Term Definition
Abiotic Services
New
Abiotic flows are contributions to benefits from the environment that are not underpinned by, or reliant on, ecological characteristics and processes.

United Nations et al. (2021) System of Environmental Economic Accounting  -  Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) 

Area of influence
New
The area in which an entity location may potentially directly, indirectly and cumulatively cause impacts on biodiversity

Multilateral Development Finance Institution Working Group and the Cross Sector Biodiversity Initiative (2015)

Assessment metrics
New
Metrics used within an integrated internal assessment process for nature-related risk and opportunity management, such as the LEAP approach. These would not be required for disclosure.

TNFD

AtmosphereAtmosphere includes the gaseous medium and its suspended particulate liquids and solids above the land realm, extending to the altitudinal limits of life.
Baseline
New
Starting point or benchmark against which changes in the state of nature attributed to your business activities can be compared.

Natural Capital Coalition (2016) Natural Capital Protocol

BiodiversityThe variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) Article 2

BiomeGlobal-scale zones, generally defined by the type of plant life that they support in response to average rainfall and temperature patterns e.g., tundra, coral reefs or savannas.

IPBES (2019) Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Community
New
A community of plants and animals characterised by a typical assemblage of species and their abundances.

IPCC (2007). Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 996 pp. 

Critical habitat
New
Any area of the planet with high biodiversity conservation significance, based on the existence of habitat of significant importance to critically endangered or endangered species, restricted range or endemic species, globally significant concentrations of migratory and/or congregatory species, highly threatened and/or unique ecosystems and key evolutionary processes.

IFC (2012) Performance Standard 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources. International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, U.S.A 

Cumulative impactA change in the state of nature (direct or indirect) that occurs due to the interaction of activities of different actors operating in a landscape.

CDSB (2021) Framework application guidance for biodiversity-related disclosures; Endangered Wildlife Trust (2020) The Biological Diversity Protocol; Capitals Coalition and Cambridge Conservation Initiative (2020) Integrated biodiversity into natural capital assessments; Business and Biodiversity Offset Programme (2012) Glossary

DependenciesAspects of ecosystem services that an organisation or other actor relies on to function. Dependencies include ecosystems' ability to regulate water flow, water quality, and hazards like fires and floods; provide a suitable habitat for pollinators (who in turn provide a service directly to economies), and sequester carbon (in terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms).

SBTN (2022) Working Definitions [unpublished]

Dependency pathwayA dependency pathway shows how a particular business activity depends upon specific features of natural capital. It identifies how observed or potential changes in natural capital affect the costs and/or benefits of doing business.

Capitals Coalition (2016) Natural Capital Protocol

Direct impactsA change in the state of nature caused by a business activity with a direct causal link.

CDSB (2021) Framework application guidance for biodiversity-related disclosures; Endangered Wildlife Trust (2020) The Biological Diversity Protocol; Capitals Coalition and Cambridge Conservation Initiative (2020) Integrating biodiversity into natural capital assessments

Disclosure metrics
New
Metrics required to be disclosed to market participants in line with the TNFD's disclosure recommendations.

TNFD

EcosystemA dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and the non-living environment, interacting as a functional unit.

Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) Article 2; IPBES (2019) Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem AssetsA form of environmental assets that relate to diverse ecosystems. These are contiguous spaces of a specific ecosystem type characterised by a distinct set of biotic and abiotic components and their interactions.

UN (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting

Ecosystem condition
New
The quality of an ecosystem measured by its abiotic and biotic characteristics. Condition is assessed by an ecosystem's composition, structure and function which, in turn, underpins the ecological integrity of the ecosystem, and supports its capacity to supply ecosystem services on an ongoing basis.

Adapted from: UN SEEA (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting: Final Draft

Ecosystem function
New
The flow of energy and materials through the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem. This includes many processes such as biomass production, trophic transfer through plants and animals, nutrient cycling, water dynamics and heat transfer.

