumption:  Refers to the need for consumers (and corporate procurement professionals) to make purchasing choices taking into account environmental and social impacts at all stages of the product life cycle (for both goods and services) UNEP describes responsible consumption as the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the lifecycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.

Responsible and inclusive product and service offering: An inclusive product or service is designed and developed in a way that ensures accessibility, usability, and availability to people from diverse backgrounds, abilities, and cultures. It aims to provide an equitable user experience for all.

Responsible lobbying and policy influencing: The act of advocating for a cause or issue in a lawful, transparent, and fair manner. It involves the disclosure of the identities of the lobbyists and the interests they represent, providing accurate information to decision-makers, and avoiding any unethical behavior or attempt to exert undue influence. Responsible lobbying promotes policies that benefit society as a whole, not just the interests of a particular group, and respects democratic values and the rule of law.

Responsible marketing: Communicating with customers in a way that’s fair, accurate, truthful, respectful, inclusive and transparent. There are a number of elements involved in responsible marketing, including but not limited to (1) an awareness of the potential negative social impact of elements of marketing content (e.g., endorsing negative social behaviors, use of discriminatory language, disrespect of cultural heritage, inappropriate use of animals, promoting unhealthy body images (2) avoiding greenwashing – making ‘green’ or other customer-facing claims with insufficient evidence) (3) compliance with regulatory requirements (4) avoiding the promotion of over-consumption and waste (5) responsible, inclusive casting and respectful treatment of models.

Responsible procurement practices: In this context, the term responsible procurement practices refers to the embedding of ESG considerations into the purchase of non-stock (GNFR) products and services. See Purchasing Practices for definition referring to the purchase of goods for re-sale.

Restoration: In ecology, restoration refers to a process to support the recovery of degraded, damaged or destroyed ecosystems and bring more nature and biodiversity back everywhere, from agricultural and forest land to marine environment and urban spaces.

Restricted Substances List (RSL): A list of restricted or banned chemicals and substances in finished home textile, apparel and footwear products.

Retail: Retail stores and online. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Retaliation: Refers to an employer or company taking negative action against an employee who has raised a formal complaint or concern about the company’s behavior. Examples could include harassing behavior, threats, changes to job duties.

Risk: The OECD definition of risk refers to the risk of harm to individuals, other organizations and communities in relation to human rights, labor rights and the environment.

Risk assessment: The process of identifying, understanding and evaluating potential risks and hazards concerning the operations of your company.

RPP: Responsible Purchasing Practices


Safety risk(s): Product safety risks may arise as a result of faulty design, manufacturing defects, inadequate warning labels, or inadequate testing. Such breaches can put consumers at risk of harm or injury.

Safety standard(s): Refers to regulatory requirements designed to ensure the safety of products, services, processes to those affected by them (for example, consumers, businesses, employees). 

Salient risk: Salient refers to the risks that are most important or significant Salient human rights risks are those human rights that are at risk of the most severe negative impacts through a company’s activities or business relationship (UNGP).

SASB: Sustainable Accounting Standards Board – An independent non-profit, whose mission is to develop and disseminate sustainability accounting standards that help public corporations disclose material, decision-useful information to investors. Focusses on the financial materiality of a broad range of ESG topics. 

Science-based targets (SBTs): Science-based targets provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth. Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN): The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) defines science-based targets as “”measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives, based on the best available science, that allow actors to align with Earth’s limits and societal sustainability goals.”” While climate targets and actions don’t necessarily need to be place-specific, targets and actions on water, biodiversity, lands, and oceans will need to be place-based. In order to ready companies to set science-based targets in these areas, understanding connection to place will be essential. The SBTN is developing a method for companies to ensure that their biodiversity actions are aligned with global goals and a planetary “safe operating space,”” and released its Science Based Targets for Nature Initial Guidance for Business in September 2020.

Scope 1: All direct GHG emissions.

Scope 2: Indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam

Scope 3: Other indirect emissions, such as the extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the reporting entity, electricity-related activities (e.g. T&D losses) not covered in Scope 2, outsourced activities, waste disposal, etc.

