ISO 26000

The ISO 26000 series represents a unique top-down protocol in corporate social responsibility standards, created by the International Organization for Standardization to implement consensus on sustainable management standards across borders and to provide practical implementation of the ISO 19011 series, the ISO 14000 series, and the GRI standards. It is a voluntary guidance standard adopted […]

Industrial Ecology

A field of study and practice that focuses on how industry can be developed or restructured to reduce environmental burdens throughout the product life cycle (extraction, production, use, and disposal) and encompasses a variety of related areas of research and practice, including: Material and energy flow studies (“industrial metabolism”) Dematerialization and decarbonization Technological change and […]

IPO (Initial Public Offering)

A first sale of equity in a company to public investors. IPOs are governed the Securities Act of 1933, SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) regulation, and differing state laws. An IPO is one way to raise money for further investment or expansion, the other being the issuing of debt in the form of bonds. A company […]

Integrated Bottom Line

A process, described by Theo Furgusson, for integrating financial, environmental, and social costs and benefits into a unified measure of business activity. Conventional objectives of profitability, competitive advantage, efficiency, and economic growth are judged successful by their compatibility with biodiversity, ecological sustainability, equity, community support, and maximized well-being for a variety of stakeholders. An Integrated […]

Industrial Estates

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “a large tract of land, subdivided and developed for the use of several companies in close proximity to use simultaneously, with a shared infrastructure.” Other terms for these include, industrial parks, industrial zones, export processing zones, business parks, industrial development zones, and eco-industrial parks. All industrial estates share […]

Incentive-based Rehabilitative Economics

A set of economic policies that give carbon credits, financial grants or subsidies, expertise, or other types of aid as an incentive to rehabilitate and protect, in perpetuity, habitats that have been destroyed by human activity (for example, rainforests burnt to raise cattle). Example: In 1968, UNESCO and the government of India funded the development […]

ISO 19011

The ISO 19011 series represents environmental management and auditing standards, created by the International Organization for Standardization, which certify products and companies that meet specific processes and practice criteria. These supercede many of the criteria initially developed under the ISO 14000 standards. ISO 19011

ISO 14000

The ISO 14000 series represents environmental management standards, created by the International Organization for Standardization, which certify products and companies that meet specific processes and practice criteria. This standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to: implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental […]

IRR (Internal Rate of Return)

The Discount Rate at which the present value of future cash flow is zero. Arrived at through trial and error this is essentially the return a company receives on investment in itself.

Intellectual Capital

Refers to a capital asset whose yield is intellectual rights. An economic intangible used mostly by firms engaged in information technology, innovation research or technology transfer.


The goal of many organizations who seek to differentiate their offerings by finding new and more valuable solutions that others have not. Most organizations who seek to innovate, do so as a separate, occasional function by a designated subset of employees or consultants. However, true innovation requires cultural change throughout the organization to sustain as […]

Information Economy

A vague term referring to a economy whose chief characteristic is the trade or value of information instead of materials (such as gold, iron, or fish) or activities (such as manufacturing or agriculture) to create economic growth and benefits. There is no standard definition of information nor any measures of its value. Thus, it’s difficult […]

Industrial Nutrients

A term coined by Michael Braungart and William McDonough to describe the raw materials used in manufacturing, use, and disposal of products. These materials, when treated as valuable resources can be used to make other products instead of being disposed of as waste. Some industrial nutrients are toxic, others are not.

Industrial Metabolism

The total use of materials and energy throughout an entire industrial process, such as manufacturing. This includes the source, transportation, use, reuse, recycling, and disposal of all industrial nutrients (materials) as well as the energy needed at each step. Resources: Allenby, B. and Richards, D. (1994). Greening of Industrial Systems. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. […]