IPBES (2019) The global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Ecosystem health
New
Used to describe the condition of an ecosystem, by analogy with human health. Note that there is no universally accepted benchmark for a healthy ecosystem. Rather, the apparent health status of an ecosystem can vary, depending upon which metrics are employed to assess it and which societal aspirations are driving the assessment.

IPBES (2019) 

Ecosystem ServicesThe contributions of ecosystems to the benefits that are used in economic and other human activity.

UN (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting

Endangered species
New
Species considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Adapted from IUCN (2012) IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN. iv + 32pp. 

Environmental AssetsThe naturally occurring living and non-living components of the Earth, together constituting the biophysical environment, which may provide benefits to humanity.

UN (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting

FreshwaterAll permanent and temporary freshwater bodies as well as saline water bodies that are not directly connected to the oceans.
HabitatThe area, characterised by its abiotic and biotic properties, that is habitable by a particular species.

Keith, D et al (2020) IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology 2.0: Descriptive profiles for biomes and ecosystem functional groups

Impact driversA measurable quantity of a natural resource that is used as a natural input to production (e.g. the volume of sand and gravel used in construction) or a measurable non-product output of a business activity (e.g., a kilogram of NOx emissions released into the atmosphere by a manufacturing facility).

Capitals Coalition (2016) Natural Capital Protocol

Impact pathwayAn impact pathway describes how, as a result of a specific business activity, a particular impact driver results in changes in natural capital, and how these changes in natural capital affect different stakeholders.

Capitals Coalition (2016) Natural Capital Protocol

ImpactsChanges in the state of nature, which may result in changes to the capacity of nature to provide social and economic functions. Impacts can be positive or negative. They can be the result of an organisation's or another party's actions and can be direct, indirect or cumulative.

SBTN (2022) Working Definitions [unpublished], CDSB (2021) Framework application guidance for biodiversity-related disclosures.

Indirect impactA change in the state of nature caused by a business activity with an indirect causal link (e.g., a change indirectly caused by climate change, to which an organisation's greenhouse gas emissions contributed).

CDSB (2021) Framework application guidance for biodiversity-related disclosures; Endangered Wildlife Trust (2020) The Biological Diversity Protocol; ; Capitals Coalition and Cambridge Conservation Initiative (2020) Integrated biodiversity into natural capital assessments

Key biodiversity areaA site contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity.

IUCN (2016) A global standard for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas : version 1.0

LandLand includes all dry land, its vegetation cover, nearby atmosphere and substrate (soils, rocks) to the rooting depth of plants, and associated animals and microbes.
Natural CapitalThe stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources (e.g., plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals) that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people.

Capitals Coalition (2016) Natural Capital Protocol

Natural-climate solutionsA subset of nature-based solutions, natural-climate solutions include conservation, restoration, and improved land and sea management that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience, and assist climate adaptation across global forests, wetlands, mangroves, grasslands, and agricultural lands and other habitats.

Girardin, C et al (2021) Nature based solutions can help cool the planet — if we act now; Griscom, B et al (2017) Natural climate solutions

NatureThe natural world, with an emphasis on the diversity of living organisms (including people) and their interactions among themselves and with their environment.

Díaz, S et al (2015) The IPBES Conceptual Framework – connecting nature and people

Nature lossThe loss and/or decline of the state of nature. This includes, but is not limited to, the reduction of any aspect of biological diversity e.g., diversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels in a particular area through death (including extinction), destruction or manual removal.

IPBES (2019) Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Nature-based solutionsActions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

IUCN (2020) The IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

Nature-positiveA high-level goal and concept describing a future state of nature (e.g., biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital) which is greater than the current state.

SBTN (2022) Working Definitions [unpublished]

Nature-related opportunitiesActivities that create positive outcomes for organisations and nature by avoiding or reducing impact on nature or contributing to its restoration. Nature-related opportunities can occur i) when organisations mitigate the risk of natural capital and ecosystem services loss and ii) through strategic transformation of business models, products, services, and investments that actively work to halt or reverse the loss of nature, including by implementation of nature-based solutions (or support for them through financing or insurance).

