De-jargoned: Glossary of ESG terms

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There are currently 15 relevant ESG terms in this directory beginning with the letter G.
Gebäudeausweis der Kantone (GEAK) is a Swiss tool to measure and indicate the energy consumption of a building. It forms an easy tool to compare the energy efficiency of different buildings both for buyers and investors. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

Gender Lens Investing
The allocation of capital to investment strategies that directly benefit women and girls by enhancing their access to opportunities, contributing to their physical wellbeing, enhancing their safety and security, and/or promoting a better life. [Source: Invesco]

GHG - Greenhouse Gases
GHG is any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere, thereby trapping heat and contributing to the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases include, but are not limited to, water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

GIIN - Global Impact Investing Network
The GIIN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing which are investments made to generate a social & environmental impact alongside a financial return. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

GIIRS - Global Impact Investing Ratings System
A system for assessing the social and environmental impact of companies and funds. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
The Global Reporting Initiative is the most widely used global framework for the standardized reporting of economic, social and environmental performance. The GRI guidelines are created through a multi-stakeholder, consensus-seeking process that involves an international network of business, civil society, labour and professional institutions. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

Golden Handcuff
A collection of financial incentives that are intended to encourage employees to remain with a company. Golden handcuffs are offered by employers to existing employees as a means of holding onto key employees and increasing employee retention rates. Golden handcuffs are common in industries where highly-compensated employees have valuable, proprietary strategic information. Examples of golden handcuffs include employee stock options that do not vest until the employee has been with the company for several years. This practice is also known as 'Golden handshake'. [Source: Stanford: Corporate Governance Research Initiative]

Golden Parachute
A provision in an employment contract which entitles an executive to additional compensation upon resignation or dismissal. The terms of the agreement are typically included in the broader employment agreement and must be disclosed to shareholders through SEC filings. A typical severance agreement offers a lump-sum cash payment equal to three times the current annual salary, plus immediate vesting of all unvested equity grants. [Source: Stanford: Corporate Governance Research Initiative]

Green Bonds
Green bonds are broadly defined as fixed-income securities that raise capital for a project with specific environmental benefits. The majority of green bonds issued to date have raised money for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures, mass transit and water technology. Most green bonds have been either plain vanilla treasury-style retail bonds (with a fixed rate of interest and redeemable in full on maturity), or asset-backed securities tied to specific green infrastructure projects. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

Green Investing
Investment in businesses contributing to sustainable solutions in environmental topics including investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean technology, low-carbon transportation infrastructure, water treatment and resource efficiency. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The most widely used international accounting tool for government and business to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

Falsely communicating the environmental benefits of a product, service or organisation in order to make a company seem more environmentally-friendly than it really is. [Source: Allianz]

GRESB - Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark
GRESB is the global environmental, social and governance benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments, providing standardized and validated ESG data to the capital markets. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

GRI - Global Reporting Initiative
A voluntary global reporting framework used by thousands of companies and governments worldwide. It is a modular reporting framework that covers economic, environmental, and social impacts addressing all stakeholders groups. Disclosures are typically made in sustainability reports. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

GSIA - Global Sustainable Investment Alliance
A Global network of membership-based sustainable investment organisations. GSIA’s purpose is to extend the impact and visibility of sustainable investment organisations on a global level. GSIA was founded by Eurosif together with other regional and national SIFs. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]


  1. Allianz Global Investors, ESG Glossary, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  2. First Affirmative Financial Network, Glossary of Responsible Investing Terms, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  3. Global Affairs Associates, ESG Glossary, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  4. Invesco Ltd., Glossary: Understanding ESG jargon, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  5. Nuveen, LLC., Glossary: Responsible investing, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  6. Schroders Investment Management North America Inc., Understanding sustainable investment and ESG investment terms, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Corporate Governance Research Initiative, Retrieved: September 12,2020
  8. Swiss Sustainable Finance, Glossary, Retrieved: September 12,2020

Disclaimer: This glossary is NOT intended to be an authoritative reference document. All information in this glossary is for educational use only. This glossary has been compiled based on public domain information available on the websites of the mentioned sources. While due care has been taken in compiling this glossary, ESGSense does not assume any liability for any inaccuracy or factual error. Any term or definition mentioned here does NOT constitute financial or investment advice. ESGSense assumes no liability for any financial decisions and/or investments made on the basis of information gained from this glossary.