Carbon Footprint

A representation of the effect human activities have on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases produced (measure in units of carbon dioxide).

Carbon Neutrality

The potential for net carbon emissions to be zero, all else being equal. For operational activity, we strive to achieve carbon neutrality by offsetting our carbon emissions.

Sustainable Food

Antibiotic Free

Animals that have been raised without the use of antibiotics.

Cage Free

Birds not confined to cages. Generally, this means the birds live outdoors or on the floor of a large barn.

Fair Trade

Fair trade certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Fair trade principles include fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development and environmental sustainability.

Farm Cooperative

A business whose membership is limited to persons producing agricultural products that are marketed by the co-op.

Free Range

The method of farming husbandry where the animals are permitted to roam freely instead of being contained in any manner. Free Range may apply to meat, eggs, or dairy.

Grass Fed

Animals whose diets consist solely of grass and not of grain.


The growing of plants in water containing dissolved nutrients, rather than in soil. This process is being used in greenhouses for intensive off-season production of vegetables.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

An ecologically based approach to pest control that relies on natural mortality factors, such as natural enemies, weather, and crop management. This is designed to produce healthy crop in an economically efficient and environmentally sound manner.

Natural Foods

Generally refers to food or food products which are minimally processed and remain as close as possible to their whole, original state. Hence, natural foods are generally more nutritious than their refined counterparts.

Organic Farming

A production system that completely or mostly excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, or growth regulators. Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations (USDA). According to those standards, organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics.

Organic Labeling

  • “100% Organic” – May use USDA Organic Seal.
  • “Organic” – At least 95% of content by weight is organic and may carry the USDA Organic Seal.
  • “Made with Organic” – At least 70% of content by weight is organic buy is not able to have the USDA Organic Seal.

rBGH (bBST) Free Milk

Recombinant bovine growth hormone is a genetically engineered hormone injected into dairy cows to artificially increase their milk production. Note that the FDA has stated no significant difference has been shown and no test can distinguish between milk from rBGH treated and untreated cows.

Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable seafood is from sources, either fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production into the long-term without jeopardizing the affected ecosystems.

Transfair USA

A non-profit organization who is the only 3rd party certifier of fair trade products in the U.S. and one of 20 members of Fair trade Labeling Organization International (FLO).

Green Buildings

Green Building

Refers to designing and building structures that are environmentally sound and follow the tenets of sustainability. The practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition.

Green Cleaning

Products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Green Cleaning is more than the use of environmentally preferable products. It is comprehensive and includes the unique needs of a facility and its occupants, as well as the cleaning chemicals, equipment, paper products, procedures, and training programs.

Green Seal

Green Seal is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally safe products and services.


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. Various certifications include EB: Existing Buildings; NC: New Construction; CI: Commercial Interiors; and CS: Core & Shell.

Water Management


Capable of being decomposed or broken down by natural biological processes, such as living microorganisms like bacteria or fungi, into simpler, more stable organic compounds.

Closed Loop Recycling

Making an old product into the same thing again. Examples include old aluminum cans into new aluminum cans and old glass jars into new glass jars

Closed Loop System

A system for collecting used products and then reusing or recycling all collected products and components within a closed loop (example: using plastic from milk jugs to make trash cans).


Process whereby organic wastes, including food waste, paper, and yard waste, decompose naturally, resulting in a product rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as soil conditioners, mulch, resurfacing material or landfill cover.

Post-Consumer Waste

Waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it (e.g. the wrapper from a candy bar).

Responsible Procurement


Environmentally Preferred Purchasing, a program or policy that helps institutions make decisions regarding environmentally friendly products and services.

PLA Products

Polyactide (PLA) is made from corn which is a renewable resource. The corn is fermented and distilled into lactic acid. The lactic acid is transformed into Natureworks PLA which is then formed into packaging, service ware and consumer products – using about two-thirds less fossil fuels as compared to traditional plastic.

Energy & Water

Gray Water

Domestic waste water composed of wash water from kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and tubs, clothes washers, and laundry tubs that can be used for non-potable purposes such as irrigation.

Renewable Energy Certificate

(Also known as Green Tags or Renewable Energy Credits): A certificate that represents a unit of renewable electricity generated that can be used to verify the fulfillment of an obligation to source a certain percentage of renewable generation. Trading may be allowed so that companies that under achieve their obligation can buy certificates from those who have over-achieved.

Renewable Energy

Energy resources such as wind power or solar energy that can keep producing indefinitely without being depleted.

Water Harvesting

The capture and use of runoff from rainfall.



A domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil, and which meets the specifications of ASTM B 6751. “B10 Fuel” means a fuel mixture consisting of 10% biodiesel and 90% diesel fuel. “B100 Fuel” is 100% biodiesel.

Ethanol 85

A blend of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline. Ethanol is an alcohol that may be produced from an agricultural foodstock such as corn, sugarcane or wood.


Vehicles designed to run on either gasoline or a blend of up to 85% ethanol (E85)


A vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to propel the vehicle, such as an onboard energy storage system (e.g. batteries) and a fuel source (e.g. gasoline) for vehicle propulsion.