De-jargoned: Glossary of ESG terms

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There are currently 7 relevant ESG terms in this directory beginning with the letter U.
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights are meant to support the implementation of the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. This set of guidelines seeks to provide a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse human rights impacts linked to business activity. They were proposed by the UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, John Ruggie, and endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. As they cover all areas of business, they are also applicable to the financial sector. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

UN PRB - United Nations Principles of Responsible Banking
These are six principles that shape a framework for a sustainable banking system and will help the industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society. The areas of strategy covered by these principles are alignment, impact & target setting, clients & customers, stakeholders, governance and culture, and transparency & accountability. The Principles for Responsible Banking were launched by 130 banks from 49 countries, representing more than USD $47 trillion in assets. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

UN PRI - Principles for Responsible Investment
The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors and asset managers working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. Its goal is to understand the implications of sustainability for investors and support signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision making and ownership practices. Asset owners, investment managers and service providers can become signatories which obliges them to annually report on their progress regarding the six principles covering ESG integration, active ownership and promotion of sustainable investments. Organizations follow these principles to meet commitments to beneficiaries while aligning investment activities with the broader interests of society. As of 2019, there were 2,372 signatories with a combined USD $86 trillion in asset under management. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

UN SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a ""blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."" The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to be achieved by the year 2030. The goals recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth. They include goals such as no poverty, gender equality, decent work, sustainable consumption, climate action and reduced inequalities. The goals were developed to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended in 2015. Unlike the MDGs, the SDG framework does not distinguish between ""developed"" and ""developing"" nations. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

UNEP FI - United Nations Environment Program; Finance Initiative
UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector founded in 1992. UNEP FI’s mission is to bring about systemic change in finance to support a sustainable world, and is highlighted in its motto, “Changing finance, financing change”. Member organisations, representing banking, insurance and investment, recognize sustainability as part of a collective responsibility and support approaches to anticipate and prevent potential negative impacts of the financial industry on the environment and society. UNEP FI develops selective collaborations with other partner organisations, in order to increase awareness and raise support for critical activities. [Source: Swiss Sustainable Finance]

UNGC - United Nations Global Compact
UNGC is a non-binding United Nations agreement to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies grounded in 10 Principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. This UN initiative aims to encourage businesses worldwide to align their operations and strategies with the ten universally principles. Companies signing the UNGC commit to regularly reporting on progress on the ten principles. [Source: Global Affairs Associates]

Universal Owner
A large investor that holds a broad selection of investments in different public companies as well as other assets, and whose performance is, therefore, tied to the performance of markets or economies as a whole—not just to the performance of individual holdings. These investors have a vested interest in the long-term health of the economy, making public policy issues and cross-market ESG concerns particularly relevant. [Source: First Affirmative Financial Network]


  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.