Sexual orientation: Refers to a person’s sexual attraction to other people, or lack thereof. Along with romantic orientation, this forms a person’s orientation identity (Stonewall). Despite progress in LGBTQ+ rights, there is still widespread discrimination in OECD countries based on sexual orientation. On average, more than one in three LGBT respondents in OECD countries report having personally felt discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (OECD).

Shopping experience: The experiences and feelings that a customer has during their purchase journey with a company. This includes both online shopping and physical shopping in a bricks and mortar store, as well as the customer’s experience of marketing and advertising, promotions, products, payment, delivery, packaging, customer care and returns. 

Single-use plastics: Plastic products that are used once, or for a short period of time, before being thrown away. The impacts of this plastic waste on the environment and our health are global and can be drastic. Single-use plastic products are more likely to end up in our seas than reusable options.

SLCP: Social labor Convergence Program (SLCP) – Is a supply chain social assessment tool that focuses on collaboration to support stakeholders to improve working conditions. It aims to reduce audit duplication, unlock potential audit-related savings and redirect those financial savings to improve social and labor conditions.

Social impact: The effect that actions have on people, communities, and society.

Sourcing restrictions: Refers to limitations or prohibitions placed on the procurement of materials, products, or services from certain suppliers or geographic regions, often due to concerns about ESG risks.

Stakeholders: Refers to people or groups who can affect or be affected by the activities of a business, initiative, strategy or project. Stakeholders can be internal  (e.g., employees) or external (e.g., customers, suppliers, communities, governments, industry organizations). 

Strategic supplier: A purchasing term that refers to a supplier that is critical to an organization’s operations or overall business strategy. These suppliers are typically long-term partners (or can be financially strategic) that collaborate closely with the organization to achieve common goals.

STTI: Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI) – Is a manufacturer driven initiative, focused on creating fairer purchasing practices in the textile and garment industry.

Subcontracting: Refers to an arrangement between businesses – the assignment of parts or the whole of a contracted order by one business to another third-party company.

Supplier(s): A business entity that manufactures textiles, apparel, leather, and/or footwear related materials or products and/or offers manufacturing or services to another party.

Supplier Code of Conduct: Refers to a set of minimum ethical and performance standards that a company’s suppliers are required to meet in relation to governance, compliance, environmental standards and practices, human rights and labor conditions.

Supply chain: refers to the entire network of companies, organizations, resources, and activities involved in the creation and delivery of a product, from raw materials to the final product that reaches the consumer. In the textile, apparel, and footwear sector, this includes everything from the sourcing of raw materials (such as cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers) to the manufacturing of textiles, the production of garments and footwear, and the distribution of finished products to retailers and consumers.

Sustainable or green chemistry: is a scientific concept that seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services. Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.

Sustainable development: Defined by the United Nations as development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable investment and innovation: Refers to the practice of investing in and developing innovative solutions and technologies that address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges, while also generating financial returns over the long-term. This approach aims to promote sustainable development and create positive societal impact.


Target(s): A performance objective defined as a value on an established performance indicator. A well-defined target is SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Adequate, Realistic, and Timed. To make effective progress towards ESG goals, targets should be approved by senior leadership with relevant officers accountable for monitoring and achieving KPIs.

Tax contribution: Refers to companies having a policy on payment of taxes that is transparent and considers the interests of all stakeholders, including communities, tax payers and governments.

TE: The Textile Exchange – Is a global non-profit organization that works to promote sustainability in the textile industry. It provides resources, tools, and standards to help companies reduce the negative impacts of production and manufacturing, working with stakeholders across the value chain to drive positive change.

Temporary work: Temporary employment, whereby workers are engaged only for a specific period of time, includes fixed-term, project- or task-based contracts, as well as seasonal or casual work, including day labor (ILO).

Third-party assurance: An independent entity or individual conducts an assessment of an organization’s data and/or processes against an appropriate standard. The evaluation should result in a written conclusion that states the level of confidence the intended audience can have in the data or process.

Third-party logistics providers: Refers to specialist companies that provide a range of services to other businesses, including distribution, packing, shipping, freight handling, warehousing, inventory management, transport and deliveries.

Third-party verification: An independent entity or individual checks an organization’s data and/or processes against an appropriate standard, and provides a statement verifying the accuracy of the information or procedures.