TNFD (2021) Nature in Scope

Nature-related risksPotential threats posed to an organisation linked to its and other organisations' dependencies on nature and nature impacts. These can derive from physical, transition and systemic risks.

CDSB (2021) Framework application guidance for biodiversity-related disclosures; TCFD (2017) Final Report: Recommendations on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

OceanAll connected saline ocean waters characterised by waves, tides and currents.
Physical risksPotential threats posed to an organisation linked to its and other organisations' dependencies on nature and nature impacts. These can derive from physical, transition and systemic risks.

CISL (2021) Handbook for nature-related financial risks: key concepts and a framework for identification; NGFS (2021) Biodiversity and financial stability: building the case for action

Priority locationsPriority locations are defined as the locations of ecosystems deemed to be low integrity and/or high importance and water-stressed areas with which the organisation's assets and operations interact.
Protected area
New
A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.

IUCN (2008): https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/9243). 

RealmMajor components of the living, natural world that differ fundamentally in ecosystem organisation and function: terrestrial (land), freshwater, marine (ocean), subterranean, atmospheric. The TNFD's framework is based on four realms - Land, Freshwater, Ocean and Atmosphere. The subterranean realm is included within the land, freshwater and ocean realms.
Reference condition
New
The condition against which past, present and future ecosystem conditions are compared to in order to measure relative change over time.

United Nations et al. (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting— Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA). White cover publication, pre-edited text subject to official editing. Available at: https://seea.un.org/ecosystem-accounting.

Resilience
New
The level of disturbance that an ecosystem or society can undergo without crossing a threshold that creates different structures or outputs. Resilience depends on factors such as ecological dynamics and the organisational and institutional capacity to understand, manage and respond to these dynamics.

IPBES (2019) 

SpeciesAn interbreeding group of organisms that is reproductively isolated from all other organisms.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis

Species composition
New
The array of species in a specific sample, community, or area.

IPBES (2019) The global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Species richness
New
The number of species within a given sample, community or area.

Hassan R, Scholes R, Ash N (eds) (2005) Millenium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing, Volume 1, Current State and Trends. Island Press, Washington 

State of nature
New
The condition and extent of ecosystem assets, including positive or negative changes.

TNFD, adapted from UN SEEA. 2021. System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting: Final Draft

Stressed watersheds
New
Watersheds, where the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period, or when poor quality restricts its use. Water stress freshwater resources to deteriorate in quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.).

Adapted from EEA. 1999. Environment in the European Union at the turn of the century. Page 155. Environmental assessment report No 2.

Systemic risksRisks arising from the breakdown of the entire system, rather than the failure of individual parts. Characterised by modest tipping points combining indirectly to produce large failures and cascading interactions of physical and transition risks (contagion), as one loss triggers a chain of others and stops systems from recovering their equilibrium after a shock.

Goldin, I & Mariathasan, M (2014) The Butterfly Defect: how globalisation creates systemic risks and what to do about it; IRGC (2018) IRGC Guidelines for the Governance of Systemic Risks; Kaufmann, G & Scott, K (2003) What Is Systemic Risk, and Do Bank Regulators Retard or Contribute to It?

Threatened ecosystem
New
Ecosystem assessed as facing a high risk of collapse in the medium-term.

IUCN 2017: https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/45794).

Threatened species
New
Species assessed as facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term.

IUCN 2012: https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/10315).

Transition risksRisks that result from a misalignment between an organisation's 's or investor's strategy and management and the changing regulatory and policy landscape in which it operates. Developments aimed at halting or reversing the damage to nature, such as government measures, technological breakthroughs, market changes, litigation and changing consumer preferences can all impact risks.

NGFS (2021) Biodiversity and financial stability: building the case for action