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Business Model

Describes how a company does business. It is the translation of strategic issues, such as strategic positioning and strategic goals into a conceptual model that explicitly states how the business functions. The business model serves as a building plan that allows designing and realizing the business structure and systems that constitute the company’s operational and physical form. (Osterwalder et al, 2005).

Business Strategy

Describes the long term goals of the company and the markets in which the company will operate (i.e. vision and mission). (adapted from Andrews, K R, 1997).

Life Cycle

Consecutive and interlinked stages of a product (good or service), from the extraction of natural resources to the final disposal. (adapted from ISO 14040:2006).

Life Cycle Assessment

A systematic set of procedures for compiling and examining the inputs and outputs of materials and energy and the associated environmental impacts directly attributable to the functioning of a product throughout its life cycle (adapted from ISO 14040:2006)

Life Cycle Thinking

A mostly qualitative approach to understand how our choices influence what happens at each of the stages of the life cycle of an industrial activity: from raw material acquisition through manufacture, distribution, product use and disposal. This approach is needed in order to balance trade-offs and positively impact the economy, the environment, and society (UNEP 2004).


The set of activities that are designed to help the company to understand the type of product it should offer to a market and communicate the benefits and value of the product to the targeted consumer. Marketing focuses on the product, promotion, price and distribution channels.

Market Analysis

The activity of gathering information about the size, growth, profitability, target groups and existing products of a market, which is used to inform decision making at a strategic level. This specific activity would fall under the broader umbrella of Marketing activities.

Organization Structure

The range of activities and key resources (human and financial) within the company, in addition to those relating directly to production, that are dedicated to supporting the Business Model. These include procurement processes, distribution, key partnerships, customer relationships and interfaces, research and development, internal communication, and revenue generation.


Parties in the Value Chain that provide or receive value including suppliers, outsourced workers, contractors, customers, consumers, clients, members, and others (ISO 26000:2010).


A planning tool used to support the implementation of strategies. It is made up of a series of projects that will help to progress the organization from the company’s current position towards fulfilling the organization’s goals (adapted from Phaal R et al, 2007).


Any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, an organization or its activities. Also, any individual or group that can help define value propositions for the organization. (Stakeholder Research Associates Canada Inc., United Nations Environment Programme, Accountability: Stakeholder Engagement, 2005)

Supply Chain

A system of organizations, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer (Michael Porter 1985).


Value is understood to involve creating economic value (the revenue that a firm gets in return for its goods or services) in a way that also creates positive outcomes for society by addressing its needs and challenges, taking into account economic, environmental and social considerations (adapted from Porter & Kramer, 2011)

Value Chain

The entire sequence of activities or parties that provide or receive value in the form of products or services (e.g. suppliers, outsources workers, contractors, investors, R&D, customers, consumers, members). (ISO14001 CD2, 2013). See also Partners definition above.

Value Proposition

Refers to the products or services that an organization offers to a specific market segment that the organization believes will create value for that specific market segment.

In Resource efficiency