Tier 0: Corporate real estate not involved in the production process such as headquarters, sales offices, sourcing offices, showrooms, data centers. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Tier 1: Finished product assembly: assembly and manufacturing of final products. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Tier 2: Material production: production and finishing of materials (e.g., fabric, trims) that go directly into finished product. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations. 

Tier 3: Raw material processing: processing of raw materials into yarn and other intermediate products. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Tier 4: Raw material extraction: cultivation and extraction of raw materials from the earth, plants, or animals. It includes both owned or operated facilities and third-party operations.

Traceability: A traceability system records and tracks the history, location, and use of products, parts, and materials from suppliers to end products. This system can be digital or paper-based and supports best practices in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). It ensures the reliability of sustainability claims and helps with due diligence in areas such as human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption. Additionally, it assists in identifying value chain facilities and investigating and resolving issues related to a component.

Training and development: Also known as Learning and Development: A continuous process of encouraging the professional development of your company’s employees. It involves analyzing skills gaps in your business and designing training programs that empower employees with specific knowledge and skills that support business goals and high performance.

Transfer of undertaking: Refers to the situation when a company, or part of it, transfers from one employer to another (e.g., when a company or part of a company is sold). Transfer of undertaking can also occur when a service transfers to a new provider (e.g., when a new company takes over the contract for the catering or office cleaning). In many jurisdictions there are legal protections in place for employees that are transferred as part of a business sale or change in service provider.

Transparency: Being open and honest and disclosing information externally. It is considered a core practice in good corporate governance for companies to disclose all relevant information publicly so that others can make informed decisions about them. See also ‘Value Chain Transparency’.


UN: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 – Currently made up of 193 Member States, the UN and its work are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.  Describes itself as a place where the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems and find shared solutions.

Underrepresented group(s): Groups who share characteristics where data shows there are gaps in equality of opportunity in relation to access, success or progression. Groups in society who face structural discrimination, and social and economic disadvantages due to factors including race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, indigenous background, life stage and others. Policy makers must ensure that measures are put in place to overcome obstacles affecting these groups.

UNDP’s: United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights  – A set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses.

Unsold goods: Unsold goods are products that a company holds in stock but has not been able to sell within a certain period of time. This includes defective and/or damaged items. In addition, any transaction with the intent other than to sell the product as it was created should be considered unsold goods under this definition. May also be referred to as unsold inventory.


Value chain: The system of activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to consumer across the different facilities/suppliers in the textile, apparel, leather and footwear industry.

Value chain mapping: The process of value chain mapping involves companies and suppliers working together to uncover and pinpoint the origin of materials and methods used in their products. This process encompasses all stages of the supply chain, including raw material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, distribution, and sale. Mapping the supply chain is crucial in comprehending a product or service’s environmental, social, and economic effects. It allows businesses to identify potential risks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement within their supply chains, making it an essential tool for managing intricate global supply chains.

Value chain transparency:  Refers to systems by which a company identifies what is happening, and where, at the different levels of its value chain, and makes this information available to stakeholders by publishing online. For example, by publishing a factory/facility list.

Value chain visibility: Value chain visibility refers to the ability to track and monitor the flow of goods, services, and information throughout a supply chain, from raw materials, to the end customer, and to the end of life of a product. 

Value chain worker: People employed or contracted by organizations at each stage in the production or supply chain of a product or service. Each tier represents a different level of engagement or responsibility in the production process(see individual tier descriptions). This includes, raw material collection, processing, assembly, product development, manufacturing, logistics (inbound and outbound), company operations, distribution and consumer supports services.

Vulnerable groups: Groups in society who face structural discrimination, and social and economic disadvantages due to factors including race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, indigenous background, life stage and others. Policy makers must ensure that measures are put in place to overcome obstacles affecting these groups.


WARP: Wages in Apparel and Responsible Purchasing – An IDH program, which is structured to complement and build on existing experience and tools on wage measurement and wage improvement within companies and leading initiatives like the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), Fair Labor Association (FLA), Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI), Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), The Industry We Want (TIWW) and ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation).

Waste: The loss of input incurred to produce the required output in a given production process.

Wastewater: Water no longer considered usable for a given operational purpose, which is directly or indirectly discharged from a facility.

Wastewater guidelines: Refers to industry guidance aimed at addressing the biodiversity and pollution risks of wastewater from textile processing.

Waste diversion initiative(s): Refers to goals and strategies aimed at minimising waste generation through prevention, recycling, re-use or composting, thus increasing resource efficiency, and decreasing the amount of material going to landfill.

Waste generation: Refers to inefficient use of materials and resources in industry and domestic use, leading to waste material that must be managed through reuse, recycling, energy recovery or other disposal.

Waste hierarchy: The EU Waste Framework Directive outlines a hierarchy for managing waste in order to improve resource efficiency and minimize negative impacts caused by waste generation and management. The waste hierarchy prioritizes (1) prevention, (2) preparing for re-use, (3) recycling/composting, (4) other forms of recovery (such as energy recovery), and (5) disposal, with a focus on promoting options that have the best environmental outcomes.

Waste management: Waste management involves the methods and procedures used to handle and get rid of waste materials, with a focus on the waste hierarchy which prioritizes waste prevention, re-use preparation, recycling/composting, energy recovery, and disposal as a last option.

Waste reduction: preventing waste, or decreasing the amount of waste material generated. This can be achieved with waste prevention strategies, resource efficiency, reuse, purchasing pre-used or recycled materials or products, and circular initiatives.

Water quality: Refers to the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water and the degree to which water is suitable for a particular use – for example, whether it is clean, suitable for drinking and can support aquatic life.

Water scarcity: Water scarcity occurs where there are insufficient water resources to satisfy long-term average requirements. It refers to long-term water imbalances, combining low water availability with a level of water demand exceeding the supply capacity of the natural system.

Water withdrawal(s): The volume of freshwater abstraction from surface or groundwater. Part of the freshwater withdrawal will evaporate, another part will return to the catchment where it was withdrawn and yet another part may return to another catchment or the sea.

Wholesale customers, franchises, licensees and/or other business partners: Refers to ways of selling product from business to business (B2B). Wholesale involves buying goods in bulk from a manufacturer and selling to a retailer. A franchise is an arrangement in which one company (franchisor) sells the right to sell its products or services to another company (franchisee) . The franchisee is purchasing the right to use the franchisor’s name and idea. A licensee is a business or individual who has purchased the legal permission to use something that another company owns e.g., copyright in a particular image, logo or brand name.

WDI: Workforce Disclosure Initiative – led by Share Action – A human rights/decent work assessment framework.

Workers: A person who performs work for the organization without having a direct employment relationship with the organization under national law or practice (including, self-employees). This includes any stage across the value chain. In the context of the BRM, the term ‘workers’ does not include your company’s direct employees.See the employee definition for further clarity.

Worker wellbeing: Refers to the overall mental, physical, emotional, and economic health of a value chain worker.  A wide range of factors impact on worker wellbeing, including  job and financial security, work-life balance, effective workplace consultation, supportive managers, career progression opportunities, an equitable and inclusive culture, health and safety issues. Programs to support worker wellbeing address issues both within and outside the factory, and may include women’s empowerment, community healthcare, financial literacy, childcare provision and/or other locally relevant matters.

Working conditions: Refers to the working environment and aspects of an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. (See Employment Terms)

Working time: Refers the period of time that an employee is at work. The EU Working Time Directive 2003 defines working time as ‘any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Article 2(1)). Rest periods are defined as ‘any period which is not working time’.



Young worker(s): The ILO defines young workers as those aged 15-24 years old, regardless of their employment status or whether they are in education or training. The ILO distinguishes between child labor and acceptable work performed by children aged 15-18, provided that the work does not interfere with their schooling or harm their health, safety, or morals. Special attention is needed to ensure that work performed by children aged 15-18 does not interfere with their education, health, or development and that they are protected from exploitation, abuse, and hazardous working conditions.


ZDHC: Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program – Is a collaboration of leading brands, value chain affiliates, and associate contributors committed to advancing towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the textile, leather, and footwear value chain, thereby reducing harm to the environment and human wellbeing.

Zero waste to landfill: Refers, at its simplest, to an overall waste reduction strategy with the ultimate objective of eliminating the volume of material (waste) that ends up in landfill.